Mothers-in-Law Uncensored

See that tight-lipped smile on your mother-in-law's face? Brace your ego: It's code for "I have issues with you." Listen in on these hidden gripes -- and how to fix 'em.

“Don't cut in on my bond with my kid!" Now that you've tied the knot, you may feel like a package deal. Well, tell that to your in-laws. “I love my son-in-law, and I enjoy spending time with him, but sometimes I wish I had my daughter to myself," says Jodi. “Does he always have to come when she visits?" So cut your spouse some alone-time with his or her parents…were you really dying to hang around and play charades anyway?

“Why do you always reject my advice?" “Whenever we're out with my son and his wife, I hear, 'Well, my mom says…' at least three times during the conversation," Nadine complains. “Okay, honey, your mom is a genius, but she's not the only mother who knows a thing or two." Next time your MIL gives her two cents, don't shut her down like an iMac. No, you don't have to put up toile wallpaper 'cause she said so. Just appease her and say, “Oh, that's an idea. I'll think about it," so she thinks you're considering her opinion. Then feel free to ignore it.

“Don't push your parents on me all the time. It's annoying." Your in-laws were probably thrilled to welcome you into their family, but you don't need to force both sets of parents to be BFFs. “My daughter is married to a great guy, but his parents are not our cup of tea. Still, my son-in-law keeps pushing us to hang out together. Give it a rest. We don't have to be best friends."

“I get that you're my son's/daughter's new best friend...but I'm not invisible!" No parent likes to feel shafted. “I'm so happy that my son found someone he loves, but honestly, I miss being #1," says Janet. (Can you say “mama's boy"?) So send her an email suggesting she go out to lunch with her son (alone), and you'll set up the reservation. Or call and ask what she thinks your husband might want for his birthday. And if she starts suggesting the brand of boxers she knows he's always loved…well, just make an excuse to hang up the phone.

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