Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

What did you learn positive or negative from your own mother in law?

(72 Posts)
moonbeames Fri 13-May-16 10:21:01

I was thinking about this the other day. I have had two mother in laws in my life and they couldn't be more different from each other.

My first mother in law was a lot older when she had my first husband, he was her only child. I met him at twenty and married him at 22 as we did in those years. She was just awful to me from day one. She would insult my complexion, insult what I was wearing and was very controlling about everything. She ran rings around me as I was so young. When we had our son she would take whatever clothes I had dressed him in (lovely outfits) and put her sons baby clothes on him, Weird. Then she would proceed to tell me how to cook whatever I was doing. She rode a very big broom. Awful. I didn't say anything. Anyway years later we divorced and then I got number two.

What a breath of fresh air, a beautiful lady who just loved me and my son. She saw how much I loved her son and accepted me into the fold with much love and compliments. What a difference. She had four children altogether, unfortunately she passed away about 3 years ago. What a gem.

Now I am a grandmother of a little two year old darling girl. I learnt from both mother in laws what to do and what not to do. From the first one I learnt not to be controlling, rude and bossy. I learnt to give compliments where deserved and not stress the small stuff. (I am lucky my daughter in law is great I know this).
From the second one I learnt to relax be more accepting and love unconditionally as she did me. I loved her, what a grand lady she was to all her family and the new one, me.
Do tell ladies.

M0nica Fri 13-May-16 10:28:52

DH was also an only child and my MiL was perfect in every way, If DH had decided at 16 to head for Australia, she would have packed his bags and waved him off with a smile and kept her tears for when she was alone. At times i was closer to her than to my own mother. Even when she lived with us for three months we got on really well.

What did I learn from her? Everything and nothing because I have such a lovely DiL that being the MiL has been easy.

moonbeames Fri 13-May-16 10:32:20

That's lovely MOnica

Marmight Fri 13-May-16 11:36:39

I learnt absolute nothing from my MiL. They had one child, my DH. She and my FiL were joined at the hip and lived for each other. It was as if she was there but the 'door' was closed. She loved her grandchildren but never helped with or looked after them. I don't think I ever had a Mum/daughter conversation with her, she just didn't have it in her. She died 32 years ago when the eldest GC was 8, followed 6 weeks later by FiL. Sad; I would have loved an interested, helpful, energetic mother in law but my own Mum made up for it thank heavens.
I am a MiL to 3 lovely sons in law. They are all very different, but we all get on very well. I only give advice when asked, which is surprisingly often and we all laugh together, something I never did with my in-laws.

JackyB Fri 13-May-16 12:04:14

My MiL was trained as a nursery nurse and was brilliant with the kids when they were tiny. I learnt from her that you can have fun with simple things and kids enjoy that. She had loads of energy, although she was nearly 80. I avoided conversations with her on "serious" subjects because she was a devout Catholic and very much of her generation, so I didn't expect to agree with her.

From the comments above, I have made a note to pay compliments to my DiLs, who are great. We all get on really well, and they get on well together, and I think they are happy with me as a MiL.

KatyK Fri 13-May-16 12:25:25

I learned that my MIL didn't like me.

Synonymous Fri 13-May-16 12:44:43

Marmight I think you learned much from your MIL since you have such lovely relationships with your own SILs. smile

Katyk sad

I think we learn very much from both positives and negatives. It took me quite a while to gain my dear MIL's trust as she already had two other DILs who treated her really badly. It took her a long time to have the confidence to realise I was not going to turn on her and be nasty like the other two DILs who were two of the unhappiest women I have ever known and always saw the worst in everything and everybody. Poor DMIL - and poor me too since we both had much to contend with in trying to maintain relationships within the family ! sad
This experience taught me much and I have always endeavoured to work at all my relationships which in turn has taught me that no relationship can work without all parties working together to the same end.
I am glad to say that I have a wonderfully good relationship with my own DIL who is a really superb wife to our son and mother to our DGS. In conversation with me she once said she knows that one day she will be in my position as MIL to her own sons' wives and hopes she can make that as good as our relationship. She is a really kind and thoughtful lady. smile What a blessing!

obieone Fri 13-May-16 13:13:16

dont flap if you cant reverse the car well - it doesnt help
dont do chores on certain days of the week

positive - a calm demeanor is beneficial
a quiet demeanor is beneficial most of the time

Luckygirl Fri 13-May-16 13:17:47

Don't drink alcohol - she was alcoholic.

Luckygirl Fri 13-May-16 13:19:55

Mind you, if I had been married to my FIL, I probably would have taken to the bottle. Very sad - she was an extraordinarily intelligent woman with qualifications only about 1% or less of women would have achieved when she was young. What a waste of a life.

