You know those really lucky SmartMoms? The ones who end up with a mother-in-law who is basically their best friend? Who supports them through the rigours of bringing up babies without judgment or question? Who assists as opposed to controls and never questions their decisions or doubts their reasoning? No, us neither. For many SmartMoms, the mother-in-law is a creature to be feared and avoided. A woman with a controlling nature who scorns your every decision and treats your parenting skills with derision. And many of us wonder how to deal with a controlling mother in law, but there are many ways. Here are a few ideas….
It’s important to remember that your partner and their mother have a rich history and important connection with each other. You must remember to respect and accept that. Try hard not to be too critical or defensive or you risk alienating your partner as well as your in-law.
Roll out the red carpet. Make a fuss over her and make sure she knows that she is welcome. If she can sense your hostility it will only drive her behavior to become more controlling and unreasonable.
Don’t underestimate how valuable your mother-in-law’s helpful offerings could actually be. Reserve judgement until you are swimming in baby sick and getting by on 3 hours sleep a night. As controlling as she might be, she could also be a helpful ally.
Talk to your partner and try and make them see and understand how you are feeling and how stressful you find their mothers controlling ways to be. Perhaps they could act as an in-between and speak to her themselves. It’s important that your partner shows a united front with you in front of your mother-in-law. Especially if she is being difficult. Ask them to intervene if you find it too uncomfortable.
Try not to make it about you. Remember that your partner will be put in a difficult situation as they still have a level of loyalty towards their parent. Remember that they have to honor that and are trying to do their best for everyone. Don’t let difficult relations with in-laws seep into your relationship with your partner.
Seek advice from your mother-in-law but don’t hand over the reins. Make her feel useful by asking her opinion on matters from parenting to housework. But don’t compromise your integrity. Always remember that you are the one in charge of your home and your children.
Try and get to know her better. If you have made initial judgements about her based on her controlling ways then maybe you should try and see past that and give her a chance. Perhaps it would be beneficial to spend some time with her on your own. Maybe go for a coffee or on a spa day if you’re feeling brave. You might discover she’s not actually as bad as you thought…
Always express your feelings and let your mother-in-law know when she is overstepping her boundaries. There is no need to be rude or disrespectful but it’s important that she knows when she has upset you otherwise how will she know that she needs to change her behavior?
Give it some distance. If she is coming to stay then suggest she might be more comfortable in a guest house or B&B. Do the same if you are meant to be staying with her. Remember that if you are not living in each others pockets then you are much less likely to get stressed out and snap at your mother-in-law unnecessarily.
So there we have it. A few SmartMom tips to keep you sane during family time. And if all these fails then we suggest you still get yourself on that spa day. Only this time you go alone.
Ranting- my MIL is over stepping her boundaries about how to raise my child and how I’m suppose to deal with her son living together, when I have been married and living with him for about two years now!
I need a nice way to tell my MIL and FIL that it’s not ok for them to discipline my son. I can understand if I’m not around that they correct what he has done but to do that when I’m right there is not okay! How do I say it nicely?
My MIL has really been getting on my nerves lately! She makes me feel like I’m not able to be mom to my baby because every time my LO starts to fuss or cry she wants to take her from me and comfort her. Any other moms experience your MIL really getting under your skin at times? How did you confront her or deal with the whole situation?