In Laws Aren't ALL Bad, Are They?

Updated on December 02, 2011
N.C. asks from Machesney Park, IL
26 answers

Hi with all the holiday hoopla, I have seen a lot of posts about MIL's and in laws in general, not being cooperative, causing problems, being controlling...etc! I get it...I have 2 sets of in laws due to re-marriages for hubs mom and dad. So...I wanted to flip the coin and see if anyone had a GOOD story to share about their in laws. (And believe me...I know how frustrating it can be to have someone not want to do things YOUR dare they?? haha)

So, I gave it some thought, and while none of my in-laws are super involved w/ our kids, my FIL and his wife (even after 27 yrs, my hubs still will not say she is his step-mom) live 4 doors down and they are caring, loving grandparents. They come to as many games/sporting events as they can for our kids. Have been to concerts, too. And, the bus stop is at my FIL's house for both kids (different schools and times) but he is almost always out w/ the garage door open, so they can wait w/ him for the bus if they want and stay out of the cold/rain/snow. He is not in the best health, and sadly, we don't see him being around for too many more years, but he is good to our kids and my husband is pretty close w/ him. His wife is still grandma to my kids, regardless of not being a real mom to my hubs. She has made lots of jewelry w/ my daughter and they enjoy my kids. They are generous at birthdays and Christmas and always want to know what the kids are up to and what time their games/events are.

Also, with them living right down the street, if I ever call and need something (homework to school, kids picked up, a quick babysitter when they were younger,) they always stepped up!

So, while most of us probably have some frustration w/ our in-laws, or even our own family, what is a GOOD story you can share about yours? :)

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories...for those who have lost a loved one recently or even not so recently, my heart goes out to's never easy! Having the extra support of our in laws and extended families keeps us busy and mostly sane!!! Like a lot of you, we have had our moments w/ the inlaws (both my parents and his parents!!!) to where we feel like enough is enough, but overall, I don't know what I would do w/out all of them! Thanks again for sharing, everyone!

**Just wanted to add that this post was in NO way meant to minimize anyone's issues w/ their in-laws! I apologize if that is how anyone took it! I just wanted to see some positive feedback! Thanks again for sharing your stories!

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

I love my in-laws. I have no problem with them. They are generous, kind, and mind their own business. They know if we want to tell them things, we will.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Ah, well the problem (for me) is that I expect too much from people.

My parents live 10 minutes away and are amazing...but they don't attend as much as they could. I had my babies young, so my parents are still young - in their 50's. And they can get to a 10am football game, or take an early lunch and come to an award ceremony. On the flip side of that, they are both still very busy with work and so they do have that to attend to first and foremost.

My MIL lives in Mississippi and we only see her every so often. But when she comes, I feel like I expect more emtion out of her. She isn't overly friendly, or helpful, or the typical grandma. She is older and not in the best health, but not horrible either.

I find that my annoyance with either side goes down when I psych myself up to not expect anything.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Both my hubby and I have awesome in-laws! I get along great with mine...MIL, step-FIL(his dad died when he was 6 months old) and SIL. They are great and I love being around them. And he gets along great with my mom, dad and little sister. My sister and him get along like old friends...they have 'date' nights when the new Harry Potter movies come out...I'm not a fan, they both love it!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

God blessed me with in-laws that are close enough to be my parents. Both of my parents died before I married, so I ask my future fil to walk me down the isle. Yes, they can be frustrating at times, but so could my parents, so I figure it's just normal. I love them and know that I am blessed to have them in my life.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Nope, I adore mine!

I can't say I really have a specific story because there have been many things over the years to be thankful for. Like when I had post-partem complications and thought I was just going to the ER but was held overnight for observation. She had my 4 year old and 10 day old. I never worried.
They make a point to get the WHOLE family together at least once a year, which is no easy task since there are 21 of us spread from coast to coast. It is as important for them to see their 11 grandkids together as it is for the cousins to be together. They've been flexible and supportive with birthdays and holidays.
Have we had 'spirited' discussions? Sure! But I've had the same type of conversations with my family.
They are wonderful people who raised the amazing man I married.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've always thought I was in the minority. I absolutely love my in-laws.They are funny, fun, and raised an amazing man who is a great father. When they come to visit (they live about 4 hours south) we will talk about stuff we think would be cool to have or do eventually (when we have more money) and the next time she walks in the door she will have that thing with her. It almost gets to the point that I don't want to mention anything because I don't want her to run out and get it for us. :-)

