10 things to never say to your mother-in-law
We share with you the 10 things we think you should never say to your mother-in-law.
"I didn't ask for your opinion!"
While it may seem like she's unnecessarily getting herself involved in your problems, it could be a better idea to assume that her intentions are good and simply thank her for her opinions rather than dismissing them. Feel free to proceed with whatever you wish to do after that - the choice is ultimately yours. If she continues to push her opinions on you, say 'thank you, but we've decided to do this'.
"I can't believe you voted for him."
Politics, and religion are two topics that can bring unnecessary drama into your family. If you wish to discuss politics with your mother-in-law, just remember that no one wins in that fight! If your mother-in-law asks your opinion on a politician that she favours but whose policies you disagree with, it's better to dodge the question or change the topic.
"Why can't you teach your son to..."
Blaming your mother-in-law for something your husband did or didn't do is unfair. After all, he's a grown man and it was your choice to marry him so she must have done a lot of things right, right? Rule of thumb: it's better not to involve her in your marital problems, or any issue concerning you and your husband. You can guess whose side she'll probably pick.
"The time when we spent Christmas with my family was the best ever..."
Saying this implies that you see your relationship with her family (your in-laws) as less "real" somehow because you don't acknowledge them as yours. Family is family - whether biological or by marriage. Try not to differentiate or worse, compare. At least not out loud.
"We're too busy to see you."
Your mother-in-law may expect to see you more than is possible - or even desirable - for you. Set reasonable expectations for spending time together and get your husband on your side. And if you're really swamped with errands and play dates and such to squeeze in some time with her, let her down nicely. No one likes to feel rejected.
"Could you talk to your daughter for me?"
This is as bad as Number 3 on this list - basically a variation of the same no-no! Face it, her daughter is YOUR wife. Your mother-in-law isn't responsible for the issues that both of you are facing. Even if you have reason to believe that she would make the best mediator, this is not a respectful way to ask for help. Instead, be humble and share with her your problem and ask for advise.
"It's better if your son tells you about the news."
Don't shirk your responsibility to have an open, honest and caring relationship with your mother-in-law. And don't use your husband's relationship with his parent as an excuse to do so. Even if the news is better coming from your husband, say "I will let Henry talk to you about this, because I don't want to steal his thunder! But I'm sure you'll be amazed/excited/in stitches." In short, don't refer to your spouse as "your son/your daughter" to her - it's aggressive and rude. She named her child for a reason. Besides, it's not as if you didn't marry that person.
"I wont let you see the kids again."
Don't use this as a weapon to win a fight. It's unfair (the kids are not involved with your stuff and deserve to see their Grandma!) and it creates resentment within your family that you threatened her. Also your mother-in-law will always remember and can now hold it against you that you were willing to keep your kids away from her just because the two of you had an argument.
"I can't eat this food."
Even if you have serious religious or health issues that conflicts your mother-in-law's cooking, find a nicer way to let her know. Food is a bedrock for most Asian families - you simply do not diss another woman's food out loud. If it's just a matter of taste, let it go and eat the food. You'll survive blandness better than a cold war.
"The kids aren't allowed to do that"
Grandparents tend to be quite indulgent and would probably be the first to help your kids break house rules relating to television viewing, candy-eating and toy buying. If you can find it in your heart to let it go, try to do so. Manage your kids' expectations by making some specific rules about the issue in question and do it in the presence of your mother-in-law. Say, "You can have only one sweet and only after you finish dinner, ok?" or "You can only watch TV before bedtime for 15 minutes and only because it's a special occasion at Grandma's".