How To Earn The Title: World’s Worst Mother-In-Law

EndoraMIL

About 25 years ago my mother-in-law, Virginia, and sister-in-law, Jane, asked me to go with them to a taping of a talk show then popular in Chicago, the Jenny Jones Show.   We were put in a holding room where the producers worked us up like cheerleaders at a pep rally before the big game. Once we were all riled up, they announced the heretofore-unknown topic for the show: In-laws you love to hate.   “Do any of you have stories to share?” they asked. “Just between us? (and about 1,000,000 viewers)”

Hands shot up across the crowded room.

I considered volunteering along with the other fame-whores, but my intentions were pure. I would say, “I have no idea what you could POSSIBLY mean – my in-laws are fabulous!” This had little or nothing to do with the fact that, at the time, I was sitting there like the filling in an in-law sandwich. I kept my hand down.

I’ve known a lot of women who act like the Wicked Witch of the West to the person their kid married. They seem to be actively pursuing the title of: World’s Worst Mother-In-Law. If you’re in the running, here’s some practical advice on how to snag the trophy:

1)      Tell her that he’s not good enough
2)      Start every other sentence with, “far be it from me to criticize, but…”
3)      Tell her that her spaghetti is not bad, but it’s not QUITE the way he likes it
4)      Never forgive him for deciding to stay home for major holidays, rather than spending the day in the car, trying to be as fair as Solomon and split the day evenly between the families
5)      Tell him you feel sorry for him because she’s such a lousy housekeeper
6)      Give helpful hints on how she SHOULD be raising your grandkids
7)      Remind them that you told them not to buy that house
8)      Keep track of the time they spend with his family, compare it – to the minute – against the pitiful amount they allot to you, and complain about the difference…loudly
9)      If they have financial troubles, tell her you knew he would never amount to anything

If your goal is, instead, to nab the title of World’s Best Mother-in-Law, the rules are a whole lot simpler:

1)      Be friendly, polite, and make the new member feel like a welcome part of the family
2)      When she does things differently from you (and she will,) when they fight (and they will,) when he make mistakes (and he will,) bite your tongue.   Often.  Until it bleeds.
3)      Remember that your child, who you love more than life itself, picked THIS person above all others. He or she must have some redeeming qualities.

My two girls are neither married, nor significantly other-ised, so you may wonder what qualifies me to comment. I’ve been observing the actions of my own, dear mother-in-law for almost 32 years. Virginia provided the model for the World’s Best Mother-In-Law.   When my turn comes, I hope I can do the job half as graciously as she did.

Love you, Ginny. We are going to miss you more than I can say.

VirginiaMIL

6/25/28 – 7/1/14. Rest in peace.

Advertisements

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to How To Earn The Title: World’s Worst Mother-In-Law

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    So sorry for your loss, Peg.

    Like

  2. Worst #10: When your child and his/her spouse have a fight, offer your child money to leave town and end the marriage.
    I know that sounds terrible, but the mother-in-law in question was simply misguided and later turned out to be one of the best in-laws in history. No one ever said marriage and in-laws would be easy, but it’s less stressful if you have good in-laws. My condolences on the loss of your Virginia.

    Like

  3. List of X says:

    I am sorry for your loss. But you did get to spend 32 years as a daughter-in-law of World’s Best Mother-In-Law, and not all people are as lucky as you. (I’m not talking about myself, just referring to the number of people who wanted to complain about their in-law experience at the Jenny Jones show.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You’re right, I was really lucky.

      That MIL complaint is such a cliche! Yet I know lots of people who are now in that position and they complain bitterly about their kids-in-law. Hope I remember to button my lip when MY turn comes.

      Like

  4. lisaspiral says:

    Sorry for your loss. I had one of those MIL’s too and they are priceless.

    Like

  5. Well said, Peg. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family, for I did get to meet Virginia a number of times. She was a gracious, kind and funny lady. RIP.
    Love ya!

    Like

  6. Elyse says:

    Dear Peg,
    Like everybody else whose commented, I am sorry for your loss, but know that you only feel it so much because she was the best. My MIL is 88 and in failing health. But I will never forget the day I was working on trying to get our first house ready for sale — John had already headed north and started his new job. My in-laws arrived with lunch, shared it with me, then my FIL mowed the lawn while my MIL scrubbed down the kitchen. We’d only been married about 3 years at that point, but was speechless. “I’m staying in THIS family,” I told my husband on the phone later.

    Once again, a big hug for you and your husband.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Love it! Your in-laws didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk. Yippee to us for marrying into such great families. My MIL passed very unexpectedly, so we were all spared the sadness of failing health, nursing homes, etc. Hope yours also goes peacefully when the time comes, Elyse.

