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Field Guide to Mothers-in-law

The Type What They're Famous For

The Fancypants

Natural Habitat: Saks

How to Spot: She’s dressed to the nines and makes you feel like a schlub.

How to Approach: This species will always try to top you—so the best way to get respect is to stick to your own style.

The Conservative

Natural Habitat: Church

How to Spot: Says a snide “I see,” when you talk, and makes you feel like a child.

How to Approach: You can argue, but it won’t get you far. Biting your tongue will save you some grief and get you home sooner.

The Cool One

Natural Habitat: Her Volvo

How to Spot:
She’s often hard to find since she has a very busy life of her own. 

How to Approach: Don’t try too hard—once you spend enough time being yourself with her, she’ll be a good friend first, and a MIL second.

The Generation Gapper

Natural Habitat: The kitchen

How to Spot: She speaks an entirely different language.

How to Approach: She still thinks her way is best, but she can also have some wisdom to impart.

The Hippie

Natural Habitat: Self- help group or yoga mat

How to Spot: She’ll drop by unexpectedly.

How to Approach: You won’t get this species on your schedule or comfort level, but you can let her know some boundaries, like weekday walk-ins: off-limits but Sundays, okay.

The M.I.L.F. Wannabe

Natural Habitat: The plastic surgeon or spa

How to Spot: She wants to be your BFF since you married her “mamma’s boy.”

How to Approach: This species is looking for a friend and some reassurance. Smile and help her feel important.

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