You could be Martha Stewart, Dr. Phil, Jamie Oliver and Oprah all in one but you still wouldn’t be able to outshine your dear mother-in-law. Right? Well, here’s the main problem – there is no competition and she is the only one that still hasn’t figured that one out. Yup, building a healthy relationship with “the mom” can be tough and mentally exhausting so I’ve taken the liberty to present you with these 7 survival tactics that are supposed to help you tame her, befriend her and have her eating out the palm of your hand.
1. Don’t Try to out-cook Her
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“She is the best cook on this planet; her apple pie is the most amazing thing you have ever tasted and all your friends want a recipe for that cake she made for your kid’s birthday!” Competing with her would be pointless so why even bother? Tell her that your husband (her dear child) loves baked potatoes but your baked potatoes never taste as good as hers… Now, what do you get from this? Well, you have just solved the “lunch” problem so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy reading this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan while the dear mommy is busy making her famous meal. You’ve just demonstrated how irreplaceable she is and that exactly what she needed to hear!
2. Your Kids Just Looove Their Grandma
Photo Credit: Dave Knight
If you are not living with your “dear” mother-in law (lucky you!), you can always use her as a free nanny and she will love you for letting her be an important part of your children’s life! Pick up the phone, dial her number and use your “sweet voice number 11”. Tell her that her grandkids are going on and on about how she is the best granny in the world and they would really like to spend the whole weekend in her house. Drop them off and tell her she’s doing you a huge favor because you have a million things to do–laundry, de-cluttering the basement, scrubbing the floors… Then pick up some nachos on your way home and spend the whole weekend watching movies and enjoying some “alone time” with your hubby.
3. Invite Her to Go Shopping/cycling/relaxing in a Spa with You
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Your mother-in-law may have forgotten that besides being a wife, a mother and a grandma, she is also a woman! Am I crazy for suggesting this? Definitely not, because it works! Show her that you want to spend time with her and that you enjoy her company (ugh, I know!). She won’t expect that from you so that initial shock will give you just enough time to show your friendly, relaxed side and win her over.
Photo Credit: m4tik
A good friend of mine has three outfits she wears only when she goes to visit her in-laws. Three hours of looking like a nun is nothing compared to the peace of mind she gets in return. Who cares what you choose to wear in your own, private time? When you are visiting her, show her respect by playing by the rules she had made. She should return the favor too.
5. She’s Always Right!
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I’ve never thought I’ll get to quote Busta Rhymes in this context but “…nod your head until you break your freaking neck…” Yup, she just has to be right and, for your sake, it’s better to make her believe she really has a good point. Now that doesn’t mean you have to follow every single silly advice, you just have to give her credits for all those wonderful ideas. Believe me, she’ll be so busy gloating she won’t even notice that you did things your way.
6. Ask, Ask, Ask
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Ask her to give you a recipe for that wonderful whatever, tell her that your flowers look a bit dull and see if she has any gardening tricks to share. Ask her about the stuff she likes and ask her about the stuff she doesn’t like. The only thing that matters is YOU asking HER for advice!
7. Keep Her Updated
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Never, but NEVER give her any reason to think that you are trying to keep her “baby boy” away from his parents. She was the only woman in his life until you showed up and getting used to that fact can be very difficult. So be sure to give her a full report on her dear son every time you call her up to do your “advice seeking routine”.
And remember, once you voluntarily let her in your life, she will back off feeling happy because she finally got what she wanted. Or… will she? What is your experience with this complex phenomenon we all refer to as “Mother-in-law”?
Top Photo Credit: David Clow - Maryland