Almost every comedy sitcom has them, at least 90% of our friends and coworkers are constantly complaining about them, and chances are you acquired your very own the day you married your man. Yes, I’m talking about meddling mother-in-laws. Perhaps one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and certainly one of the most frustrating, mother-in-laws often end up putting an incredible strain on our marriages. But, since there is little we can do to make them disappear, here is a list of 8 ways to handle a meddling mother-in-law. And no, murder is not one of them!
While you cannot expect your husband to immediately pick up the phone and set his mother straight, he needs to know how she makes you feel. Without making him feel like he is stuck in the middle, ask him what he thinks the best thing would be for you to do. Perhaps he could mention to his mother that he does, in fact, like your cooking and that your hair is great just the way it is. She has to hear it directly from her son—that’s the only way she will understand.
While you may secretly wish that a house would fall on her, you also know deep down that your mother-in-law really does have her son’s best interest at heart. Instead of simply placing blame all the time, make an effort to understand why she does the things she does. Take some time to consider whether you may be partially to blame for some of her actions. Maybe slight adjustments on your part can make for a better relationship. More than likely she has no intentions of changing her ways, but if you can make little changes she will have that much less to complain about.
Obviously getting your mother-in-law to hear what you have to say is not and easy task, but it may be all that it takes to make a friend out of your supposed worst enemy. The man you married is her little boy and always will be. Sit down and talk to her and help her to see that you love him just as much as she does but that love for your partner is completely different than love for a child. She might think that you do not adequately love her son because you show your love differently than she does—if you can make her see this, your life will be a whole lot easier.
If you really think about it, the thing that most likely causes mothers-in-law to act the way they do is the fact that they feel like they are being replaced. The way you feel when she shows up for a weekend and takes over your house is how she feels everyday. For years she has prided herself on taking care of her son and now some other woman has taken her place—it’s a lot to deal with. Invite her to family gatherings, backyard barbecues, and even just for dinner. Making sure she knows she is still a part of your family and that her son and daughter-in-law want her around is all some mothers-in-law really want.
Let her know that she is still needed and important. Ask her to help with specific things at dinner, for example—like making her famous potatoes or baking her award winning pie. Or ask for her help when you are planning a party or event; you may not ask because you don’t want her to be inconvenienced, but she truly does want to feel needed and appreciated. Even things as simple as asking for her advice (even though it may be the last thing you want) will let her know that you value her opinion. Ask questions about your husband as a child, let her tell you stories, and tell her she should be proud of her son. All of these little things let her know how important she really is.
While she may not listen to a single other thing you have to say, she will definitely listen to and appreciate anything you have to say about her son. This is especially true if you relate his amazing personality back to her amazing mothering skills. Talk about what a great father he is, how talented he is; anything. As long as you are going on and on about him, she won’t have time to talk about you!
Though she may see right through your little façade, no blame can be placed on you if you are bending over backwards to be as nice as possible. Even if you are hating every single second of it, make every effort to make her comfortable, get things for her, and listen to everything she has to say. For every rude remark or sarcastic comment, offer a compliment in return. Do not let her get to you and soon she may just stop altogether. The point of her rudeness is to get a rise out of you and prove that she is the victim and you are the perpetrator—if she’s no longer able to do that, her game has little value.
If you’ve tried it all and nothing is making a dent in her solid steel personality, then it’s probably time to throw in the towel. Just accept that she’s not going to change, she’s going to say what she wants, and your partner is going to be absolutely no help. When she starts talking, just plaster on a perma-grin and take it like a champ. Don’t let yourself get worked up and don’t take anything she says to heart. At a certain point you are doing more harm than good by trying to change her and the frustration just isn’t worth it.
Use these 8 ways to handle a meddling mother-in-law and you should be able to ward off at least some of her attacks! Just keep telling yourself it will all be over soon—at least until the next surprise visit. What kind of relationship do you have with your mother-in-law?
Top image source: womanka.ru
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