Monday, 16 July 2012

The MIL Clinic Is Now Open!

Most of us have Mother-in-Law or MILs for short. Some are lovely, warm and supportive but many sadly are not. If you google Mother-in-Law from Hell or scour the chatrooms of sites like Babycentre and Mumsnet you will read many stories of mean, vindictive or even downright scary MILs.

So I am proposing a MIL clinic. Much along the lines of a baby drop in centre, you will be able to take along any errant MILs, get them checked over and get given advice on how to deal with them.

They will also provide courses for MILs or MILs-to-be and here is the syllabus of the first one...

MIL Masterclass:

1. First impressions count
When you first meet your daughter in law you may see her as just another fliberty gibbet brought home by your son but to be on the safe side its best to assume every girl that walks through the door is "the one". Being rude and dismissive now will not do you any favours in the future and the excuse "I didn't think you were being serious" will not wash. A little bit of investment now will pay huge dividends in the future. Top tips are to actually acknowledge said DIL-to-be actually exists and not to have a conversation with DIL-to -whilst looking longingly at the framed oil painting of "The Ex" that takes pride of place above your mantelpiece.

2.Keep some family traditions to yourself (at least for a while)
Every family has their own traditions and foibles. You might find it perfectly acceptable for Mr Tibbles the cat to sit up at the table to eat with you from his own personalised Emma Bridgewater bowl. You might all fall about laughing at Uncle Bert's classic joke involving Bob Holness, some superglue and a bunch of radishes, or maybe you are just so used to singing the national anthem before breakfast that you have become immune to its oddness. However adorable these quirks are the first meeting with your future DIL is probably not the best place to showcase them.

3.Smile Smile Smile - and say "yes dear" alot
Everyone has their opinions but as a MIL it is sadly unlikely that your DIL will be very interested in yours. Maybe you had hoped for your son and DIL to have a traditional wedding, you know a small church do, a demure dress. Instead you're DIL wants a Jordanesque Cinderella carriage and matching thrones. Unfortuantely there's not going to be much you can do about this so just don your fancy dress outfit and smile, smile , smile.

4. Accept the universal law that whatever your views on childcare your DIL will have the opposite.
When children enter the picture the MIL/DIL relationship can sometimes take a turn for the better but often in takes a nosedive. Stories have been told of desperate MILs wrestling suckling babes from the arms of their mothers or stuffing toddlers so full of haribo that they are up till 2am. It does seem that however you have brought your children up your DIL will take the opposite stance. If you brought your child up to a strict routine and to mind their Ps&Qs then by virtue of this law your DIL will practice a more "relaxed" style of parenting. Likewise if you are the hippy type your DIL will obviously manage her family in a "military" manner.

Now I know that as the mother of a son I too will be a MIL someday so do feel free to remind me of this post when I blog complaining about my DIL!

*NB any resemblances to real Mother-in-Laws are purely co-incidental...honest.

Please comment if you have any good/terrible MIL experiences!


  1. I couldn't possibly comment. You paint far too kind a picture. When I'm feeling charitable, I picture my MIL as a dementor, sucking the joy out of everyone she comes close to. And yes, that's when I'm feeling charitable. Even my OH refers to her as the black cloud. It's not good.

  2. Remember the Mother in Law who recently wrote a letter about her lazy daughter in law to be? Now that's one MIL from hell!
    I'm lucky that my MIL is very sweet and does not meddle.
    An ex's Mother had to go everywhere with us (even on romantic meals) at one point and was frequently calling up for little things. I would definitely have checked her in to your clinic!

  3. Oh so very very very true. The trick is being able to play them and get what you need!xx

  4. I am a mother in law. I can honestly say that I have always tried really hard to like and be pleasant to all my son's girlfriends and I love my son in law to bits. I so remember how it was to be young and in awe of my husband's side of the family, especially his granny who opened the door to me for the first time when I was 17 with the words, "Come in, but this is a miserable house". ...and it was!!!

  5. Hello Emma,
    I didn't get the chance to get to know my mother-in- law well, as sadly she died soon after we first met. But I suspect she would have been fine as she was already a mother-in-law to two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law so she was experienced in avoiding the pitfalls! It is nice for me to think that she approved of me as even though she was very ill she was keen for us to get married as planned, and that was 41 years ago so her instincts were good!!

  6. I know many people that can relate to ths. Luckily I have a fantastic MIL! Great post.

  7. Haha! Ace post - I think every mil should have to read it by law!