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My MIL is My BFF!

When we first met, I was relieved when my future mother-in-law told me that I was pretty and smart. “His last girlfriend had the face of a rat,” she said. Oh boy.

My husband adores his mother—he calls her Big Red for her auburn hair—so after our wedding I took up post as dutiful daughter-in-law. I called her weekly and eventually sent endless waves of photos of our two kids.

I suppose it was easy having an MIL on the opposite coast. She showed up for short spurts: quick shopping trips, weddings, and babies' birthdays. But my husband's demanding work schedule meant that the burden to play tour guide always fell on me.

What first ensued was one bad TV moment after another: Minutes after my MIL met our first child, Jane, she exclaimed, “That is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. You know, sometimes the most beautiful babies turn into the ugliest adults.” Really. Then after my son was born and I'd lost most of the 70 pounds I'd gained, she sent me an outfit from Banana Republic—in a size 12. I cried. I used to be a 4.