Do you have mother-in-law problems? I love my mother-in-law. She’s kind, funny, and she’s a wonderful grandmother to my kids. But even in the best daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationships, there can be friction—a mother-in-law who comments on her grandchildren’s sleep schedule or a daughter-in-law who gets defensive when her mother-in-law offers to teach her how to make biscuits her way. So if and when friction arises between you and your mother-in-law, remember that her intentions are probably good, and that she wants to have a strong relationship with you.
Look over these 5 things to help you understand your mother-in-law problems.
1. Once a mom, always a mom.
Do you think you’ll ever stop loving your child or worrying about your child? Me neither! That’s how your mother-in-law feels too. Even though your husband is a grown man, he’s still her child. So when she asks about his latest doctor visit, or wonders aloud if he’s getting enough sleep, don’t take it personally. She’s a mom, just like you. She’s asking because she cares, not because she’s being nosy. Realizing this alone could go a long way to resolving your mother-in-law problems.
2. It’s hard not to give advice.
Believe it or not, your mother-in-law likely has some really great insights into parenting, running a home, and lots of other areas too. So when she sees you doing something differently than her, or when she sees a legitimate need she could help you meet, it’s very hard for her to keep quiet. And, sure, your way of doing things may not be hers, but what’s the harm in hearing her out? And even if she gives advice unsolicited, practice your patience and kindness skills by listening and not getting defensive.
3. She wants to be a part of your life.
I don’t think we will really understand what it feels like to be a grandmother until we become one–kind of like not really knowing what it feels like to be a mom until you become one. Just imagine how much your mother-in-law loves your children and your husband (and you too!), and realize that she has a longing to be a part of your life. So include her when you can. Have her over regularly. If she lives far away, email her or call her often. Invite her to big events in your children’s lives. Also, check out our 5 Things Not Worth Fighting About in Marriage (in-laws are on the list!)
4. She might be lonely.
Pause for a moment and picture yourself in an empty nest. It’s quiet, isn’t it? And while that peace might be very welcome right now when you’re surrounded by rambunctious kids, one day you will miss the hum of family life. Your mother-in-law needs loving interaction as much as the next person. Help her fill that void.
5. She can be a big help.
Most mothers-in-law want to help but don’t always feel welcome enough by their daughters-in-law. So turn to her for help in driving the kids around. Ask her for advice about how she raised your husband. Let her teach the kids how to make her famous pound cake. Even if you don’t see eye to eye, she’s lived more than you, she has more life experience, and she can help you in your role as a mom.
Most mothers-in-law want to help but don’t always feel welcome enough by their daughters-in-law.
So today reach out to your mother-in-law with a new perspective. And if you don’t have mother-in-law problems, call her to thank her for being the great mother-in-law she is!
By the way, we’d love to hear your best advice for having a positive relationship with your mother-in-law?