Befriending your mother-in-law, is no piece of cake especially if she loves finding faults in you and telling the whole world about it. Sure, they can be considerate and supportive but they can also be insecure and thus, vindictive. The latter can make your life a living hell but you still have to try to get along with your mother-in-law even if it is for the sake of your family. It’s not going to be easy but here are some suggestions that might help:
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1. Try to not react
Mother-in-laws have a tendency to find a fault with everything that you do irrespective of how much effort you’ve put into doing it and how flawless the outcome is. Whenever you feel she is being very pushy and is trying to boss you around, drink a glass of water and calm yourself down. Don’t let her affect your self-confidence and prestige.
2. Put yourself in her shoes at times
Every once in a while, when you feel you and cannot take anymore heat from her on not being able to keep the house tidy, the children under control and cook healthy food, just put yourself in her shoes. Think how you’d behave in front of your son’s wife who gets to spend everyday with the man you gave birth to whereas you only come on occasions and even then, he is putting his wife’s happiness before his mother. Try to see through the thick surface and you’ll find insecurity and want of attention behind all the anger she shows.
3. Try to look on the bright side
If you decide to fill up yourself with negative thoughts, it is going to reflect in your words, actions and behavior instead of helping you to create a loving bond with her. Treat her with love and respect for the love she showers on your husband and children. If you can do that, it won’t take long for you to be on that list as well.
4. Avoid sarcasm
Even if you notice her responding to everything you say with sarcasm, avoid retorting the same way. It’s not going to do you any good apart from spoiling your relationship with her further. Try to be the bigger person and ignore such remarks.
5. Make her feel that she belongs
One of the biggest reasons for her rudeness is the insecurity she feels in your presence. Treat her just as you would treat a member of the family and give her the same importance and respect. Even though she has come to your house, make her feel comfortable, loved and wanted. Treat her with tender love and care. Initially, she might think that you are trying to fake it but once she realizes how you genuinely want to get along with her, she’ll also give in.
Once you are in a comfort zone with your mother-in-law; encourage her to talk to you about her feelings regarding you so that any ill will can be done away with. Listen to her when she talks and apologize for any situation where you hurt her without realizing it. If possible, tell her about your feelings as well and try to create a two-way communication. From then on, be a little cautious when it comes to her feelings.
7. Treat her with respect
Give her respect, even if you think she doesn’t deserve it because had it not been for her, you wouldn’t have met your wonderful husband. Irrespective of what she does, if you treat her with reverence, she is sure to respond in the same way eventually.
8. Appreciate her
If she does anything kind for anyone in your family, thank her wholeheartedly. Think of her as a small child who is afraid that things will change and her position will be questioned since you have joined the family. By appreciating her, you will make her realize that you are not her competition but a friend and she will start valuing you as well.
9. Buy her presents
Buy her small gifts before you go to meet her. Gifts suggest that you thought of her and wanted to make her happy. If your mother-in-law is always talking about how she doesn’t get to spend time with her son anymore, ask your husband to make her coupon booklet for mother’s day just as he might have as a child. He can write things like, “This coupon is valid for a lunch with your son.” Not only will this make the gift more personalized but it will also allow her to see her importance in her son’s life and yours.
10. Plan quality time with her
Suggest spending some quality time with her so that both of you get to know each other better. You can go shopping together, sit at home and bake or do anything she wants to. Remember, it’s about her and not you.