One of the biggest challenges of married life is to get along well with your in laws. Though this goes for both partners in a marriage, it is the woman who is affected the most.
According to research around 60 per cent of all marriages suffer from tension with mothers-in-law that is normally between the woman and her husband’s mother. The nagging, meddling mother-in-law is often the cause of worry and the central idea that can help better the situation is to have a positive attitude and to show respect to the older woman.
1. Positive attitude
Just like being a daughter-in-law is new to you taking up the role of a mother-in-law is new to her too. Always try and convey a positive attitude towards her. The older woman is probably just trying her best to fit into her role as a mom-in-law.
Try to treat your mother-in-law and your mother equally. For example if you give your mother a birthday gift, then give your mother-in-law a gift for her birthday too. If you have children, then visit your mother and your mother-in-law with similar frequency.
The fact that the lady has spent a significant part of her life raising her son may make her a little sensitive when another person becomes the centre of attraction of her son’s life.
Though most mothers do not consider her daughter-in-law competition, there are some mothers who do. The ones whose life revolved around their child for a long time because they are a single parent or had only one child are the ones who are most likely to behave in this way. If, for example, your mother-in-law mentions how much her son always liked her home cooking, do not try to compete by asserting how much he likes your cooking now. This would invariably hurt her.
Treat your mother-in-law with respect. Consider her older and wiser. She may have been through a lot of hardships in her life. In fact, talk to her and ask her about her childhood, growing up, raising kids, and life experiences. When she shares her life with you she will develop a liking for you and that can lead to a strong bond between the two of you.
Getting to know the family you have married into may take time. Though most daughters-in-law are welcomed into the family with open arms, do not get disheartened if it does not happen. Give them time to know you better.
6. Be attentive
When your mother-in-law is at home be attentive towards her. Sit and chat, show her around town, and if she wants to help you prepare meals, then let her. You two can get to know each other better and bond. If she prefers to sit around being waited on hand and foot, then enlist your husband to help prepare meals and clean up.
Try to keep mother-in-law informed; call and let her know about important events. Keep her in the loop. If you have children, send pictures to your mother-in-law. Grandmothers love getting pictures of their grandchildren.
Your mother-in-law has years of experience. Don’t hesitate to take her advice. You may disagree with her and decide to not follow any of her suggestions, but be open to different ideas, at least listen, show respect, and do not take any advice as a personal attack. She is only trying to be helpful.
Allow your mother-in-law to take care of your children. For them their grandchildren are more important than their own kids sometimes. If she wants to, let her spoil them a little, i.e. she lets them stay slightly past their bedtime or gives them some more chocolate than you would want to.
Try and talk out things with the family. If something that someone said hurt you, do not keep it bottled up inside you. Discuss with your husband and your mother-in-law any slights or snubs and how it makes you feel.