Forward this to your own MIL or save it for when your kids get married. Here are five things my mother-in-law mastered that make me LOVE her and, more importantly, makes our time together a-mazing.
Momlogic's Annie: I have the greatest mother-in-law in the world -- in my not-so-humble opinion. I'm taking notes so that when my kid grows up and gets married, her spouse loves me as much as I love her. Here's how she does it.
Take a back seat: Recognize whose "moment" it is. My MIL is constantly aware of when to take a step back. For example, when I got married, she asked me to come shopping with her for HER dress. She wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with her choice. I think it, in turn, made her feel more comfortable and she looked beautiful, confident and proud walking down the aisle. I actually didn't care what she wore, but the gesture was nice and we both appreciated the mission.
Keep the wine flowing: Or just remember to keep things loose. Life doesn't always have to be issue-ridden and super serious. Luckily for us, we both enjoy vino, but if you don't drink, you can find something else you both like to do. If it's cooking, collaborate. If it's taking pictures, snap away. The important thing to remember to laugh and enjoy yourself -- which can be hard if you allow yourself to get too stressed.
Be objective: Don't automatically side with your own child. Of course, if it REALLY came down to it, I'm sure she'd side with her son, but she doesn't just blindly think that everything he does is perfect. No one does everything right all the time -- especially new husbands and new fathers. It's nice to know she understands that. Not that we gang up on my husband, but my opinion has an equal weight with her, so I feel respected.
Realize you are family: In many cases, they may end up knowing you longer than they knew their own parents! It helps to include your child's spouse in everything. When giving gifts, give the equal amount to your in-law that you give to your own child. When there's a decision to be made -- make sure your in-law gets a vote. Before I even married my husband, there was a stocking on the fireplace at Christmas. This was one of the many gestures that assured me I was now a part of the family.
Pass the baton: Acknowledge you're now number two. This doesn't mean your kid loves your spouse more than you, but you are not the primary collaborator anymore. This is what you've been working towards your whole parenthood, right? To send your child into the world, prepped and ready to survive without you. When my husband decided to make a career change, my MIL was understandably nervous. She called me, I assured her we would be okay and she trusted me.
I realize this is easier said than done. My MIL is just naturally cool. But I constantly hear about how hard MIL relationships can be, so I figure it's worth a shot to spread the wealth. The most important thing to remember is that you both love the same person, so you at least have that going for you!