Photo by: Tony Alter

I Survived Ten Years with My Mother-In-Law

Photo by: Tony Alter

While I was channel-surfing the other night, I caught a glimpse of a new show on NBC called “Momma’s Boys.” The title itself annoyed me, as well as what I saw on the screen. A mother was loudly telling her son she did not like the choice of girls he had made.

And did I mention the girl she was talking about was standing right next to him? It made me wonder why the girl even wanted to be involved with a guy who had a mother like that. What if they ended up getting married? She’d be stuck with the mother-in-law from Hell.

The relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law is often tense… if just at first. When I first got married, I was very anxious around my MIL. Trying to please her, I never argued with her, but instead told Hubby later, letting him to deal with it. My MIL, like me, is a very outspoken and strong woman. She is not afraid to express her opinions… and she has many opinions. She never shies away from telling anybody exactly what she is thinking, when she thinks it.

Once my MIL came over and rearranged all the furniture in my living room, stating that she knew how to increase the space. I literally had to bite my lip to keep from yelling, “Stop! This is My House!” But I ran into the next room and cried instead.

One night much later (after we had both had several glasses of wine), my MIL told me she felt we didn’t talk enough. I was shocked. She actually wanted to hear what I had to say? “Even if I disagree with you?” I asked her, still unsure. “Especially if you disagree with me!” she insisted, laughing. We both cried and hugged each other.

The next time she came over, I made sure to express my opinion, even if I hadn’t been asked for it. When she started telling me how we should redo the house, knocking down these walls and painting a certain color, I told her, “We already have our own ideas on decorating.” She nodded with a smile and stopped talking. And I saw a new respect for me in her eyes.

I’ve been married almost 10 years, and the years since my MIL and I had our talk have been the best. My MIL and I get along great, going shopping together, sending emails back and forth, and gabbing on the phone for an hour like girlfriends. It makes me wonder what would have happened if I had just been myself from the beginning, instead of trying to be someone I thought she wanted for her son. As it turns out, she liked me for ME all along… because I made her son happy.

Pixie was an elementary classroom teacher for 7 years. This only gave her over-confidence in being a mom, but no training whatsoever. She has been a full-time mom for 6 years, and lives in Oregon with her Hubby, two kids, a dog, and a cat.

Like This Article

Like Mamapedia

Learn From Moms Like You

Get answers, tips, deals, and amazing advice from other Moms.

You might also like


I thought this was lovely. It makes me wonder if things would have been better if I felt I could have done the same with my MIL. I remember my own mother rearrsnging my cabinets. After she left I changed them back. When my mom came back she asked me why I had done it and I said, "Because it's my kitchen."

Oh My! You are So Lucky. I truly wanted this kind of relationship with my MIL but it never happened, sadly, and now she is gone. I tried to talk with her and stuff but she just had too many of her own issues I guess. It is great to see that people can get along and be happy - Kudos!!

thank you for letting people know that mothers in law are not all bad. I am a mother in law and have actually lived with my dghtr in law for the past 3 1/2 years now...We have our differences but have always been able to talk about and discuss our opinions...We have a great relationship and we love each other and would do anything to help each other out.. We are all human and do make mistakes, but remember Love is the common thread in any relationship...

I would boot anyone out of my house if they started rearranging my furniture even so much as a few inches. That shows complete disrespect! It's amazing you were able to become close, and that's great, but I am still completely shocked that anyone would think it is okay and polite to rearrange someone else's living room. Who would have the nerve to even think that is okay to do? Luckily my MIL was great from the start!

Wow! I wish I could say the same thing about my MIL. We too are both strong, opinionated women. However, unlike me, she is also very manipulative. I did express my feelings to her when she tried to over take my home and it only caused more problems. In the end, my husband and I divorced after 12 years of marriage because he chose his mom over me and our kids. My kids and I moved several states away and are now happier. He on the other hand is exactly where he wants to be...with his mom.

what a great story. i feel MIl think we are passive or weak if we show any sign of meekness or shyness or carefullness, around them. my MIL never was the type to intrued, so we never really talked, i was like a shadow, you its there. she always made inuedos with her family about my religion tho, like 'i thought she was a christian and she did that?!' about another person that was the same faith as i. so i figured she didnt really like me...

See entire comment

Hi Pixie ~ Thanks so much for sharing your experience with your Mother-in-Law. I'm so happy for both of you that you have a good relationship. The point I want to make (and I'm sure you're aware of this) is that things improved when your MIL invited you to share your feelings. Of course you were respectful and careful at the beginning...

See entire comment

I enjoyed the article. I have that same Mother in law. The one you feel you have to walk on egg shells around. She is a talented lady but just has such a strictness about her. My daughters are afraid of her, (not their biological grandma). I married my husband 6 years ago. I remember in the begining she was kind and loving and helpful. As time has gone on I am finding out I truley have a momma's boy. He consults her before me most of the time. I did not see that until just recently...

See entire comment

I am very happy for you, Pixie. I know how important that daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship is. Unfortunately it's not always that easy for everyone. I tried everything with my mother-in-law, we even had that talk. And nothing, absolutely nothing has changed, she just got a little more sneaky about how she went about it but she'd still be very mean and conniving to me. My husband and I have been married for over ten years now and we both see her evil ways and try to stand our ground...

See entire comment

Wow, i am so glad that you get along well with your MIL. I on the other hand started out liking her and then over the span of 3 years and living with her for 2 changed my mind entirely. I will not take all the space on the site so I will just leave it at that but I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have on the subject because I am at wits end with this one. .

Thanks for sharing your story. It made me cry with the holy spirit in the mist after I read the last line. You are better than me, I am now 51 years old and still learning how to keep my most inner thoughts to myself. Have a wonderful day

I really enjoyed the article. I experienced the same thing except the sisters were involved too. I love the question why would a girl want to marry someone with a mother like that? my answer to that question is LOVE. My husband and I have been married 37 years. I must say that not to much changed over the years between the women in the family but I will say my husband never put them before me and I always stayed in my lane as his wife...

See entire comment

This is a really great, inspiring story. I have a bit of a different situation. My mother in law lives with us. Having had retired, she agreed to move in with us when we moved out of state to take care of our then one child. Let me say, that I am blessed to have developed a really great relationship with my MIL. Like many others, my interaction started off cordial but guarded...

See entire comment

My MIL is the BEST! She is one of my best friends and I feel very blessed that she is. When my husband and I were dating, we broke up for a year and MIL and did stuff during that year all the time. As a matter of fact, when my husbands aunt & uncle were moving out of state, his gram had a dinner before they left. MIL told me I was invited. I said she'd better make sure that was okay with her son...

See entire comment

Leave a Comment

Required (will not be published)
Required (to prove you're human)
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on topic and not abusive
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us
Want to become a contributor?
Want to become a contributor?

If you'd like to contribute to the Wisdom of Moms on Mamapedia, please sign up here to learn more: Sign Up

Recent Voices Posts

See all