Tag Archives: mother-in-law

My mother-in-law wants to take our turkey on a road trip.

We’re having Thanksgiving at our house, and my mother-in-law, who lives over four hours away, is obsessed with wanting to bring the turkey. She’s mentioned it about ten times, and I’ve told her no ten times. She wants to cook a turkey, put it in the car, and drive it to my house. She won’t let it go. What else can I say? Does my husband have to get involved?

After my husband and I got married, and the photos from that blessed day came back (this was back in 2003 before digital cameras, automobiles, Facebook, and fire were invented), my mother-in-law immediately decided that her son, my husband, was too skinny at our wedding. Instead of sighing and saying, “Oh, well,” and moving on with her life, she came to the more logical conclusion that we should dress up in our wedding attire, go to a church, and get our pictures re-taken after my husband had eaten some doughnuts and filled out a little.Yes, you read that right. She wanted us to re-enact our wedding so she could have pictures of our special day where my husband was a weight that she liked.

Sometimes, mothers-in-law just get ideas into their heads and they can’t be dissuaded for love or money, or logic or the inability to go back in time and get fatter. Our job, as daughters-in-law, is to hear what they’re saying, accept that this is what they want, and then find a way to work it into our lives. If she’s hell-bent on bringing a turkey, let her. Make your own, and tell her you might need two anyway, and then just don’t eat the one filled with salmonella and make sure your husband eats a lot of it so her feelings aren’t hurt. Or ask her to come early, or the night before, so you can spend some time cooking together. Or tell her, “I really love your mashed potatoes, can you make those, instead?”

Or just get pregnant. That’s what I did. I put her off for a year, and then I got pregnant, and then there was no way we were re-taking those photos with a pregnant bride in them.


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Several questions about mothers-in-law. Without them, we would have nothing to complain about.

I’m getting married soon, and I’m not sure if I am going to keep my maiden name or not. I’ve made a list of pros and cons to keeping my name. The list is even except for one item in the pro category: keeping it would really piss my future-mother-in-law off. The idea of that makes me a little happy but I don’t want to make the decision based on such a spiteful reason. What should I do?

Easy. Re-write the list and just move that up somewhere in the order. Then have the last thing in the pro category be something neutral, like “Won’t have to go to DMV and wait in that horrible line.” No controversy there!

p.s. While making her angry is going to be a fun activity that you can (and will) enjoy for the rest of her (or your) remaining years, please keep in mind that much like your relationship with your future husband, it’s not going to get better over time. It’s going to get worse. So maybe save the antagonizing for stuff that really matters.

When my daughter “Sally” was born, my mother-in-law gave us a pillow for her crib. It’s very pretty but babies can’t have pillows or blankets in their cribs because of SIDS, so I put it in a drawer in my daughter’s room for when she’s a little older. The other day my mother-in-law came to visit, and apparently went through Sally’s drawers, because later that day I found the pillow in the stroller, and I took it out. When I mentioned SIDS and the fact that even my now five-month-old shouldn’t have a pillow near her face, my mother-in-law said that I was being over-protective and paranoid. Then she put the pillow in Sally’s crib. Of course I took it out and now she is mad at me. And my husband wonders why I get anxious and upset before his mother visits. Should I have just let it go?

The next time your mother-in-law comes to visit, sneak into her room while she’s sleeping and put a pillow over her face. When she wakes up struggling and gasping for air, yell in her face, “IS THAT HOW YOU WANT SALLY TO FEEL? SHOULD I GO PUT THAT STUPID PILLOW IN HER CRIB NOW?”

Or you could give a little the next time you interact with her. Like, definitely don’t let her put the pillow near Sally while she’s alone in the crib, but it really would have been fine in the stroller. Stand your ground firmly and unwaveringly on the important things, but let the little stuff go. You don’t have to make a big deal out of everything just to prove you’re in charge.

My mother-in-law wants me to call her “Mom,” but I don’t want to. I already have a mom. She’s insisting. Every time I say, “Hey, ‘Judy’, where do you keep the fabic softener,” or whatever, she says, “I won’t tell you until you call me Mom!” I just can’t do it. What can I say to make my feelings clear without hurting her feelings?

Just make up a cutesy nickname just for her. Call her Judibells or Judilicious or Judy Booty or Mother Judy or if you must, Mom Judy. Or Judy-Mom. She’ll feel special, and you won’t feel icky.

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My mother-in-law is passive-aggressive. What a surprise.

My mother-in-law buys me clothes sometimes, but they’re always a size L or XL. I’m not super skinny or anything, but whatever she buys for me always looks HUGE. A couple times I’ve mentioned that I don’t wear a large, but she says something like, “Oh, I thought the medium looked very small. This one looked like it would fit.” How can I get her to stop doing this?

You can’t. It’s like trying to stop the sun from rising, or getting Oprah to stop giving kooky medical advice.

Just don’t wear the stuff she gives you. If she asks, “Where’s that cute sweatshirt I gave you with the kittens on the front,” say, “It’s in a drawer upstairs. It’s too big.” When she asks, “Why don’t you ever wear the t-shirt I made you with my face embroidered on the front,” say, “I don’t wear it because it’s too big for me.” Don’t be angry or petulant…if she really is trying to make you feel bad, that’s just going to encourage her to do it more. Just be sweet and matter-of-fact, even if after the conversation is over you have to go hide in the garage and chew on your tongue for half an hour.

Crazy, passive-aggressive people who do crazy, passive-aggressive things can’t be reasoned with or gently prodded into realizing that they’re being insane. They need to be dealt with head-on.

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Without mothers-in-law, I would have nothing to do.

I bought my mother-in-law a nice pair of fairly expensive earrings.  I thought they were her style.  The whole family was there when she opened them.  Only 2 weeks later, she re-gifted them to my sister-in-law for her birthday.  My sister-in-law was there when she originally opened them from me, so she knew.  What do I do?  I couldn’t help but let it hurt my feelings.  Should I say anything to my mother-in-law?

Two possibilities: 1.) She’s suffering from age-induced memory loss. 2.) She really, really hates you and doesn’t give a flying fig whether or not she hurts your feelings.

In either situation, I don’t think saying something to her is going to do any good. (Although if she’s normally nice and well-mannered, you might want to take her for a checkup.)

Maybe take your hurt and direct those emotions in a sympathetic fashion toward your sister-in-law, who was publicly re-gifted something, which is like a great big F YOU from your mother-in-law to her. And be happy that someone who can appreciate those nice, expensive earrings now owns them.

Also, from now on your mother-in-law gets Target gift cards as presents.

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