      Like

  7. Sorry to hear this. What a lovely post though, I love how you brought your usual touch of humour in, and turned it around, finishing with simple, not overly gushing, genuine sentiment.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks, V. I’m still a sniffling mess, so I’m not sure how appropriate the topic is. Ah well, laughter and tears are flip-sides of the same coin, aren’t they?

      Like

  8. mercyn620 says:

    So sorry for your loss. But you have wonderful memories.
    I bet you were the world’s best daughter-in-law.

    Like

  9. Blogdramedy says:

    The best kind of tribute comes with a dash of humor.

    Nicely done, Peg.

    Like

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss, Peg. I wish I could give you a hug right now.

    Like

  11. Janu says:

    Yes, you are correct, she was a great Mother-in-Law…and you my dear, were a great daughter-in-law. I miss her so much.

    Like

  12. societycommentator says:

    So sorry about your mother-in-law! My husband’s mother died before we were even engaged & my mother made a big deal about not wanting to be the stereotypical mother-in-law, so no problems here. I think sometimes my mother likes my husband more than me, but that’s for another blog! I have certainly missed you, but certainly understand why you’ve been away.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I think sometimes it’s easier with an in-law. They love us, but they still feel that little bit of constraint so they don’t let us have it with both barrels, like they do sometimes with their own kids.

      Like

  13. momshieb says:

    Oh, good God, talk about timing! I am becoming a MIL for the first time in two weeks!!!! But I really do like the guy, I swear!!!! Still, this post is scaring the shit out of me. I vow, from this moment on, to smile till my cheeks crack and just keep on smiling!!!!!

    Like

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, my MIL and my mother vied for the worst MIL award. I solved the problem by getting divorced.

    Like

  15. Jo says:

    I had 2, count ’em 2, awful MIL’s and my own mom rather sucked at the job, too. So when my son married, I asked any friend with a good MIL relationship to tell me how I could emulate their success. To summarize: Be nice, mind your own business, mind your own business, and mind your own business. So far I’ve succeeded, though, as you say, I’ve often bit my tongue. So sorry for your loss…

    Like

  16. The Phoenix says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your Mother-In-Love. May she rest easy and may all who loved her be given serenity in her transition.
    I lost mine 2 years ago and it shook me to my core. I thought of all that I should have said and done. Then I dreamed a memory and I knew that she was aware of my love for her. Heck, I loved her before I even knew her son so marrying him was a bonus. 😄 I’m glad we both have warm memories to give us comfort. Although mine might not as be as cool as seeing a live taping of Jenny Jones.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Sounds like both of us were blessed.

      Isn’t that how it goes – you think of all you DIDN’T do or say? She lived right here in our town, and sometimes I would go a week without talking to her. Wish I had do=overs.

      Like

  17. Mary K. says:

    Beautiful tribute for Mrs. Schulte. I’m sure she is smiling from heaven.

    Like

  18. dorannrule says:

    What a lovely tribute to your friend and mother-in-law! How lucky you both were and what special memories you must have.

    Like

  19. Condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law. I’m sure you’ll be a good MIL when the time comes because you had such an excellent role model! Great advice for being a kind and welcoming mother-in-law. Although I’m years away from assuming that role myself, I sometimes think about my son’s future partner and hope that she and I will be good friends.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s tough when the other person doesn’t want to “play nice,” though. I’ve heard that from a LOT of women my age. I guess all we do is mind our own manners, right?

      Like

  20. Hi Peg! Have I mentioned that I have missed you here on WP? 🙂

    I enjoyed this post so much and as I chuckled as I read along, I couldn’t wait to comment on how wonderful it is for you to have such a great MIL. Then I finished reading. 😦 So sorry for your loss. What a great example of a decent and loving MIL. I am sure you will be the same (even if you end up biting your whole tongue off in the process.) 🙂

    Like

  21. A lovely tribute to your dear MIL. So many things I enjoyed about this post: the photo of Endora (perfect choice), “filling in an in-law sandwich”, and your lists. The photo of Virginia is beautiful and I am sorry for your loss. You were very lucky to have such a great MIL.

    Like

  22. mistyslaws says:

    Well, I guess we’re even now, because this one made ME cry. As you know, we lost my FIL last week, but my MIL also passed almost 3 years ago. They were both wonderful and I miss them horribly. I only had my MIL in my life for 15 years and it wasn’t nearly enough. You are so lucky to have had someone so wonderful for so long. The problem is, it makes it that much harder when they leave us. I’m so sorry, Peg. HUGS.

