There is a distinct set of rules to follow when you are expecting a visit from your husband’s other favorite gal. Yes, these rules take effort, but well worth it! Let’s begin.
Before your mother-in-law comes for a visit, make the bed with her linens and put her towels in the bathroom.
If your MIL enjoys storing her own linens, pillows, blankets, comforters, and towels at your house for use when she visits, make sure you have them ready and put them out upon arrival. Although you might get the impression that she thinks your things are simply not good enough for her, more likely it’s just that she is used to what she is used to, no reflection on you. After all, we like our stuff too, right?! Simply condense them nicely in some shrink-wrap material and place them in a box under the bed upon her departure.
Put up the household items your MIL brings over.
If your MIL loves to bring things over to improve your home, such as curtains, little rugs to put in front of the sink, rags for doing the dishes, potters for your plants, towels for the bathroom, and other things of this nature, before she comes, put them out and about. When she leaves, simply take them down and store them in a box labeled, “My Favorite House-hold Items,” and store them in an out of the way place such as your basement or garage. If she gives you Christmas decorations, put them on your tree. There is nothing bothersome about Christmas decorations! And it’s one less thing you have to remember to do during the holiday season. Enjoy them!
Empty the fridge before your MIL comes to visit.
Your MIL may arrive with a giant cooler replete with her favorite foods such as Wonder Bread Hot Dog Buns and Oscar Meyer Dogs, Tupperwares full of Sloppy Joes, macaroni salad, and of course, a Ziploc of iceberg lettuce with jars of her very own homemade dressing. If there’s no room in your refrigerator, she may jostle your stuff to the side, perhaps even knocking it to the floor. So, rather than witness your tofu stir-fry strewn all over the tiles, make sure you keep a shelf or two wide open for your MIL and her provisions. Don’t take it personally—she’s just not used to the kinds of things that you eat, is all!
Agree with your MIL about what a disaster your home is.
Do everything you can to make your house as neat as possible before a visit—you might even consider hiring a cleaning service. In the process of neatening up, however, you might pick a room in which to deposit the extraneous clutter so the rest of your dwelling appears sparse and orderly. Inevitably, this will be the area that your MIL finds first, promptly informing you what a complete catastrophe your home is. (Unfortunately, she does have a point there!) Thus, utilize the technique of preemptive apologizing—beat Mom to the punch and tell her you are going to sign up for one of those home-improvement shows on HGTV such as Before and After, Designers’ Challenge, and What’s With That House?
Better to order out when your MIL comes to visit!
Certainly do not bother creating a meal, as your MIL will most likely not be accustomed to your type of food. The amount of effort you put into producing it will be inversely proportionate to her reaction. For example, you may spend two days preparing a wonderful feast: penne with pesto, pine-nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes, green salad with caramelized walnuts, pear, and gorgonzola cheese, spicy black bean dip with onions and garlic, tabouli salad with garbanzo beans and avocado. As you proudly announce, “Dinner is served!” the doorbell may simultaneously ring to the tune of DOMINO’S. So save yourself the trouble and order a couple of large pepperoni pies, or simply take Mom out to the local diner.