Everyone knows the saying ‘you don’t just marry your husband/wife, you also marry their family’ and it’s such a true statement. There are countless experiences where your spouse just doesn’t get along with your mother-in-law, whether she feels your spouse is not good enough, or she just doesn’t want to let you go based on maternal instincts, we need to somehow get you and your mother-in-law on the same track. That track leads to happiness and a peaceful family.
Let’s figure out why some mothers-in-law can be challenging to deal with. MIL’s are like your own mothers, constantly nagging and telling you what you can and can’t do, however, they’re not your mother so you can’t tell them they’re annoying you. They probably don’t understand you as much as your own mum would either. So there’s that. The challenge between you and your MIL can be identified as a soccer match where your spouse is the ball and each team feels the ball is rightfully theirs.
So how can we turn those struggles and nit pickings into something less stressful and straining on your relationship? The one that counts the most. Here are some expert tips on how to handle a difficult MIL!
When you feel aggravated, don’t be afraid to talk about it
This definitely goes without saying, don’t be afraid to ever stand up for yourself! No matter who it is. We, as experts, understand there are people who just don’t like confrontations which are okay, however, when it comes to feeling intimidated and aggravated, remember that there’s always a solution – standing up for yourself. When it comes to your MIL, it’s all about managing challenges with respect. For example, if your MIL has said something insulting about you or the way you have done something, instead of going to your spouse and complaining, face it head-on. Address the situation with your MIL and talk to her as though you are talking to a friend. If things get heated and hostile, remove yourself from the conversation and talk to her again when you are both ready. If these situations simply don’t get resolved this way, then it’s best to just remain neutral instead of trying to be best friends.
As we get older, it’s easier for us to feel impatient – we want things done now or never. This would probably be the case with your MIL who is at a mature age. Some MIL will rush you or ask you to do something, expecting you to do it exactly as they did. Sometimes it’s best to just be a little bit more patient than you normally would be. We suggest taking a few deep breaths before flying into a fury of rage and remember that this is important to you.
Set boundaries and stick to them
It’s important that with every relationship you make, you should set certain boundaries. Boundaries allow you to identify what’s okay, and what has crossed the line. For example, your MIL decides to give you parenting advice from their time which definitely doesn’t apply to your own kids. This can cause conflict and built up resentment which is extremely unhealthy. Instead, you and your spouse should stand as a united front and set boundaries for your in-laws – make them understand where you are coming from and make sure you stick to these boundaries, not allowing them to break in the future.
Appreciate their advice even though it doesn’t apply anymore
It’s always nice to feel appreciated and sometimes, it’s all your MIL wants. If she offers you advice that has nothing to do with anything, simply take it and say ‘thank you’. All they want is to feel like someone is listening to them and that you are thankful for their presence, as they may feel lonely or helpless with age. In return, they may appreciate you for who you are and begin to approach you in a respectful manner. This is where you see great progress being made to keep going and learn from all our tips above!