    Like

  23. Sorry for your loss Peg. Those of us who’ve never had a wonderful mother in law can only imagine what it must be like.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’ve come to the conclusion that I was unusually blessed – you hear such horror stories from people.

      I am a rather strong-willed person, so it will require super-human effort to button my lip as a MIL. As it does in life in general, frankly. I have so much to say, and why everyone doesn’t snap-to and take my great advice, is a constant mystery to me.

      Like

  24. lexiemom says:

    I’m sorry for you and your husband’s loss. Regardless of age, it is always hard to lose a parent.

    Like

  25. amelie88 says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your MIL sounded like a wonderful person and it truly hurts when we lose people like these. Nobody can replace them. I’m glad you had a good MIL experience. I only hope I do too.

    Like

  26. Al says:

    A very nice tribute to your mother-in-law, Peg, and I feel sure she would have appreciated that you did it with your typical humor.

    P.S. “Significantly-otherized”? That’s a beauty!

    Like

  27. PinotNinja says:

    I am very sorry for your and your families loss, but I am so glad you were all able to have such a wonderful person in your lives. Of course, you are forgetting one integral part of the equation — its easy to be the world’s best mother-in-law when your son marries the world’s most-kick-ass-hilarious-get-it-done wife.

    Like

  28. Peg, I am so sorry for you and your entire families loss. Sounds like you had a gem and this makes marriage ever so much easier. I am certain she is reading this and smiling, feeling loved and honored.

    Like

  29. My condolences, Peg. It sounds like she was a terrific MIL and you were a terrific DIL.

    Like

  30. How about this one? My FORMER mother-in-law told me my son and were heathens because we didn’t attend church regularly like “good” Methodists. What’s worse is my son, then about seven, asked me what a heathen was because she was kind of drunk and said it in front of him! She might be in the running for some kind of trophy.

    Like

  31. k8edid says:

    Oh, Peg. So sorry for your loss. My MIL had to be taken to the hospital when my hubby informed her that we were getting married. She was simply awful to us both. I lost my own mother a year after we married and I could not understand why she was taken from me and I was left with a MIL that clearly hated me. Through the years we worked out our differences, and I am glad to say that she became nice to her own son again (her giving up alcohol and the addition of a grandson to the equation made a world of difference). When she was given a terminal diagnosis (I was by her side) she asked that I take care of her until her passing – she trusted no one else. We had learned to love each other because as I told people, we both loved the same man. You truly were blessed, by your years with such a gem, and by the outpouring of support here amongst your peers. Hugs to you and your beloved.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Katie. Kudos to you for weathering the storm she put you through. As you discovered, if the relationship is salvageable, it’s probably the best thing for your spouse and children, even if it’s tough on you.

      Like

  32. Just gorgeous that you had a lovely Mother in law, as I have also. 🙂

    Like

  33. This is a lovely tribute to the woman who welcomed you into her family. My apologies for being so behind in my reading and I am truly sorry for your loss. My best to you and your family.

    Like

  34. Margie says:

    What a lovely way to pay tribute to an obviously lovely lady.
    My mother in law would have been wonderful too, I’m sure, if she had lived to see her son marry me. I don’t think she would ever have told me that my apple pie wasn’t quite as good as her apple pie… though she would have been right, I’m sure!

    Like

  35. I have just stumbled across your blog, and I think you are fabulous! And I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounded like an amazing woman.

    Like

  36. Shannon says:

    Aw, such a beautiful post. I hope by now you are beginning to adjust to days without her. Although we know that death and life walk hand-in-hand, we who remain are saddled with the difficult task of transitioning from creating memories with a loved one to simply recalling and enjoying the ones passed. My MIL has been gone nearly two years now and even still I must stop myself from picking up the phone to call her when something joyful happens I want to share. Like your Ginny, my MIL was a bonus in switching from single to married life (and she raised an amazing son too). And today, every time a sunflower pops up in our yard unexpected, my kids call them “Granny.”

    Stay strong; her legacy lives on with what must be an another fabulous male offspring for our species. My condolences for your family.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thank you so much, Shannon, for the lovely words. We spent several hours going through things in her house yesterday, and it’s a bittersweet task. I think selling the family home will be another big loss.

      Like

  37. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, Peg. Just went through your July archives and read your sad news. How wonderful you can write about the best MIL in the world and she be yours.

    Like

  38. dmswriter says:

    I’m sorry you lost such a wonderful MIL. I had the best MIL, too, and she passed away three years ago. She welcomed all her daughters-in-law equally and made us feel like she was lucky we joined their family. What an example both of these ladies were to us!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s