6 Ways You Can Set Boundaries for Your Mother-in-Law
Many families experience a bad relationship with their in-laws and mostly with their mother-in-law. And when something like this happens, the relationship between the grandparents and their grandchildren suffers a lot. The reason that most of the time in-laws don’t create a nice relationship with their son’s wife is a lack of acceptance. They have trouble welcoming this new member into their family and that’s why they create a somewhat hostile environment.
Bright Side is optimistic that most relationships can work if both sides are communicating openly and respecting each other’s feelings.
1. Communicate your feelings early on.
When a child comes, it’s only natural that your mother-in-law will want to visit your home more often. However, this might not be ideal for you and you will have to talk to her about your feelings. It might be best if your partner starts the conversation and you explain to her why she can’t visit every single day or whenever she pleases. You can also let her know that your behavior can be a bit aggressive when you are tired, so she shouldn’t judge you for it.
2. Include your partner in everything relating to the house and child.
It is true that men don’t always spend time on household matters and are not prepared very well when a child arrives. In many of these cases, they will probably receive suggestions from their mothers and transfer them to their wives. However, what their mother says might be completely different from what their wife has in mind.
In order to avoid a clash of ideas, it’s best if both partners know exactly what they are doing regarding the house and their kid. This way it’s easier to set joint boundaries for their in-laws without creating any misunderstandings and hard feelings.
3. Don’t start a competition with her.
Mothers think they know and love their children more than anyone in the world. That’s why they often antagonize their son’s wife in many different areas of their lives. However, you should be careful not to fall into that trap and start a competition with your mother-in-law. Instead, you should address the issue when it makes its presence and let her know in a calm manner that you are not trying to keep her away from her son.
It would be even better if you encourage your husband to start spending more quality time with his parents alone. That will make his mother feel more secure that their relationship isn’t fading away.
4. Make a weekly visit or call schedule.
If your mother-in-law wants to visit your home every day or at random times, you should have a conversation with your partner. You should both agree on a schedule and let your in-laws know about it. It could be a visit with the child to their home every Sunday or a couple of video calls during the week. Whatever you decide, you should tell them nicely and expect them to follow it.
5. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
If a schedule hasn’t been set, it’s possible that your mother-in-law calls you whenever she wants, asking you if she can come over. And in an effort to please her and not make a bad impression, you say “yes” even though it’s the last thing you want to do. However, you should know that it’s okay to say “no” to her, explain the reason, and maybe provide her with a different day and time for a visit. It’s understandable that she has a need to see her grandchild, but you also need to be alone and enjoy your peace.
6. If nothing works, maybe you should go to family therapy.
If nothing from the above has worked and your mother-in-law is still barging into your life whenever she wants, you should consider group therapy. You can also let your partner lift that weight. They know better than anyone how to talk to their mother and their word will be respected easier than yours. Finally, if that step doesn’t work either, you might have to take a break from interacting with the in-laws for a while.
Do you have a mother in law and how is your relationship with her? Does she respect your wishes or does she do whatever she wants?