There are many supposed jokes about mothers-in-law and some of them may even be deserved by some in-laws. Many mothers are very protective of their children and want to see them marry partners that are perfect, but of course they don’t because there is no such thing in existence. People are human and humans are not perfect, so no matter who your child marries there will always be something you don’t like about them.
If you want to have a great relationship with your adult children and their spouses, and be a welcome visitor so you get to see lots of your cute little grandchildren, here are some tips to ensure it happens.
- Never criticise either your adult child or their spouse. Not to them, not to each other and certainly not to other people.
- Never give relationship advice unless your daughter or son begs you for it. That’s not to say you can’t tell stories about what happened when you were a young married and how you coped with it. But go easy on those too.
- Never tell them how you think they should do anything, whether it is cleaning the house, gardening or raising the children, but especially the latter. Unless there is a real problem and they ask you for advice – and then keep it brief.
- Always welcome them and their children into your home, even if you have to put your best vases out of reach.
- If they are always there, set some boundaries so you get the peace you deserve. Grandparents shouldn’t have to wait on their children and raise their grandchildren as well.
- If they both have to work, don’t offer to mind the children full time. Help them to find other options so you don’t become a slave. Slaves are not usually appreciated, anyway.
- Affirm your son’s or daughter’s partner by telling them what you appreciate about them. It doesn’t hurt to tell your son or daughter what you like about them, either.
- Don’t criticise their housekeeping or tell them you don’t like the colour scheme/vase/carpet/whatever. It’s their choice what to have in their home.
- Never make your daughter-in-law or son-in-law feel like they don’t measure up.
- Never drop by unannounced. It is presumptuous and daughters-in-law especially hate it. Phoning first is a sign of respect.
- Don’t expect to be called Mum. If they do it without being asked, that’s fine, but many young women find it difficult, especially if their own mother is still alive. Offer an alternative such as your first name. Or let them choose what they want to call you.
- Never criticise your grandchildren as this is a reflection on parenting skills. Remember no one is perfect and children who are little terrors often grow out of it.