29 Jul
In-laws Are Lovely People. Until They’re Stupid.

Dear TMH,

My in-laws are lovely people, but they are also insufferable in many ways. How do I send the message to my young children that it’s OK to love people even if they are completely wrong in almost everything they do? And, more importantly, how do I convince my 5 year old that I’m not a total tyrant compared to his grandparents and aunt, despite evidence to the contrary (i.e., I tell him no, enforce his bedtime and won’t tolerate bad behavior)? I know the right thing is to let my kids figure out for themselves just how ridiculous their father’s side of the family is, but it’s so hard to keep from helping them along that path.

Please help!


Jessica James, AKA The Outlaw

Dear Outlaw,

Yes, my in-laws are lovely people too. Why, when they called me an emasculating bitch with a white trash family, it was one of the loveliest moments of my life!

Experts always encourage parents to spend quality time with their children and also to allow artistic freedom. So coloring your child’s judgment kills two parenting birds with one stone and is totally backed by child-rearing experts. You’re in the clear.

Or you could do like I do, which is keep my mouth shut by pouring several glasses of wine in it. This method also kills two birds with one stone but with added benefits – I get to feel morally superior for not trash talking my kids’ grandparents and, after glass three, I no longer care what my in-laws say or do.

A different set of experts teach what you say of others is actually a projection of your self, meaning whatever negative thing you say of your in-laws is actually a negative aspect in you. I’m experimenting with this concept in reverse. I keep saying positive things about my in-laws, such as “they are millionaires,” but so far my bank account isn’t buying this concept and my checking balance is stuck at three figures and not seven.

However, my in-laws were generous enough to send a check to help pay for back-to-school supplies for the kids and give my husband a set of new tires for his birthday, so there could actually be something to this “thought creates reality” concept. You might want to give it a try.

Heather, TMH

7 Responses to “In-laws Are Lovely People. Until They’re Stupid.”


Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

Convince your 5-year-old? Give it up, honey – Mommy is always mean compared to doting grandparents or other relatives. It’s part of the job description.

And don’t talk smack about relatives, especially to a young child. It doesn’t help the situation. If he loves them, that’s all that matters.


Comment by Wendi.

Oh, Heather. You keep your mouth shut by pouring a couple glasses of wine in it? I may have to steal that line.


Comment by Katie.

Bite your tongue and continue to raise your child as a SANE human being. Eventually, the sanity they hold will blend with the inlaws insanity like oil and water and you’ll end up with your adult child about to have their first child, sitting with you in your only sane relative’s house doing all the “We’re pregnant” phone calls and crying “oh God, that’s my blood, those are MY genes I hope I don’t pass them on” as you hang up each time.

Or maybe that’s just how my family rolls…


Comment by Bellamomma.

Telling the kids that grandma sucks never fails to backfire. Mainly because always forget to NOT tell grandma your little secrets.

Just like practicing swear words in church – Kids will rat you out every time.

Join me in the pantry as I hide from my inlaws! We can fill our mouths with wine & remember that one day we’ll have grandchildren to spoil!!


Comment by the mama bird diaries.

The wine line is brilliant.

I feel like I finally just learned the Secret.


Comment by Heather.

Hey, I just learned the Secret with the wine in the past year and I’ve been married for 13 years.

I won’t visit family, mine or his, without a bottle or two with me. To me, it’s like over-the-counter Xanax.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

Love, love, love this line:

Why, when they called me an emasculating bitch with a white trash family, it was one of the loveliest moments of my life!

One SIL told me I was going to ruin his life & take him away from his family. Then they threw a shower that I didn’t want & didn’t attend & they kept the presents. Another SIL told people he was only marrying me because I was pregnant (not). Another SIL cried through the rehearsal & wedding because she was loosing her brother.

I decided to let my kids figure out for themselves how crazy the inlaws are. They are SLOWLY learning.

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