TerriBull Fri 13-May-16 14:10:27

Golf is boring grin was something my mil imparted to me as fil could drone on about it whenever the opportunity to arose, or as it happened didn't arise. Extended family all gathered around the table for Sunday lunch having interesting conversation about everything and anything, fil would launch into a blow by blow account of his latest game of golf to my husband the only other person round the table who played and kill any other conversation stone dead sad It bored her to death, as it does me. My husband plays about 3 times a week now he's retired, pretty much most of our conversations are interesting, except when he starts on about his golf, I don't understand the game anymore now than when we first got together well over 30 years ago. It just comes across as terminally dull. Maybe I'm just intolerant.

merlotgran Fri 13-May-16 14:21:36

My MiL taught me to use a pressure cooker. My own mother was terrified of them!!

ninathenana Fri 13-May-16 14:26:36

I didn't really know her. She lived 60miles away. FiL was never well man and died not long after we married. They had never had a car and neither had we at that time. I only saw her two three times a year. She died when I was expecting our oldest.

morethan2 Fri 13-May-16 15:02:22

I'm trying my hardest here to think of anything positive I learnt from my MiL. She was a terrible mother to my husband and his siblings. Abandoning them when he was 15 and had two younger siblings, turning her back on them when they needed her. Over the last forty years they have been wonderful to her, kind and generous. By the time I appeared on the scene she had settled down a little and because I didn't have any of the emotional baggage they had I was able to build a really lovely relationship with her. We argued a little, we laughed a lot. We became very fond of each other. She was eccentric, awkward, selfish, funny, my children love her and she loves them in her own way. She's in a residential home now and very unhappy. If I've learnt anything it's, try not to hoard too much useless stuff, listen when your adult children become concerned about you, don't spend years worrying that your going to to get ill and die young( she's been telling anyone who listens that she was sick for most of the forty years I've known her, she's 86 now) don't poke your nose in, keep your opinions to yourself.

Welshwife Fri 13-May-16 15:30:33

If you invite someone to have a glass of sherry make sure it is a big glass and then you can have a great laugh together! She was a lovely generous woman and made everyone welcome. She also appreciated everything done for her and if she was not happy with something she never said it to the giver - she was bought a twin tub but had wanted an automatic so still used the sink and mangle - explained to me that the giver did not understand about washing machines!

joannapiano Fri 13-May-16 15:45:31

I learnt I was peeling potatoes incorrectly, plus numerous other things I didn't do well, from my Mil. Luckily DH always backed me up, and most of her advice went straight over my head. I always just smiled at her, ignored her, and we got on fine.

rockgran Fri 13-May-16 16:04:11

To offer help but not be too suffocating. My first mother in law was kind but a bit controlling. She was always 'helping' when I wanted to find out for myself. In later life she became quite bitter which alienated a lot of people. I learnt that no one likes a complainer.

My second mother in law was much older but had a lot of wisdom and stories worth hearing if you had the time. Again complaining seemed to become a hobby.

My own daughter in law is very capable but I am thrilled when she does ask for some help or advice although I accept that my opinion is not welcome unless invited. I try to stay positive and cringe if I hear myself sounding like one of my MILs.grin

KatyK Fri 13-May-16 16:04:35

The problem with my MIL was that DH had been going out with a girl for 3 years who was very bubbly and outgoing and all his family knew and liked her. She finished with him and they were all devastated. Then a while later, along I come, 18, painfully shy, unworldly, dreadful childhood - I had no idea how to interact with a 'normal' family. MIL took my shyness for standoffishness (if that's a word). She didn't come to our wedding and my FIL (who was lovely) didn't come either as he didn't want to upset her. We had a very small wedding and were holding the reception at her house. She told us the day before that we could 'find somewhere else' so we had to rush round to my mum's and hold it there. She also told all DH's other relatives what a dreadful person I was and none of them came either, apart from his sister and brother who only attended the register office sad She died at 52 (a terrible death) and I felt desperately sorry for her. We were speaking by then fortunately.

Newquay Fri 13-May-16 17:33:38

,I Don't know where to start with my inlaws. I had one sister I was close to so, as DH had 4 sisters, I thought it would just be more of the same-how innocent I was, only 18. I think they all took agin me from day one. I never felt welcome and was only tolerated. DH used to work away all week while we were engaged so I used to meet him at the railway station and walk to his parents with him. I used to take sandwiches to eat in the station waiting room as, although they'd saved a hot meal for DH, I was never offered one (and I had such a tiny appetite too!).
I promised DH I would be a dutiful DIL which I tried to be but said once they're both gone don't expect me to have anything more to do with your awful sisters! He feels the same about them too. One is in Oz now; he feels that is as near as you would want her to be and still she tries to cause trouble!
If ever DDs try to complain about their Dad I say it could have been so much worse! Lol!

ffinnochio Fri 13-May-16 17:40:22

P: curiosity, independence and determination

N: snobbery and gossiping will leave one friendless

LullyDully Fri 13-May-16 17:48:14

Lucky girl, we must have shared a MIL.

. Not a woman's woman at all. She said to wear heels even if the hurt, accused me of having ing an affair and slagged me off in front of my children. Tried to divide and rule my boys

Did not see her for 6 years in the end until she gave in. .......musntn't speak ill of the dead.

Greyduster Fri 13-May-16 18:54:30

I learned that if you questioned the wisdom of putting bicarbonate of soda in the water you were cooking cabbage in, you would never be welcome in her kitchen again!

Liz46 Fri 13-May-16 19:08:13

I learned from my second MIL that I don't dust enough. She didn't actually say that but I have several feather dusters that she gave me as presents! She was correct though.
I didn't learn anything from my first MIL except possibly that religion can cause problems. She was a devout Catholic and didn't approve of me because I am not.

kittylester Fri 13-May-16 19:22:03

I learnt to be welcoming to all future inlaws and not wait for them to prove that they are worthy. If she had tried that we might have got to be good friends. It turns out that I was just what she wanted as a wife for her four boys but she discovered it far too late!

annodomini Fri 13-May-16 19:32:50

What did I learn from MiL? Only that FiL could do no wrong! Oh Yeah!? She could talk for England and it all went in one ear and out the other!