The one thing that has meant the most to me is when I was pregnant with my son I went into the hospital at 26 weeks due to early labor. I was put on a moniter,medication to stop labor and complete bedrest. I could only get out of my chair to go to the bathroom or go to bed. My daughter wasn't quite 2 1/2 yet. She and my father in law were staying with their daughter because she was going through a very ugly divorce (they didn't want her and her kids alone with her soon to be ex). She dropped everything and came to stay with us (leaving my father in law in Michigan) for the next two months. Our son was still a bit early (at 34.5 weeks), but is a healthy, hearty toddler now. I don't know if that would have been the case if she hadn't dropped everything to help us. I am thankful for them every single day for all that they do. I also have great parents myself, but sometimes I feel closer to my in-laws. It saddens me that more people don't have the support I have. I just got lucky I guess.

Thanks for your great post and have a great Christmas!!!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My inlaws are fantastic. Really a second set up parents for me! And my Dad & Stepmom get along with my husband also. Hubby and I have been married for over 10 years, together for almost 14. We met when we were 20, engaged at 21 and married at 23/24. In Dec 2000, less than a year before our wedding, my mother suddenly began having crippling headaches, she had everything from an Cat Scan, to an MRI, to a spinal tap and doctors could not find anything. A few days later, at the age of 45 she suffered a stroke (due to hemorrhaging on both sides of her brain, undetectable). She never regained consciousness and after two surgeries to try and relieve the swelling, she was in a coma for a week and after losing complete brain activity, we had to shut off the machines Christmas Eve day. My inlaws, especially my MIL was there every step of the way. She was there for support and a shoulder to cry on. She treats me as her own daughter, in fact I think she even likes me better than my husband . I wouldn’t know what to do without her. I can call her anytime I need to for advice or just to talk. We can shop together, get pedicures together, whatever. I couldn’t ask for better, I haven’t met a person who knows them that doesn’t love them. They spoil my boys (currently their only grandchildren) and boy do my kids love their Nana & Papa!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have always adored my in-laws. They've been wonderful surrogate parents to me and they think the sun sets on their grandchildren. At one point, my husband and I lived with them for two years and that went quite smoothly. When our daughter was born, they offered to watch our daughter while my husband and I worked and they did so for 6 years until she was in school full-time.

My FIL past away 18 months ago and we miss him tremendously. He loved creating family DVDs for us with all the grandkids; we probably have about 15 of these special movies. He'd even make them for our vacations; as soon as we'd get home from our trip he'd say "send me your photos and video footage and I'll make you a movie!" Seriously one of the most loving and sweet individual that I've ever known.

So I have nothing but praise for my in-laws and when I read some of the horror stories on here and I just thank my lucky stars. Of course they have their quirks ... but don't we ALL?!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

The only good thing I can say about my in-laws is that they don't come around. Ever. They are not particularly nice people, so this is absolutely in our best interest.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I'm so glad to see your post. I know there are major issues in a lot of families, mine included, but it seems to be so much easier to go negative than positive. My MIL has adjusted her work schedule so she can watch our kids 1-2 days a week so they don't have to be in daycare. She always asks me my opinion before she does something new with the kids to make sure I'm happy with it - and I've never asked her to do that!

Thanks for the positive stories!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Your question, and the answers so far, have made my day! There are certainly a lot of evil in-law stories on this site, BUT people generally post problems, not non-problems! Let's hear it for the great in-laws! I hope I'm one myself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I loved my mother and father in law. Grandpa had dementia, but he absolutely lit up around the kids. He would sit for hours and let my daughter comb his hair and "style" it. When my son was born, he just beamed when he held him. As my son got older, they were buddies.

