• 12 Reasonable Things I Wish I Could Tell My Mother-in-Law *Sigh*
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  • Dear Mother-in-Law (MIL), 

    The following are wishes — and pleas — I can only dream you will respect. You will never know I wrote this, but somehow I hope this letter reaches you (I am counting on one of your amigas to send it to you via Facebook).

    Here goes.  

    1. I'll take care of your son.
    I promised to take care of your son in front of God or some other legal body, and I meant it. There’s no need for the constant reminder. I will make sure he has three square meals a day (he eats more than that, by the way), his socks are cleaned and ironed, and he only eats Cheetos once every three months (I'll make sure he busts his butt in the gym after). 

    I promise he won’t go hungry and while I can’t replicate your cooking, I'll try to come up with my own signature dishes.

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    2. Please knock.
    This goes to your husband (FIL) as well. Your son and I know we’re in your home, but we’re in our room. If you don’t want to catch us in our underwear — or worse — please knock. You’re always welcome, but maybe we can keep visiting hours between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.? Think about it.

    3. Please let me and your son find our own way.
    Dear MIL and FIL, thank you for the advice, but please wait for us to ask. Starting a family is stressful enough. Sometimes we like to figure things out and do things on our own. After all, we’re adults now. Give us a little wiggle room. Trust that you took care of your son well enough that he can go on without you holding his hand.

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    Like you, I just want the best for your son, but you have to let me do it my way.

    4. We’re not being rude when we tell you to call first before visiting.
    It’s all about respecting each other. We’re settling in, we’re enjoying our time as a couple. Please understand our need for privacy right now.

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    5. My baby is not a toy nor is he an item for show and tell.
    Babies then aren’t like babies now. We have more information in our hands. We know that babies don’t cry because they’re “iyakin,” hungry or, they have a wet diaper. Babies cry because they need to sleep. They cry because they need structure. They also cry when they’re bored. 

    Thank you for all the beautiful gifts, but please don’t overstimulate my baby with activity after activity after activity. You’re not the ones who’ll deal with the fallback (read: endless crying and no sleeping).

    6. That said, please don’t wake my baby.
    Sleeping babies are beautiful precisely because they’re sleeping. It’s the combination of their angelic faces and the serenity of them not crying. Please don’t pinch their feet and wake them up so you can play with them. There’s plenty of time for that — when he’s awake.

    And does my baby really have to be at that family reunion? Maybe we can skip this one and go to the next one when he’s older.

    7. All babies are different.
    Dear MIL and FIL, please stop comparing my baby with yours (in case you forgot, that means your son). Times have changed. Science and studies on baby development have shifted gears. Some babies are docile, others are touchy.

    There are those who are low maintenance, while there are high-needs babies like mine. Don’t blame our parenting or the baby! We’re all trying to do our best.

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    8. Please don’t force your methods.
    No, I don’t want to let my baby cry it out. I don’t want to stick a saliva-ridden strip of paper on his forehead (that does nothing for hiccups). No, I don’t want to use bigkis — did you know babies are abdominal breathers? Binding their bellies will make breathing harder.

    9. Please don’t turn your son against me.
    When you got married, I’m sure you’re glad that your husband committed himself fully to you. Please remember this every time we disagree, and my husband backs me up. Don’t be mad at him. Be proud that you’ve taught him to be a good husband. Don’t bad-mouth me to him behind my back. I'm not doing these things to spite you.

    Dear MIL, do guide, but don’t impose.

    10. When I said “no visitors” after giving birth, it was not about you.
    It was about me resting after hard labor. I wanted to take the quiet time to sleep and relax; I did not want to entertain. This was about me trying to get my bearings and really absorbing this life-changing milestone. 

    11. Please be on our team.
    We understand that grandparents are the ultimate spoilers, but don’t step on our rules. Please don’t give him that lollipop before dinner after we said no, he can't have it. Please don’t buy him a toy to stop him from throwing a tantrum in the store. This isn’t a competition between us. I'm not withholding things from him because I am selfish. Truly, I have your apo's best interests at heart.

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    12. Please have a life.
    This sounds cruel, but it’s not. Your son’s an adult now. You’ve done your job. Now it’s time to go live your life — take that cruise you’ve always wanted. It’s now time to think about yourself. We know it’s hard considering you’ve spent decades thinking of other people. But try. This is the time for you. Enjoy yourself. Have a little self-love. 

    We promise. We’ll be closer this way.

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