How to deal with a meddling mother-in-law during the holidays
Peace and goodwill is the spirit of Christmas, even when it comes to dealing with a meddling mother-in-law.
As Christmas approaches, our days start to fill up with endless parties and reunions to attend. A meddling mother-in-law is usually not the most ideal person to encounter during this.
The holidays are indeed a great time to rekindle relationships, and be thankful for the gifts the past year has given us. But although we look forward to spending time with friends and loved ones, celebrating Christmas can feel like a chore when it involves having to spend time with those we don't see eye-to-eye with. Take, for instance, a meddling mother-in-law.
Do you have a meddling mother-in-law?
You may see your mother-in-law only a handful of times a year, but each time you are filled with anxiety and worry. It may seem like every interaction you have with her is an ordeal.
If you're reading this then it's likely that you or someone you care about has had to deal with this common struggle.
Remember, no matter how exhausting it can be to forge a meaningful bond with them, meddling mothers-in-law will always be family. So it makes sense to keep striving to get on their good side. Or at the very least, you can try to get to a place where you are civil with each other.
During the holidays, it's important to keep your cool when dealing with a meddling mother-in-law. Here are helpful tips to remember!
Respect her motivations
Getting to know your mother-in-law is one great step to understanding why she reacts or responds a certain way. You can better grasp her perspective on issues if you make an effort to step into her shoes.
Whether your MIL is a "backseat parent" or "you're not good enough for my son" type of in-law, assuming her point-of-view or simply acknowledging where she is coming from is one way to start understanding her.
Recognise that she is from a different generation. The previous generation might have their own traditions and subsequent expectations. These can come in direct conflict with the traditions you are used to, or those that you want to establish for your children.
Be secure in your own identity
Know who you are and where you stand in your husband's life. Reassure yourself that you always strive to do what is best for your family, even if it's not always apparent to your meddling mother-in-law.
She might never acknowledge your efforts, but if you are confident and treat her with respect, chances are she will come around.
During the holidays, strive to make her feel included, but be firm when it comes to what you want Christmas to be like for your kids.
Though setting boundaries is important, when it comes to celebrating the holidays, a little compromise may make things easier for everyone.
For example, don't insist on using your recipe if your MIL favors her own. It can be as simple as that.
Phrase everything with love
You do not have to be chipper 24/7, but you should at least make it a habit to be cordial. Respect is key, even in disagreements. Avoid sarcastic comments or eye-rolling, even if it can be super tempting sometimes!
Make sure that you phrase statements in respectful, polite ways that make your MIL still feel valued.
Don't take everything personally
Expecting unkind comments about every little thing can make you defensive and overly sensitive.
Give her the benefit of the doubt. Don't overanalyse every little comment or take offence at every suggestion, thinking it is unjust criticism. This negativity will set the tone for everyone else at your holiday celebration.
Lastly, put on a genuine smile and do your best to make the holidays pleasant for all.
Even though you may never be the best of friends with your mother-in-law, at least the coming holidays can be an opportunity for you take even small steps to respect one another more.