4 Things I Did to Befriend My Mum-in-law Who Knows It All Too Well
These four simple rules can not only strengthen your relationship with your mum-in-law, but also create a bond of friendship between the two of you
Do you feel nervous when your mum-in-law comes over to visit? I sure do.
It’s that time of the year when everything in my world- from my kitchen, cooking, hygiene, toilet, clothes and even my relationship with my husband is under the scanner. And this is no ordinary scanner. It is one that dissects everything well enough to lower my confidence and doubt my own decisions.
It’s just like sitting for an entrance examination you very well know you will never crack!
But after all these years of handling this entrance exam, I finally cracked the code two months back when my MIL came visiting. I followed four of these self-made rules that worked wonders for me and we ended up being two happy people.
#1 Let her feel in control
Your mother-in-law was the only woman of influence in your husband’s life before you came into the picture. And, she now feels that she has lost all that influence, and therefore, may do whatever in her power to regain that ‘power.’ This also means that she might try to look for faults in you or compare you to others, just to get you down. But, there is only one solution to this problem.
Let her feel in control.
Yes, you read it right. Let her cook if she wants to, let her do the things she wants to till she is with you. You can also seek her advice on certain matters. The idea here is to involve her as much possible in your life but also to maintain enough distance so she does not overpower you. If you make her feel she is valued, she will return that respect and you might end up being close friends.
#2 Be a buffalo in the rain
You and your husband decided to marry each other not because you are a good cook or he can fetch groceries at lightning speed! But because both of you found in each other what you wanted from a partner. So there is no need for you to prove yourself to anybody else. Just follow your heart and be who you are, this will set the right example.
If your mum-in-law does not like the way you cook or feels your kitchen shelves need re-arranging because they are not ‘organised enough,’ don’t react. Just tell her politely that it’s you and your husband’s preference. If you have a kid, add him too! Try to not get offended because that is probably the expected reaction since you are being cornered. But maintain your cool at all times and come out victorious!
#3 Draw healthy boundaries
Many parents are guilty of overstepping boundaries. But it is probably because we have let them on to believe that it is okay to do to so. And, while it is not acceptable to be rude, you can be polite yet firm about your decision to a certain activity a certain way.
After all, it is your home and you know what’s best here. You can take suggestions from your mum-in-law, but eventually, decide on what works on your own. Remember that even if she visits for some time, it’s best to be cordial and friendly and give her the respect she deserves, but know where to stop taking advice and draw the line.
#4 Ask your partner to contribute
While you and your mum-in-law are caught up in this bittersweet battle, your husband is probably enjoying all the attention without having to lift a finger. Men can be super smart. So while you are pronounced the ‘bad guy,’ don’t let your husband get away with this behaviour.
Talk to him beforehand and ask him to support you. Your mum-in-law needs to see that you and your husband are a strong team and one that cannot be separated from each other over petty issues. A great way to maintain a healthy relationship with your mum-in-law is to involve your husband in buying her a gift and keeping in touch even after she leaves. It is his mum, after all, so you shouldn’t be burdened with having to do all the work!