Mommyish Gift Guide: 7 Passive Aggressive Gifts For Your Mother-In-Law

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the necessity to buy gifts for certain people that make our lives a living hell. Some of you have a great relationship with your mother-in-law, so please don’t be offended by this list – just realize how lucky you are. I have no relationship with mine either way – so I’m impartial. I do have some friends who endure some unbelievable crap all year long. This list is for people like them – who have to take the constant berating of their mother-in-laws with a smile.

1. Waxing Kit



Do you find yourself reaching for those stray hairs that grow out of her neck and wondering how she manages to miss them, day in and day out? This will save you from driving yourself crazy and remind her she’s not perfect either – the next time she tells you your eyebrows are too bushy.

2. This Book



The Lost Art Of Listening. Enough said.

3. Spanx

Spanx are in. And only the two of you need to know that you’re getting her back for the queen size panty hose she bought you for Christmas last year.

4. Anti-Wrinkle Cream

This could be fancy and smell really good and be perceived by onlookers as a nice gift, right? Ha.

5. This Book



Sometimes our adult children.. * do not finish college. * marry the “wrong” person. * can’t keep a good job. * abuse drugs or alcohol. * are gay. * are single parents. * are divorced. * make religious choices we don’t understand. * can’t raise their own children, leaving us to pick up the slack. * live at home. Where Does That Leave Us?

What the hell? If she gets comfort from this book she won’t even get the joke so you will be safe.

6. A Gym Membership



I’m not an advocate of body shaming, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. It goes both ways, lady.

7. Wine of the Month Club

My friend’s mother in law always makes a point of complaining that my friend and her husband “always have wine with dinner” and “is that necessary?” Then she secretly raids their liquor cabinet when they go to sleep. What is up with that? This is a subtle hint to let her know you’re on to her.

Bonus Gift Suggestion: Her Son Back

You’ll never be good enough for her and he fails to see how annoying she is? Give him back. She’s obviously a better wife to him than you are right? Ha. Just kidding. You’ll just have to fantasize about this one.

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You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Hana Graham

    LOL, that last one.

  • NicknamesAreDull

    I gave my MIL a copy of “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”, and wrote “Princesses can be engineers if they want to.” after she told me that girls can’t play with blocks, because they’re “delicate princesses”.

  • Jessica

    I have a friend whose MIL has no pictures of her in the entire house, despite the fact that she and her husband have been married 7 years. So it’s been suggested that she make one of those 12 month picture frames of her littlest, and then photo-bomb every shot.

    • Maria Guido


    • CMJ

      I don’t even know if my MIL has pictures of my husband in her house….hmmmm. I should make one of those obnoxious, million hole collage frames and use our wedding pictures….

    • Maria Guido

      Those are THE WORST! Those totally should have been on the list!

    • Mel

      Best idea ever!

    • Jessica

      My MIL does that too. The only pictures that include me are from our wedding. She goes so far as to copy pictures I post of my daughter & husband on Facebook. She prints them out, frames them, & hangs them all over her house. It creeps me out so much.

    • Justme

      YES! My MIL did that too! Until I blocked her from FB so that she couldn’t steal all my pictures.

    • Jessica

      I wish I could do that! But, oh my goodness, I don’t think I could handle the drama. My aunt de-friended her & within 5 minutes got a message demanding to know why they weren’t Facebook friends anymore. She makes my family so uncomfortable & they’ve only met a handful of times.

    • Rotten

      Haha, same thing happened to me! I couldn’t delete her off my friends list, but I could, and did, hide just about everything I posted, including photos. She never knew.

    • Justme

      I got the same response from my husband’s aunt when I blocked her on FB but I never responded and just went on with my life.

    • Justme

      With my wedding photograph package, each of the mothers got a professional album with the pictures of their choosing. There are practically no pictures of me in the album.

  • StealthGent

    I’m thinking home-made liqueur tied with iridescent rainbow ribbon, and maybe some glitter on those bottles. I’m usually a reserved guy, but I’m going to passive-aggressively camp it up.

    Because I might still be crabby about you saying there was a place for my husband back home for “when we divorce”, “because she’s gone crazy”" over the whole trans thing.

    Also, call me “Auntie Jane/rose/girly old name” to my nephew and you will lose an eye.

  • Jessica

    #5 is my favorite. & by #5 I mean the first one.

    • Maria Guido

      Gah! The last one was supposed to be a bonus. Sometimes counting is so, so hard. haha

  • JKVC12

    do one for gifts for your own mother, please!

  • NotTakenNotAvailable

    I once had a rather acrimonious break-up with a guy who was, to put it in the nicest manner possible, a recalcitrant cockbite. He’d lent me a book that I had no interest in reading but had to return to him somehow. Rather than fight DC traffic to return it in person, I sent it back, and since I figured I’d be paying for shipping anyway, I decided to throw in a little bonus gift to commemorate our time together. So for those who do stay with their SOs long enough to acquire honest-to-goodness MILs, and those MILs don’t take the hint after receiving # 2 on this list, maybe my idea will come in handy for someone else next Winter Holiday Blowout Extravaganza.

  • mrs fitz jr

    I bought my in laws alcohol in chocolate (Anthony berg 64 count.) They might not like me, but they’ll be too drunk to notice ;) and my husband told his mom because we shipped it to them so right now she does like me lol