8 Ways You Don't Realize Your Mother-In-Law Is Lowkey Shaming The Sh*t Outta You

Ad failed to load

To be honest, my relationships with my mothers-in-law haven't always been the greatest. Yes, I mean mothers-in-law plural. I have been married twice and have had to navigate relationships with two sets of in-laws. It wasn't easy, but it was manageable. Well, before I had kids. I think there's something about having grandchildren that makes most mothers-in-law say the most passive aggressive, rude, and judgmental things. The worst are the things that sound nice, but really aren't. You know, like the times you don't realize your mother-in-law is lowkey shaming you. The sh*t outta you, in fact.

Sometimes I really do think our mothers-in-law mean well. After all, they want what's best for their children and their grandchildren. Unfortunately, sometimes what they think is best and what you know is best are two completely different things. They make comments about how long your mother-in-law breastfed (so much longer than you did), how she didn't have to get an epidural (so why did you need one, huh?), how young your spouse was when she expertly potty trained them, or how she thinks that you really ought to post more pictures of her grandkids on social media. Yeah, they aren't really nice.

By far, my least favorite versions of mother-in-law comments are what I call "mompliments" — underhanded compliments which aren't meant to actually be complimentary. Like, "I like this new haircut so much more than your last one." So, you hated my last haircut, then? Gee, thanks. And then there's the "You are so brave to wear that!" Umm, no thanks. What you really mean when you say these things is that you can't manage to think of something nice to say to me. So, you know, maybe don't say anything at all?

Ad failed to load

So, listen up mothers-in-law the world over, and let me give you some unsolicited parenting advice for a change: if you want to have a good relationship with your child, don't give their spouse advice unless you're asked. It totally won't end well, and it will most likely feel like low-key shaming:

Ad failed to load

When She Is Passive Aggressive


Mothers-in-law are the queens of passive aggressive comments and gestures. You probably know what I mean, too. The comments that imply their disapproval, but don't require them to actually come out and say that they disapprove, are the comment I'm sure you've heard more than a few times. Things like "Oh, you meant to dress the baby that way?" or, "Oh, you're not actually wearing that outfit, are you?" and, "That is an interesting choice." Or the time when my former mother-in-law (who was a hoarder, ironically) purchased me an organizer for my car so I could "keep it cleaner." Then, when you tell your spouse about it, he replies, "Well, I'm sure she meant well."

No. She didn't.

When She Tells You About When Your Spouse Was A Baby


I honestly don't want to hear about your experience growing, birthing, breastfeeding, or raising babies. It's a trap. I am so not going to do things the way you did, and that's OK. It doesn't mean either of us are wrong, it just means that we have different ways of doing things.

When She Won't Let You Cook For Her

I am an awesome cook, my friends, and people love my cooking. Except, it seems, my former mother-in-law. My family always had to go out to eat when she came to visit, which is not really fun once you have kids, and especially not fun when your mother-in-law complains about the restaurant, food, and how your kids behave in public.

Ad failed to load

When She Makes Comments About Your House


Yeah, my house is "lived in" and we have different styles, taste, and priorities. Your comments about my home are not welcome, especially when they are intended to make me feel bad. Not cool.

(I'm still waiting for her to pay for a maid, by the way.)

When She Doesn't Come For A Visit, Because She Doesn't Want To "Be A Burden"

When we invited my parents and in-laws for Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law decided not to come. She claimed that she didn't want to be a burden, which she wouldn't have been, but that conveniently turned her into the victim when people asked her why she wasn't there. Ugh.

When She Underhandedly Compliments You


Mothers-in-law have a "special way" of commenting about your home, outfit, or choices. For example: when your mother-in-law says "your house looks so 'lived-in and quaint,'" she really means you're a terrible housekeeper. When she says your dress is a "bold choice," it means she doesn't like it and definitely wouldn't be caught dead wearing it in public. And when she says that you are assertive, she really means she thinks you're a "b*tch.

I don't know about you, but I would just prefer my mother-in-law being straight-up honest with me.

Ad failed to load

When She Facebook Stalks You

My mother-in-law constantly reminds me that I need to post pictures of her grandkids on Facebook at least once a day. If I skip a day or two, I will get a message from her asking what's up, or worse, my husband will get a message from her asking if I have blocked her. Ugh.

She Gives You Unsolicited Parenting Advice


I hate unsolicited parenting advice from anyone, but I especially hate it when it comes from my mother-in-law. It always comes across as lowkey shaming or judgment. She got to be a mom already. And she did a great job, too, because her son is pretty awesome. I mean, that's why I married him. Now, though? Now I'm the parent, and if I want advice I will ask for it.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills