You must have heard tales of mean mother-in-laws. You have seen long side eyes thrown at parties you have attended. And most probably, you know a marriage that is undergoing problems due to the friction between the wife and husband’s mother.
These complicated relationships have existed for ages. A wife is more often than not bound to feel jealous of this other woman who knows her husband inside out. The food he loves, the jokes he laughs at, the movies he watches and the amazing times they spend together. He is her son after all. This may make the wife feel less loved by the husband and start resenting the mother-in-law. The mother also wants to continue exerting her authority over the son and his house and this rubs the spouse the wrong way.
They will get irritated by the ever flowing advice even when they mean well, and her guards will always be on. Get defensive and confrontational at every little thing. Be oversensitive and ever ready for war. And yes, we have seen wars. But there are no winners in such. These women are supposed to live peacefully for the good of this man they both love. Below are five tips on how to deal with mother-in-law.
1. Try to know and understand her
Not all mother-in-laws are monsters. There exist some sweet and supportive women who will have your back all the time. You should therefore not come into the family expecting the start of World War III. Talk to your mother-in-law at every available moment. Ask for her take on various matters such as balancing work and family. Let her answer your questions using her life experiences and this way you get to understand her. You also get to know why she hates certain practices and behaviors and this will help you stop them and avoid unnecessary friction. Clarify any misunderstandings she might have about you and bring out things that she says/does that you don’t like but in a polite and friendly way.
2. Try to see things from her view
Yes, you think her advice and offers for help are full of criticism. You think she doesn’t trust your ability to take care of your husband and the children. Do not overreact. Assume her intentions are good and then try to think from her side. You might stumble upon a reason why she is doing that and save yourself the stress.
3. Always be polite
She is a mother and deserves respect. Just be quiet when she starts criticizing and humorously deflect the comments. Do not criticize her in front of your spouse. And don’t complain about behaviors of your spouse that you don’t like to her. That’s like questioning her child-raising skills and of course, she will defend her son.
4. Visit her more often
She will just resent you more. Regularly visit her. Get her gifts. And there must be that one thing that she is a god at. Talk about that. Praise her for it. This way, you might have added one more friend by the time your visit is over.
5. Give her space Do not compete with her
Give her uninterrupted time with her son. It does no harm to anyone.
It is the man that both the mother-in-law and the spouse seek to protect and love. However, it is this man who is at the most awkward position when their relationship gets hostile. He cannot take sides. He loves both women equally. The mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law should, therefore, strive to have a friendly relationship. This way, everyone wins.