Mother's Day with Your Mother in Law

Fun ways to spend time as a gift

Mothers-in-law get a bad rap, but maintaining a happy daughter-in-law/mother-in-law relationship is important for family harmony. Here are eight ways to let your MIL know you’re thinking of her this Mother’s Day.

  1. Create a family tree and record the roots you now share. Research your joint genealogy together, then download and customize a diagram from sites like, and
  2. Get crafty together. Take a multigenerational crafts class with your MIL and child. Learn to bead or fuse glass at Jubili Beads & Yarns in Collingswood, NJ; knit or crochet at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar or Loop in Philly; and turn your own photos into you-paint-it ceramics at Your Creation Station in Middletown, DE.
  3. Ask her for some parenting advice. After all, she raised a son you like.
  4. Go shopping and buy her something special. Browse WheatonArts in Millville, NJ for glass pieces (pictured here); the museum shops at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or the Barnes Foundation for fine-art prints; or Ten Thousand Villages in Wilmington, DE for an artisanal piece of Fair Trade jewelry.
  5. Help her tackle a DIY home project. Plant veggies in her garden, organize her bookshelves or DVD collection, paint an accent wall in her dining room, hang new curtains in her sunroom.
  6. Bridge your kitchen and hers by taking a cooking class together at places like The Kitchen Workshop in Paoli, PA; Sur La Table in Marlton, NJ; and the Hotel du Pont  in Wilmington, DE.
  7.  Do you share a love of Downton? Pass the time before season 5 debuts by visiting the Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur (through Jan. 4). Or take in an abbey-inspired high tea at one of the area’s many tea houses — for starters, there’s the New Leaf Tea Room & Gift Shoppe in Riverton, NJ; the Mary Cassatt Tea Room at Philly’s Rittenhouse; and the British Bell Tea Room in Newark, DE.
  8. Frame a portrait of her with your husband and give it to her as a present; it’s a nice way to acknowledge their ongoing bond. If you don’t have a good current photo of just the two of them, get the whole gang into the act and book a family portrait sitting like the one offered by Firefly Photography in Springfield, PA, as one of the prizes for our Mother’s Day Look-Alike contest.
Categories: Family Life, Home Life