A Bride’s Guide to Handling a Difficult Mother-in-Law

The dream has come true. You’ve married your prince charming and you are on the road to happily ever after.

Now the realty sets in. You have also married into his entire family.

Mothers-in-law are often a problem for new brides because sometimes moms can feel like they have been replaced in the lives of their sons. Other times mothers-in-law can forget that their sons are grown men with lives and responsibilities of their own.

There are a few simple steps you can take to create a good relationship with your mother-in-law and keep the peace in your relationship too.

1) Put him in charge of his mom. If at all possible, you need to take a backseat in the relationship between your marriage and your husband’s parents. His family should ideally be his responsibility. This means that he will be one to set boundaries, address issues and seek changes. Your mother-in-law is much more likely to accept boundaries from her own son than she is from you, and having him handle her takes the pressure off you. Of course you and he will want to discuss any issues that arise between the two of you and your in-laws and you will want to agree on the appropriate action to take.

2) Choose your battles. Before you flip out when your mother-in-law makes a decision, take some time to calm down and think about the situation. You will discover that often the battle just isn’t worth fighting. There are going to be a few issues that are important to you, so save your conflict for those. If you start a fight over every little issue, you are going to come off looking like a spoiled brat and no one is going to take you seriously when it matters.

3) Remember that you love her son. No matter how difficult your relationship with your mother-in-law might be, you do have common ground. You both love the same man. Even if you don’t believe your mother-in-law treats your husband right, it is still very likely that it hurts him when you have conflict with her. Remember that when you keep peace with your mother-in-law, you are doing something nice for the man you love.

4) Create boundaries. If you need to set some rules for your mother-in-law, go ahead and do it. Be sure to think it through carefully with your husband first, and have him set the limits with his mom if at all possible. Some possible boundaries you might have to set are that she is expected to call you before she visits or that she should not open mail addressed to him that arrives at her house. There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and letting your mother-in-law know what behaviors are unacceptable to you.

5) Think ahead. Your mother-in-law is probably going to be part of your life for a long time. If you are planning to have children, she is going to be a grandmother to them. Even if you do not have a relationship with your mother-in-law, it is your responsibility to encourage and support a relationship between your son and his mom and between your kids and their grandmother. Always keep in mind that there are other people involved in this relationship, and that the best thing for them may not always be the easiest choice for you.

 These five tips should get you started on a good relationship with your mother-in-law even if she can be difficult. The most important part of a good relationship with your in-laws is that you and your husband are on the same page. If you and he cannot communicate and agree on how to handle the situation, it can devastate your marriage.

 Try to open your heart to your mother-in-law and look for the good, even if you have to dig a little to find it. It’s possible that after some time, you could come to love her.