For the newlywed daughter-in-law, here are five more simple (but not always easy) strategies to follow. You will soon reap the benefits of this advice. For example—want to lose weight? Forget Atkins! Make friends with your mother-in-law! She’ll come over, watch the kids, and YOU can go to the gym! Want better sex? Less stress? Make friends with your mother-in-law! Your husband will get all warm and cuddly when he sees the two most important women in his life are FINALLY getting along! Let’s proceed.
1. Put all your MIL’s special dates in your calendar and send her cards without fail—and don’t be late!
In fact, mark down the three biggies—her b-day, her anniversary, and Mother’s Day in your date book, but here’s the secret—write them a week early and be sure to get those flowers out at LEAST twice a year (her b-day and Mother’s Day). Here’s another insider trick—get your husband to pen the card or Mom might get the impression that her son has forgotten her special days. (He probably has.) So buy the cards yourself and have him sign it from the both of you. Consider yourself a ghostwriter—all guts, no glory.
2. Be as unassuming as possible.
Whatever you do, try not to act sarcastic or standoffish with your MIL! She might get the mistaken impression (or not) that you are somehow making a clear distinction between the two of you and you might get D.I.L.Z.ed (daughter-in-law zinged)—OUCH! Rather, over-affect everything from gracious guest to light and breezy wallflower.
3. Avoid being defensive with your MIL.
This is tough, because your MIL makes it so easy for you to get defensive at times. But this is where the deliberate strategizing comes into play. Let’s say you’re looking for a missing item in your house—keys, for example. Your MIL might react like so: Don’t look at ME! I didn’t take them! Rather, become self-deprecating with a simple, “Oh silly me, last week I found those things in the fridge—I must be losing my mind!” Then, make yourself a nice cup of tea, and graciously offer your stymied opponent her choice of beverage as well.
4. Be objective when it comes to MIL criticism.
Let’s say your MIL tells you your hair looks better the other way. Okay, so your first reaction is to feel like complete @$%^. Let’s change all that! Simply style it the “other” way while she’s there, and change it back when she leaves. However, you might actually find that other people start to compliment you on your new style, so be open to the possibility that Mother knows best!
5. Follow all compliments with a self-deprecating comment.
So, she’s just given you a compliment. But just make sure that you don’t agree with her! She will be in her glory when you respond with self-deprecating statements such as, “Oh, I tried to give myself a look, but I’m really not sure I succeeded very well at all. But thanks for noticing!” And then be truly glad she did!