Dear Mother-in-Law,

If you and I are going to get along this summer as you visit for yet another extended period, you are going to have to start following some rules: 

1. Don’t tell me how nice I look, followed immediately with a suggestion of how I could change something about my outfit. Yes, I can see right through this. I’d also like to point out that I am following the fashion trends from the current decade. The same cannot be said for you.

2. Don’t buy me clothes or accessories. Not that I am looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I have my own tastes and style. I think it’s pretty clear that we shop from radically different catalogues. If you must buy me something, the only acceptable way is with a gift certificate or taking me out shopping and letting me chose. I promise to do the same.

3. Don’t ask my kid the same question 400 times. If my kid tells you seven days in a row that he isn’t cold dressed like that, and on day eight he is running around once again “under-dressed,” it’s pretty safe to assume he still isn’t cold. You are annoying him, and for that matter, me.

4. Straight talk: Just do it. If by asking my child whether he is cold, you are trying to communicate that you think I should insist he wears more, just say so. We ladies know implying doesn’t work. We regularly try and fail with our husbands. 

5. Don’t keep telling me how easy it is to teach kids x, y or z. Either you are downgrading my accomplishments or saying that I am unable to teach my kids the most basic things. 

6. With the exception of birthdays, don’t buy one kid something and not the others. You are putting a flame to a bouquet of highly explosive fireworks and then handing them to me at the last minute. I’ve got enough burns of my own to deal with.

7. Similarly, don’t keep loudly stating that one of my kids is so much better at something than another. I’ve already done a good job supplying my kids with an ample amount therapy-worthy issues. I don’t need you adding to the complex-kitty.

8. If you are coming over to help for a week, please do exactly that. Don’t expect me to look after you on top of my kids and your kid (aka my husband). If I’d wanted one more to care for, I’d have strategically skipped a few birth control pills, not invited you over.

9. And if you aren’t going to help, please stay out of my way. The bathroom is crowded enough as it is. Unless you plan on soaping the kids or sopping up the water, please stick to the ground floor.

10. Lastly, don’t be a martyr when things aren’t working out just as you’d like them to. There’s only room for one person on the cross in this family and since I am the mother of the litter of under-sevens, that is me.

If you continue as you have been, your crimes will not go unpunished. I am the keeper of the children’s pictures and the scheduler of holidays with grandparents. Let that sink in for a minute. 


Your Daughter-in-Law


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  1. You’re right about family being passive aggressive! Take your child or baby out, and immediately auntie starts asking the children where their coat is, or where their gloves are. If you have something to say, I’m standing right here auntie!

  2. My mother in law is an amazing woman. She came to stay with us, totally uninvited but more than welcome, when she realized I was sinking while struggling with my first child who had colic. She stayed up nights with her for two weeks so I could sleep and would deliver her to me for feedings and then take her back. She saved me. We are different people that’s for sure but I am grateful she raised an amazing son and that she is a loving and enthusiastic grandparent. She and my FIL are wonderful and I know I am in a lucky minority when I say that with no reservation or hesitation!

    • Women are turning green with envy all around! Actually I have a pretty amazing MiL too! Feel very lucky and just sorry we live so far away. That said our recent 2 month visit to see her was probably a bit more that either of us could stand! Lol

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