How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!
Ladies! There are a few simple things you can avoid that will save you from repeat D.I.L.Z. (Daughter-in-Law Zings) that we all experience from time to time (some of us more than others!) However, remember that you won’t be able to prevent hurtful mother-in-law comments and misunderstandings overnight. This is a process that must be developed over time. It’s fun once you get the hang of it, and you will be amazed when you develop a genuine like for one-another! Here goes:
Mistake #1) Forget to call your mother-in-law regularly.
Strive to have an independent relationship with her, all on your own.
Solution: Call your mother-in-law! Call her at least once a week (pick a day, such as sunday and mark it on your calendar so that you do not forget). You can keep it short, but if you’re super-busy, aim for getting her machine, like when you know she’ll be at Bingo.
Mistake #2) Forget to frequently ask your MIL how she’s feeling.
Solution: Make sure you take the time to notice how much your MIL’s back has been bothering her, and be extra helpful around the house at these times. Keep in mind that it’s not easy getting older, and aches and pains can make even the best of us ornery as all get go! Offer to accompany your MIL on doctor’s visits whenever possible.
Mistake #3) Don’t compliment her often enough.
Your MIL can be self-conscious just like you are.
Solution: Make sure you let her know how pretty, thin, healthy, and young she looks. Say what flattering outfits she’s wearing, occasionally asking if you can borrow a certain item of clothing or a purse. Mention that you love her hairstyle, even if she’s wearing a hairpiece (especially if she’s wearing a hairpiece). In fact, go out and get yourself a hairpiece and you too will appreciate the benefits of “fake hair!”
Mistake #4) Forget your MIL’s special days, e.g., birthday, anniversary, and Mother’s Day.
You’d be surprised how life gets in the way and you can overlook these things.
Solution: On each of the occasions mentioned above, pick out a Hallmark card with the most heart-wrenching sentiments you can find (preferably about a week or two beforehand). Make sure your husband signs it too. Better yet, have him write the note from the both of you, because receiving a note with only your handwriting on it may give her the impression that her son has forgotten her special day (and he very well may have)! Most importantly, be sure to call 1-800-FLOWERS well in advance as you want to make absolutely sure that those long-stem roses arrive on time––not three days after the fact––no no no!
Mistake #5) Get defensive with your MIL.
Do yourself a favor and practice not taking things personally, and you will avoid fist-clenching frustration! If for example, you have misplaced an item such as some new teabags you’ve just bought, you may mumble something to the effect of, “Where the heck are those things? I just had them—they must have upped and walked away on their own!” You MIL may mistakenly think you are accusing her and pounce on you with a self-protective, “Don’t look at ME, I didn’t do it!”
Solution: Rather than rolling your eyes and glancing askew, uttering defensively, “Look, I didn’t say YOU took them, did I?” simply reply breezily something to the effect of, “Oh, I’m just so forgetful these days! Just last week I found my keys in the fridge––I must be losing my mind!” Then take a deep breath, find your missing item, and make yourself a nice cup of chamomile. And be sure to graciously offer your MIL a cup as well ––but make sure you have her favorite tea bags on hand at all times.