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Have a Meddling Mother-in-Law?

July 11th, 2017
Lisa L.
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Have a Meddling Mother-in-Law?
When you get together with friends, and someone complains about her mother-in-law, chances are there will be other negative opinions in the group.

Does the image of an interfering mother-in-law seem to be the norm?

Does it have to be that way?

Here are some common complaints and what you can do to promote peace with Mum:
"She clings or lingers."
Your husband’s mother may have grown children now and lots of free time. So, she drops in for an unannounced visit. She could talk for hours, and she doesn’t seem to notice that you are running a busy household. Another common scenario is for Mum to call her son frequently to fix things and keep her company.

The best way to attack this issue is the most direct. Set boundaries as graciously as possible: "We want to spend time with you, but we would like to plan ahead."

If your husband occasionally takes her on brief outings or pops in for scheduled home maintenance, this may reassure her and cause her to demand less of your time.

"She always telling me what to do."
She’s been around and she may have wisdom on everything under the sun. But that doesn’t mean you must heed her advice on every little thing.

Do you know what pushes your buttons? Plan for the encounter before Mum walks in the door. Practice graciously receiving her ideas. Make it clear when you have a different way of doing things, but say it kindly.

If you occasionally seek her advice on issues and follow it appreciatively, it may give you more space when your way isn’t Mum’s way.

"She competes for my husband’s attention."
Wife – Husband – Mother-in-Law: a strange love triangle. He will always be your man, and he will always be her boy. What can you do if you feel left out or compared negatively?

Be proactive. Mention one of her great qualities to your husband and praise her to her face. This quenches competition. It’s more helpful than whining about her faults; complaining about his Mum may only motivate him to defend her.

Attack problems with his Mum when you two are alone. Review the latest disappointing encounter with your mother-in-law. As a team, work out a plan to improve things for the future.

By extending understanding and showing respect to your mother-in-law (without bending to her every whim) she will see your love for her as well as your firm resolve to create an entirely new household.

While writing this, I recalled some of my own mistakes and victories in dealing with my mother-in-law. If you have some helpful advice for us to improve relationships with in-laws, feel free to share a comment below!

Lisa x

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