Some may be blessed with a mother-in-law who loves to help around the house with laundry and never criticizes how her grandkids are being raised or a sister-in-law who always thinks of others and remembers birthdays.
But other people find interactions with their in-laws awkward, torturous or painful. If you are in this group, take heart that you aren’t alone.
Here are some first-hand in-law horror stories that might have you feeling lucky about your particular in-laws and their quirks.
1. My mother-in-law is a real gem. When she would come visit, she would separate my clothing from my now-ex’s and my children’s. She would dump my clothing in a heap on the basement floor, while she washed and folded everyone else’s. —Christine, a suburban mom
2. My mother-in-law emailed to tell me that her conscience wouldn’t let her live with herself if she didn’t tell me that I needed to lose weight. It was a lengthy, preachy and condescending message that wasn’t out of character. —Laura, a suburban mom
3. Once my mother-in-law got furious with me because I didn’t send her a Halloween greeting card. —Barbara, a Chicago mom
4. My in-laws had to stay with us in a one-bedroom apartment for a week because they didn’t have electricity due to a major storm. They got real comfy. They both walked around in their underwear. —Danielle, a Chicago mom
5. When I was in the hospital in labor with my first child, my mother-in-law immediately came in from out of town. She bullied her way into the labor and delivery room, then insisted I get on my laptop to research and find her a hotel–all while I was having a baby! —Kristina, a suburban mom
6. I was seven months pregnant and my mother-in-law decided to move in after having a sizable fight with my father-in-law. She forced me to take all the baby clothes out of the nursery and transition it back to a guest room. Then four weeks later, she made up with her husband and left without telling us–until she was halfway to Florida. —Jaime, a Chicago mom
7. My mother-in-law once lost a lot of weight and sent me a huge box of her clothes (which my husband and I refer to as the fat clothes incident). At the time I was a size 8 and she sent me all size 12 and 14. —Julie, a suburban mom
8. My in-laws came to visit two weeks before my daughter’s first birthday. They showed up at the door with a birthday cake and threw her first birthday party. Without asking. Without involving either parent. Just bought a cake. They stole what was a major moment I put as a mental milestone for my own sanity. —Destinie, a suburban mom
9. For our wedding, we received a nice set of pots and pans that I loved. My mother-in-law decided she wanted the pots and pans for her lake cottage. So she purchased a set of cheap pots and pans for our house and took the nice set for her cottage. She never told me she was going to do it or asked me if it was OK. I came home from work and the in-laws had returned to Michigan and I opened my cabinets to see my new cheap pots and pans! —Christine, a suburban mom
10. When my husband mentioned the area where we were buying our house, my brother-in-law told him, “You have to be careful over there because there are a lot of Mexicans.” I’m 100 percent Mexican. —Giscela, a Chicago mom
11. My mother-in-law cries if I put my kids in timeout. Yet she allows them to climb and walk on her dining room table. —Jackie, a Chicago mom
12. My husband’s maternal side of the family hates Catholics. His mother cried when she heard I was Catholic. —Mindy, a suburban mom
13. Safety is not my mother-in-law’s forte. When my kids were 1 and 2 1/2 years old, she insisted on taking both kids to a play, all by herself. The younger child got loud and she walked out of the theater with him, leaving the 2 1/2-year-old to be escorted out by the usher when he freaked out from a scary scene. —Michelle, a suburban mom
14. My step-mother-in-law writes a newsletter every year to send with their Christmas card. She unerringly spells my name incorrectly and will point out something awful about us, while gushing about the others. —Sandi, a suburban mom
15. My mother-in-law doesn’t believe in expiration dates on food and always cooks with expired food. It ends up being a good diet when we visit because I am too scared to eat anything. —Kate, a Chicago mom
Editor’s note: Just first names and general locations were used to protect these relationships from getting even worse. All shared their full names and stories with the writer.