My mother in law was a real gem. She didn't want to see my wedding dress before the wedding which I wasn't sure how to take, but she said she wanted to see me walk down the aisle in it. She cried when she saw me. She was very funny and generous. She was an amazing seamstress and made crafts all the time. NICE stuff. She was so giving. She and my own mother adored each other. One year, at Christmas time, my mom decided to make some divinity since she hadn't made any in years. My mother and law and the kids went to my mom's house for a visit and my mother in law ate all of it that my mom had put in her little candy basket and ate most of the rest of it too! My mom got the biggest kick out of that and made more before they left town to go back home. Every year after that, my mom had BATCHES of divinity for my mother in law.
My mother in law always bought me the nicest things for my birthday. She really spoiled me in so many ways.
I had always been told I couldn't have children. I got my daughter from a previous relationship and she was just what my mother in law always wanted. There was a saying that the only way to get girls in that family was to marry them. All the kids were boys. My mother in law finally had a girl! She made her the most beautiful clothes and even made clothes for my daughter's dolls.
Years later, when I got pregnant, miraculously, with my son, she was SO thrilled. She set straight to work sewing and making things.
I had a very difficult pregnancy and I almost didn't survive it. I was in critical care for most of it and I'll never forget the night they did yet another ultrasound to check on the baby. That time, they could tell the sex and said it was a boy. Having a son never entered my mind and my husband wasn't happy. He wanted a girl.
My mother in law called me later in my hospital room that night after my husband had gone and I told her he seemed so upset. She said, "I know, honey, but he'll get over it. If it makes any difference, I am very happy. A little boys is just what I wanted."
Her words meant so much to me.
They lived many hours away and after the baby was born, and I'd recuperated a little after months in the hospital, they had plans to come and stay. She called me the night before to tell me she wasn't feeling well. She was sweating and vomitting and was afraid to make the trip and be around the baby. She said if she wasn't better in the morning, she would go to the doctor. She told me she loved me and was so sorry for getting sick.
It was the last conversation I ever had with her.
She died the next morning.
She never got to see my son.
I lost a mother, a friend, an ally.
God bless her....she'd been very busy. All the blankets and quilts and things she made for my baby. He's 16 now and we still have them.
Holidays have never been the same without her and we still laugh about the year she went hog-wild on the divinity.
My father in law is long gone now too.
I really miss them and I'm glad I got to have them while I did.

I know this got long, but my point is that life is short.
We might as well make the best of it.
90% of the stuff we worry about never happens.
80% of the stuff we bicker about probably doesn't need to be bickered over.
(Those aren't scientific statistics....I'm just saying......)

I have relatives that drive me nuts, but I'd still go out of my way for any of them. I still love them.

Happy holidays and thanks for your question.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We all have our struggles but hopefully over time you come to appreciate the individuals your in-laws are. My husbands parents were divorced so I had two sets of in-laws too.

I can say all four of them loved their family. Maybe they didn't always understand our choices and gave a disapproving look or tried to sway us. Maybe they could be difficult, but they loved their son and grandchildren and came to love me too. I think maybe sometimes I could be difficult too.

I tried hard to keep in mind my husband was their baby, which meant they just wanted to be a part of his life. Yes, I set limits and yes I sometimes got into battles and failed to see the simplicity of a family just trying to hold onto just that....... their family. It's complicated and hard trying to blend families, but we all persevered and became closer and closer as the years progressed. All of them are gone now. I miss them. The good story....... it's all about Love. Even when I wasn't sure where I stood I knew these people loved my husband and my kids...... and then me too! I loved them back.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I just adore my inlaws. They are, quite seriously, among the sweetest people I know. No amazing stories that I can think of, but tons of really good feelings, and always happy to help out whenever they can.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Nope! I love my in laws! We've had 1 fight in 13 years, and it was small.
we respect each other's space and decisions, and take an interest in advice.
I'm lucky to have them!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My inlaws are wonderful. My mother in law is a little eccentric and cries at the drop of a hat. She doesn't know how to relate to kids but the kids still love her because they accept her the way she is. My father in law is grumpy all the time from his diabetes but will perk right up with a kiss from a family member. My husband tells people that my parents are loveable. Neither sets ever meddled. My kids could relate to my folks a little more because they included them in everything...from pruning the bushes to working a crossword puzzle. Neither have spoiled them with stuff...

We consider ourselves sooooo fortunate and I love to tell people that.


Now my sisters and brothers in law are a different story, lol!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my inlaws, all of them... my step MIL, FIL and 2 little BIL's, and my MIL and step FIL :)

It's my HUSBAND who pulled the short straw on the inlaws ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

There isn't anything my in-laws wouldn't do for our kids if we ask. They generally wait for us to ask them to watch them or to p/u from school or whatever, but they always help they just never offer. I guess that's a good thing b/c they definitely do not over step boundaries.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think good in-law stories are like easy birth and delivery stories. THey are way more numerous than you think, but the bad ones take center stage so you never hear the good ones. I guarantee for every moster in law there is an MIL you'd die for. And for every story of 22 hours of hard labor and 4 hours of pushing, there is a 30 minute delivery.

Just a thought - No considerate person wants to make anyone else feel bad with stories of their awesome in-laws and easy births. However, there may be a correlation between considerate people and better in law relationships?

BTW, on my FILs deathbed 9 months ago, I thanked him for being such a great grandpa and for being such a great dad to my husband, raising him to be such a great dad is his own right. I still cry thinking about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

I cannot say that I adore my in-laws, because that would be an all out lie. I don't loathe them either. I have moments where I get very annoyed with them, but that can be said about anyone. One of my biggest annoyances with my MIL was that when ever we would go into town to visit she would invite all of my husband's aunts and uncles over and have a HUGE gathering. (My husband's mother is one of ten siblings.) Now as it is great to see everyone, it still always felt like it was just too much for her, and she never really got to spend quality time with our kids. I know the time with our kids is what she really wanted, but I think she felt selfish about keeping them to her self, or something. All that being said, over the weekend there was a wedding in my husband's family that was in Pittsburgh, so everyone was staying in hotels. This turned out to be fabulous! This meant that my MIL didn't have to organize a big family party, because the family was already there! She didn't have to spend the whole day cooking and getting things ready, because it was all done at the wedding. All she had to do was spend time with my kids. My daughter, in particular, had such a good time with her Grandma, they were able to paint their finger nails together while getting ready to go to the wedding. I was just happy she was able to spend quality time with my kids, that wasn't surrounded by so many other people.

Also, my husband's Aunt, his mother's sister, is the most amazing woman on the planet! I have never known a more mellow level headed person in my life. I love her dearly, and she is supposed to move closer to where we live, which is also where one of her daughters and now one of her sons live! This makes me insanely happy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Thank you for this post N.. I felt like I was in the minority since all I see are people telling crazy bizarre stories about their In-Laws on forums. Plus how many In-Law jokes and Hollywood movies are we innundated with? My In-Laws are so supportive and kind. I think I even talk to my MIL a lot more than my husband does. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Both my parents are gone and I am SOOOO Blessed to have the best ILs in the world. My MIL treats me just like any of her children. She is very involved with her grandkids and at least with my son, always asks if I would have an issue with this activity or that restraunt before she takes him somewhere. My husbands entire family was extremely welcoming (aunts, uncles, cousins). I finally have the huge family I always wanted. I thank God every day for having them in my life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My Dad died. And so did a piece of me. My Mom died. I felt like an orphan instantly. As I stood at her burial, I thought I would never heal. As we turned to finally walk away from my parents' resting place, my beloved Mom-in-Love put her arm around me, and whispered in my ear: "I will be your parent now." I am crying as I type this wonderful memory. I love her, her humor and her ability to love unconditionally. I only hope I can grow to be as kind and loving as she is.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Mine rock but then again so does their son!

I totally hit the jackpot when I met my husband. His parents raised a very well balanced man for me. The ONLY thing I questioned was his mom saying 'ANY help is good.' Ummmm, her son's idea of doing laundry was WAY different than mine. He's wasn't a fan of sorting before washing until he ruined some of HIS stuff. Live and learn.

Two weeks ago my car was getting new tires and they called ME to authorize another $217.00 of parts and I asked why did they call ME when my husband is right there in the waiting area? He walked out to see what "they" wanted to fix. He said "nope, I can fix that for $25.00." And he did--for $21.00!

I called my MIL to tell my FIL THANK YOU for raising a son that KNOWS how to do stuff. She also taught him how to paint and other artsy things I can't/won't do and that REALLY comes in handy with out son who wants us to paint a Perry the platypus or Lighting McQueen. If I HAD to do that I would fall on the floor to fake an injury I'm THAT bad at stuff.

I'm actually closer to them than my own parents. (That's an entire other issue.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My in-laws aren't all good or all bad, but they're normal humans as I imagine most of us are! We got off to a rocky start, but now things are good. My MIL is very helpful - they live out of town, but she came and stayed with us when my second was born to help out (asked first, and I welcomed her help). And recently I went out of town for a week and she came and stayed here to help watch the kids while my husband was at work. She's really generous and brings lots of toys and gifts, and while they're not always exactly what I would have bought, she really tries to pay attention to the things we like and want for our kids. Oh, and I keep a mostly vegetarian diet, though not strictly. She's not vegetarian at all. But when she came after I had the baby she cooked all vegetarian meals for us without saying a word or ever being asked to. She knows I'll eat meat at her house, so I would have assumed she'd cook meat at my house. But I thought that was very kind and respectful of her and I really appreciated it.



answers from Chicago on

Unfortunately my in-laws ARE BAD, and I really have no good stories. I work 3 blocks from my MIL house. She never wanted to babysit my two boys even when they were babies, never saw a football, basketball, or baseball game, and 2 weeks ago my 11 year old son bought her a Christmas gift and she told him that she didn't want it. No, I really don't have anything...that's why my husband never wants to see his family again. Not everyone has good in-laws.

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