8 Rules to Follow When Your MIL Is Your BFF

by Sarah Cottrell
Originally Published: 

I have been married for a decade. In those ten years I have learned that the most important ally to my marriage is my mother in-law. She can talk sense (my sense, not his sense, or even common sense) into my husband when I need it the most. She has the answers to all my burning questions about my husband, like why does he leave his shoes directly in front of the freaking door?! Or why does the hamper always fall in his blind spot?!

She can also spin a wild story, get easily drunk during Sunday dinner, always talk a store into taking a return despite strict policy, and at the ripe old age of…ahem…she can still stay out all night dancing to the blues.

My MIL is my BFF and I adore her dearly, but our friendship can be problematic. We’ve worked through some tricky relationship spots, and now we find ourselves in a smooth era of friendship. It was hard won. Once, during a heated exchange when she was siding with my husband, I connected some unpleasant dots between his acting like an ass and the fact that she raised him. Can you say, YIKES?!

So believe me when I tell you that if you want to skip down the BFF path with your MIL, then you MUST adhere to these 8 rules:

1. You can never talk sex. Think about it, do you really want to hear about your MIL knocking boots with grandpa? No. So don’t let anything about your sex life slip in conversation. As far as your MIL is concerned, her beautiful grandchildren were the spawns of Immaculate Conception.

2. You can never bitch about your kids. No matter what you say, your MIL will find a way to wedge in an I-Told-You-So, offer advice, or start lecturing you on how fabulous your children are and how you need to chill out. If you need to vent about how your kids are tyrants, then do it with your fellow mom tribe.

3. You can never bitch about your MIL. Obviously.

4. You can’t get your panties twisted when she BREAKS ALL YOUR RULES while babysitting. First of all, she’s probably babysitting for free, or at least with only a few strings attached. Secondly, she feels entitled to spoil your kids. And third, c’mon…how did you not see this coming?

5. You can never grumble about your husband. And if you do, then you’ll have some serious damage control on your hands. Remember that cautionary tale about connecting some unpleasant dots? If you bitch about your husband, then be prepared for a 50/50 chance that she’ll whip out her inner mama bear.

6. You can never criticize your husband’s siblings. No matter how much you cannot stand them. I once said something rather snarky and critical about my brother-in-law. TO THIS DAY my MIL hasn’t let it go. So tread lightly when it comes to your husband’s siblings.

7. She always gets the bigger glass of wine. That’s just respect, yo.

8. You have to be careful not to start acting like the favorite DIL…even if you are. Even more of a giant caution to all the MIL BFF fun is the dreaded SIL. So cancel the matching tracksuits and bite your tongue when the others are around. Just remember that you can bond over wine and Pinterest later when the coast is clear.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s kind of crazy to be close friends with your MIL. We’ve all heard the horror stories of MIL’s from hell. If you’re lucky enough to have one who is worth spending your time with, then do it! At best, you gain a fabulous friend. At worst, you can at least get some insight into why your spouse drives you bonkers.

Related post: 10 Tips For Being The Daughter-in-Law Your MIL Wants

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