20 Questions You Should NEVER Ask Your Mother-in-Law

young woman speaking with mother-in-lawIt's the holiday season, which means decorating your home, entertaining guests, and gift-giving are probably just a few of the MANY to-dos on your jam-packed calendar. Spending quality time with your family is on there, too -- maybe even family you don't always get along so swimmingly with. For many women, the person who most fits that bill is their mother-in-law


Even if you get along really well with your MIL, there are topics you'll do well to steer clear of with her!

In order to help preempt any awkward moments for all the daughters-in-law out there, we asked wives and experts to share the questions you should never ask your mother-in-law -- during the holidays, or ever. (Really. Take our word for it!)

1. "Did he learn that from you?" when discussing a specific "bad" behavior

2. "Do you like our home?" This is the gateway to comments about how you decorate and house-keep, explains Christina Steinorth-Powell, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships. "Enjoy your home the way you've decorated it," she advises. "You don't need validation from your mother-in-law."

3. "Why don't you do it the way I do?" in reference to parenting, housekeeping, or other family styles

4. "Why don't you have flowers on the table? My mother loves flowers." You shouldn't ask questions that compare her to your mom, explains Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. "It will set up a competition you don’t want to be in the middle of," she notes.

5. "Where did you buy this?" ... when she brings over a pie or any dish that she baked herself

6. "Is it okay if this year I bring the [insert name of the dish she's been making for a quarter of a century or more]?"

7. "Did I ask you for your opinion?"

8. "Which one of your son's girlfriends was your favorite?"

9. "You don't really believe in that, do you?!" when discussing politics or religion

10. "Should I buy my own china/crystal/dining room set, or are we going to inherit yours?"

11. "What were you thinking?!" when you she does something you disagree with like giving your child a certain food

12. "Why didn't you raise your son to ... [insert 'take out the trash,' 'put his socks in the laundry,' 'have table manners,' etc.]?" This is a no-no, because, as Steinorth-Powell explains, "Simply by asking this question, you're implying that your mother-in-law did a bad job as a parent."

13. "Could you talk to your daughter or son for me?" when it's really something you should discuss directly with your sister-in-law, brother-in-law, or husband

14. "Will you watch the kids?" Tessina recommends against asking your MIL to babysit "unless you like the way she does it. Don't expect her to live up to your expectations when she's doing you a favor."

More from The Stir: 5 Ways to Get Along Better With Your Mother-in-Law

15. "Don't you think you have had enough wine?"

16. "Have you gained weight?"

17. "Why don't you spend as much time with OUR kids?" when discussing about a sibling or sibling-in-law's family

18. "Why did you ..." or "Why didn't you" questions, like, "Why did you let his father verbally abuse him?" or "Why didn't you let him play the saxophone?" In other words, as Tessina advises, "Don't ask questions to hurt her. That's asking for a fight and a lifelong struggle with your MIL. If [your husband]'s mad at her, it's his fight, not yours."

19. "Don't you get how busy we are?"

20. "Would you please talk directly to your son, if you have something to say about that?"

Which of these have you dare asked, if any? Any others you'd never ever try?


Image via iStock.com/lite_2046

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