29 August 2013
The role of mother-in-law is one of the most difficult jobs in the world and famously inspires a rich vein of off-colour jokes. A new book from Bodleian Library Publishing provides much-needed guidance without mincing its words!
First published in 1937, this little guide is by turns humorous, old-fashioned and timeless, offering excellent advice for this much-maligned role. The book presents a scientific study of mothers-in-law, and outlines the golden rules you need to become a popular one.
Practical tips are given on a range of issues, such as how to visit a married daughter, how best to interact with grandchildren, how not to pass comment at the dinner table and what degree of independence should be granted to married sons. The guide even anticipates the possibility that mothers-in-law might have to live under the same roof as the married couple and helpfully offers advice on how to negotiate this situation. It also provides some cautionary tales of ‘real tabloid tragedies’ as ‘Food for Thought’, such as the story of a mother-in-law who surprised a couple by accompanying them on their honeymoon.
Whether intended for a new mother-in-law, a veteran, or a long-suffering spouse—the words of wisdom on offer in this slim guide will entertain and inspire!
Some advice for mothers-in-law
"If your opinion is not sought, don’t volunteer it."
"Do not look at your son steadfastly and then turn to his wife and tell her he is getting thin."
"…if the house is a servantless one and Edith has forgotten to put out salt and pepper, don’t tell Tom to go and get them…"
"Above all, treat the newcomer every bit as affectionately as you do your own child."