Guest Post - Sally Shields on Mother-in-Law Troubles

Today, we have the honor of hosting the ridiculously impressive Sally Shields, author of "The Daugther-in-Law Rules: 101 Surefire Ways to Make Friends with Your Mother-in-Law!"  She's got some great advice for us about finding a balance between what we think is best for our child, and what our mother-in-law thinks is best.  Everyone knows this situation can be like a powder keg ready to explode!  Read, and enjoy!  If you need more Sally, visit her blog at: and website:  But promise you'll come back to visit me sometime?

Motherhood and Your Mother-in-Law!
by Sally Shields

Often after a baby arrives, there can be tensions between the new mother and her more experienced mother in law, who would love to impart her loving wisdom. However, if stubbornness gets in the way, there are a few things to keep in mind to make things go more smoothly. Here are a few questions and answers that might prove helpful to ease the dissension between the new mother and her baby's new grandma!
Q: My baby is only a week old but my MIL already wants her to have a sibling to play with! Is she nuts?
A: If your twinkle toes has yet to shed her umbilical cord, your mother-in-law may nonetheless put in an application for a new addition by way of a statement such as, "I can't wait until she has a little brother or sister to play with!" Say how eager you are to have another. Smile coyly and mention that you're already working on it. She will be hard-pressed not to picture you and her son having relations (don't think of a pink elephant, okay?) and she will most likely not ask you again... at least for the next couple of months, that is!
Q: My MIL complains that she doesn't get as much time with my kids as my own mother. Well, that might be true, but what can I do? She lives 7 hours away!
A: As soon as your kid is able to carry on a "conversation," dial up your MIL and let the two yak away. Do this every few days. When it's time to hang up, if you are busy, quickly say how much the little one misses her and that you can't wait to see her as well. She'll be very happy to stay connected with your little ones, even if it's through the phone.
Q: I spend hours taking home videos and even learned to send digital pictures to my MIL over the Internet. But she complained that she's the only person in Ohio that doesn't get professional shots to hand out to her friends at Bingo. I just can't win!
A: Spring for professional shots of your child. Make lots of copies (especially ones with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or a Hanukkah Dreidel, and send your MIL several wallet sizes to use like trading cards with her Bingo buds. Mom truly enjoys seeing your bloom in bunny ears with a blue background, holding a giant carrot. And so will you! You may even get bamboozled into buying every image in the book, complete with Sepia hues, flower borders and glam shots with soft-focus feature. So be extra-prepared to whip out your credit card and make sure your package includes the CD-ROM so that you can replicate all of the above on your printer at home as well!
Q: I have fun doing art projects with my kids, and thought my MIL would appreciate the fact that I saved them for her. But she just threw them away. What's up with THAT?!
A: Pick out some recent drawings or finger paintings, and dispatch them to your MIL. However, do not present her with anything that includes traces of your creative input or she may refuse it immediately. For example, if your child's compositions end up resembling things such as puppies or frogs, you may feel compelled to color them in, embellish, and label them as such. Instead, provide Mom with the scribbles alone. These are the ones that will invariably end up framed at her house. "Ahhh, now that's TALENT!" she'll proclaim proudly.
Q: When I'm visiting my MIL, all she wants to do is feed my child JUNK. I can't stand it. But if I say anything, we end up in a big fight, or giving each other the silent treatment. HELP!
A: If you notice your MIL bestowing Wonder Bread with butter on your little bottomless pit a few times a day, just remember that your husband eventually grew up and seems to be in relatively good health. Although you may feel frustrated and be compelled to suggest, "I would prefer if you didn't feed her that stuff at every meal, okay?" better to let your MIL indulge your child's requests for the nutritionally devoid foodstuffs. Otherwise, your kid will soon come crying, "Grammy said that you said that I can't have white bread with butter ANYMORE!" forcing you to relent sheepishly, "Well, she can have it at least once a day, I guess the stuff won't kill her!" Don't make a federal issue out of it, as your pipsqueak will eventually be back to eating apples and whole wheat bagels upon Mom's departure!
In Conclusion: The bottom line is to really and truly learn to appreciate your MIL. After all, she did give birth to your husband, and you are forever thankful to her for that! We can all grow much closer to our MIL's through our children!
I leave you with this wish: that you may develop a respectful and loving relationship with your MIL and learn to appreciate her for who she is, where she came from and what she is to become. Take heed to one of the great spiritual laws of success: The quickest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. Be a loving, kind, generous, open-hearted, sensitive person, and the world will reflect that back to you-even in the form of your mother-in-law – and she may just surprise you and turn out to be an ally and a friend. Mine certainly did!

Sally Shields

Speaker, Radio Personality and

International Media Specialist

#1 Bestseller of 

co-host, "Blurb!"

This book helps raise money for
The BCRF®. Think Pink!

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Great advice, huh?  Do you have any techniques of your own?  Or is it a difficult father-in-law who's the problem?  Tell me all about it:


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