What to, and not to give your mother in law for her birthday
Mothers in law
For some reason there are lots of relationships between girlfriends and their mother in law that are bittersweet. I would suggest that it has to do with a mother having harder to let go of their sons than their daughters.
In general, (note that there absolutely can be exceptions), daughters grow up faster then sons. A girl is supposed to know how to do laundry, cook, and everything else that is needed to take care of yourself and your home. Boys on the other hand, at least many of those I know, are being spoiled by their mothers often even after they moved out. The laundry, dinners, and all those things that a boy can ask their mother for without shame (like a girl would).
Is it really strange that it is hard to be accepted and liked by your mother in law? You come into this boy's life, able to take care of him and do all those things for him that his mother used to do. Of course he can do the himself as well. I think that every woman reading this has at least once experienced the effects of a mother in law who is no longer needed.
The birthday gift
To please your mother in law is not easy, since you are already on the wrong team. Giving anyone a good birthday gift can take a lot of work. Giving it to her can be a pain.
- Something she likes. Makes perfect sense? Go for something safe that you know she likes can't go wrong, okay it can, but she can't blame you for trying, right?
- Something she wouldn't spend her own money on. Like a massage, or new clothes. You probably know what she wouldn't give herself.
- Thoughtful things. If you can give a good explanation to why you give it, then it is a good gift. Your effort should be more worth than the gift itself.
- Diet-related gifts. This should not need any explaining. Nobody want to have these things rubbed in their faces. Just skip this no matter how thoughtful you think you are.
- Exercising products. Same reasons as above, don't even think of it!
- Impersonal things. If you as me, it's better to give nothing than something that feels impersonal. A bottle of wine or a nice flower that she likes are way better if you are not finding anything else.
Good to remember
You should consider that she can be expecting a gift even if, (and most certain if), she says she doesn't want anything at all. Most people use that excuse to not seem greedy. Some also use it if they don't come up with something to wish for.
There might be an issue with the value of your gift as well. Find out how they do things in the family, and if it's expected to give gifts with somewhat equal value. This matter could be fatal for your future relationship if it is important to her.
What is most important
Above you have a few tips of how to maintain a good relationship with your mother in law around her birthday. Of course there will be Christmas, or other holidays, and many days to come when you can screw up and make her dislike you.
I hope that you don't have a mother in law this hard to please, but if you do, my best advice is this. Give up trying to become her favorite. Let her play games if she wants to, there is no need for you to engage in this. Best thing to do is to just don't give a damn about what she, and others, think about you. That will go a long way my friend.