No matter what the generalizing TV soaps tell you, the relationship you share with your mother-in-law can be hassle-free and beautiful. There is no denying the fact that our relationship with mothers-in- law are labelled ‘fragile – handle with care’. Studies show that the inherent reason for such behavior is that we don’t see them as our own mothers but just as our husband’s mother.
The main problem with this relationship is the feeling of inferiority it causes on both sides. The mother-in- law wants to smother her son with love even after marrying him to a woman she considered a perfect choice for him. The daughter-in- law envies the relationship between the mother and the son and wants to replace it with herself. Like all relationships, this is one relationship that gets better, the more we work on it.
When she says something that upsets you, don’t just stay silent. Say something in your defense but do not make it sound contradictory or offensive. It is possible to have a normal conversation and tell her what you like or don’t like without it turning into a war.
ASK HER ADVICE
All said and done, she gave birth to the man you married and made him what he is. She knows him best. So whenever possible, ask her for advice. It need not be anything huge but something as little as what you plan on making for dinner that night. That way, she will feel involved and you will not have let her take over. It is a win-win situation.
If you do not live with her, make it a point to visit her every once in a while. If she turns up unannounced at your doorstep or calls you too often, it is a sign that she is feeling lonely. Just pop in one evening for coffee from work and have a casual conversation about your day and hers. If visiting is a big problem, at least call her. It will give her less space to complain that you are not in touch.
Most women work these days and so, maintaining a house and managing office becomes difficult at some point. If your mother-in- law helps around the house by cleaning or cooking, do not take it upon yourselves to critique what she did. Understand that she is trying to help you and be appreciative of that.
Accept that she is a part of your life. If you want to be with your husband, you have to be with her too. Understand that your mother-in- law, at the end of the day, is your husband’s mother and he will love her. Respect all that she has done for him and you will find that you end up respecting her too.
This is a key word in the relationship. It is hard to compromise when you know that you are right and she is wrong, but if you keep in mind all the different sides to in-laws conflicts, it will help you remember that yours is only one perspective!
DO NOT PUT HIM IN THE MIDDLE
Whatever you do, do not put him in between your squabbles. It may feel like a legible solution, but if you criticize her in front of him, you put him in a delicate position of trying to defend either one of you. And that is not a very nice place to be in. Plus, it does not solve your problem. It leaves you back in the very place you started and additionally, creates a rift between you and your husband.