Your DIL doesn’t want to know what you think of her spending habits and other painful truths.

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Your DIL doesn’t want to know what you think of her spending habits (and other painful truths).

Want to know how to be a good mother-in-law? Any wife will tell you that learning to hold your tongue is job one. Yes, MIL, we KNOW you have so much valuable experience and wisdom to share. And your boy has grown accustomed to being cared for in that special way that is your personal signature.  Surely DIL would benefit from your tips on home care, skin care, wardrobe, hospitality, child rearing, cooking, gardening, community involvement, penmanship, charity work, the grandchildren's academics, and overall personal style. Right? Bless your heart, MIL.

We recently polled our Facebook Brain Trust and asked them to name the most critical times to hold your tongue if you're a Southern mother-in-law. The list was long:

  1. When you drop by DIL’s house unannounced and it’s a real mess.
  2. When DIL is getting older and you've heard no mention of grandchildren.
  3. When DIL says “No!” to the grandkids (and you can't see any reason for it whatsoever).
  4. When DIL has gained weight and you wonder if she might appreciate your fitness tips.
  5. When you casually mention that you’ve found it helpful to set a modest clothing budget and stick to it, and DIL says she "lives to shop."
  6. When DIL “eats like a bird” and you think she would benefit from your smothered pork chop recipe.
  7. When DIL attempts your “famous” chocolate layer cake, and it leans a little to the right or the frosting slides off.
  8. When your opinion has not been requested (but would be oh so helpful if those kids would just listen!!!!)
  9. When DIL is crabbing about your precious son.
  10. When you’re tempted to be critical of DIL in front of the grandchildren. (Abort! Emergency! May Day!)
  11. When DIL disagrees with your boy, turns to you and asks, “What do YOU think?”
  12. When you have to do things you think DIL should be doing.
  13. When DIL doesn’t take the MANY hints you’ve offered about the MANY ways she could make her kitchen more efficient (that is, more like yours).
  14. When DIL is hosting Thanksgiving for the first time and asks if you'd mind putting the paper plates on the table.
  15. To be honest . . . you should probably zip it all the time, says a Southern mom with two married sons: “Really, that’s the only way to stay out of trouble—keep your mouth shut always.”

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Every Southern Mama knows that good manners show other people that you respect them and that you were raised to treat others with kindness and courtesy.