(By Maureen Mackey - Reader's Digest - May 2009)

1.It hurts to be downsized.
I spent a couple of decades being the leading lady; now I have a character role. 

2.I know he's your husband now.
But heís still my son.

3.You don't seem very confident about yourself.
The littlest comment from me is taken as a criticism, so Iím very careful what I say around you.

4.A little gratitude wouldn't hurt.
Every year, I send you a birthday present, but you never even pick up the phone to thank me. This year, I said, ďThatís it. No more.Ē Yet look at me: Iím about to send another present. I guess thatís how I am.

5.I want the best for both of us.
We mothers say to our children, ďI want you to be happy.Ē And we mean that. What we donít say is, ďBut I would like to be happy too.Ē

6.I know a little something.
Iíve bought and sold 13 houses in my life. Why wonít you ask for my advice?

7.When I visit you, I'm just coming to see the family.
Iím not coming for a white-glove inspection.Ē

8.I've got his number.
When I really want to talk to my son privately, I donít call your house. I call his cell phone.

9.I'm truly appreciative.
Iím so happy that you allow my sonóyour husbandóto visit me on Motherís Day. Itís a long trip and a big expense.

10.I have a dirty little secret.
Iím afraid that if I donít get this right, youíll cut me off.

11.I'm in competition with your mother.
She takes you on vacations every year and buys things I canít afford. All I can do is love you and babysit for you. I hope thatís enough and that itís appreciated.

12.I'm lucky to have you!
Whenever I stay at your house, you always have my room ready, my towels, everything. You do all the right things.

13.You know me well.
I cherish the refrigerator magnet you gave me: ďAge and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.Ē

Sources: Susan Abel Lieberman, PhD (The Mother-in-Lawís Manual), Jane Angelich (Whatís a Mother [in-Law] to Do?), and anonymous mothers-in-law in four states.

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