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Make Peace with Your Mother-in-Law

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Joe Biden's MIL passed away over the weekend ... here's how to mend fences with yours.

Joe and Jill Biden

VP hopeful Joe Biden's mother-in-law passed away over the weekend. For those of us who have less-than-perfect relationships with our own MIL, this was a reminder that we might want to work on that, stat. Because who knows how much time she's got left? Here are five ways to improve your MIL relationship starting now, courtesy of Sally Shields, author of "The Daughter-in-Law Rules." Listen up.

1. Be nice to your MIL, she'll be nice to you: "Be loving, kind, generous, openhearted, and sensitive toward your MIL and she'll be more likely to be that way to you," Sally says. (Well, we know annoyed, hostile, and passive aggressive hasn't worked so far ... so it's worth a shot.)

2. Call your MIL at least once a week to check in. If this is something you just can't stomach, call when you know she's not home so you'll get her machine. Or make sure your hubby is nearby so you can pass the phone to him at any given moment.

3. Shower her with compliments. "Take the time to tell her how pretty, young, healthy, and thin she looks," Sally says. Even if you have to slightly (or not-so-slightly) stretch the truth, remember: Flattery will get you everywhere.

4. Send her cards and flowers on her three special days: birthday, anniversary (if she has one), and Mother's Day. Daisies and Hallmark card: $50. Impact on MIL: Priceless.

5. Ask for your mother-in-law's advice. Even if you don't plan to take it, just the fact you're asking her advice makes her think you care what she thinks. So ask away.

How is your relationship with your MIL?


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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michelle October 8, 2008, 1:28 AM

Ummmmmm….NO!

Sara January 9, 2009, 4:10 AM

I could not, would not, EVER call MIL once a week! Once a month would be too much!

HatedDIL January 10, 2009, 4:07 PM

So the best way to have a good MIL/DIL relationship is to kiss your MIL’s butt?

Nope, no gonna happen.
And, for the record, I’ve done all of the above.
*I’ve been nice to her. She sees my niceness as me being a pushover.

*I’ve called her once a week. She sees me as trying to push a relationship on her that she just doesn’t want (her words, not mine).

*I’ve showered her with complements. She turns the around to make them sound like insults.

*I’ve sent her gifts for Christmas, her birthday, mother’s day. The gifts she just throws away. The flowers she says are only from her son (my husband). Even though I picked them out. Does she honestly think that my husband would take that much time and thought for flowers? Yeah, right.

*I never had to ask MIL for advice. She would already have it ready and waiting. Yep, MIL is the type of woman who doesn’t wait to be asked for her advice. She just gives it to you whether you want it or not.


Anonymous April 8, 2009, 7:36 PM

Wow! This sounds like it was written by a mother-in-law!

Anonymous April 27, 2009, 10:57 AM

father god u know watz in my heart… i live with my mother in law becuz myself n hubby cannot afford to rent a place as yet. i am a workin mom n itz hard to deal wit my hubby,work,child,n plus my mil..noo i partially dont have time to look after myself now my hair n brows needs to do but i cant cuz i dont have time foe myself.recently my mother in law found out that we were locking our room door and was pretty mad..started to say alot of things like we dont trust her n other stuff..ppl i live in her house but that dosent mean i have to keep my door open.. i dont know wat she is doin when i am around.. itz really affecting my health cuz i dont know wat to do…i am not talkin to her n i feel pretty bad cuz we r living in the same house n she babysits for me. please help i cannot talk to my husband cuz he is on her side..

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 12:40 PM

Nice info! Nice reading. I have got a observation to submit about t-shirts.


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