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Mother In Law



any ideas regarding how to deal with an insecure mother in law? she is very demanding, sweet most times, but tries to subtely tell me what to do, how to act, what to wear. And i ALWAYS get the stare down when i see her.

do i pretend in front of her? and do as i please behind her back? it doesnt seem right to change who i am because she is insecure
Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:31 am

13 Replies


limit your time with her and suck it up....the best you can!

My m-i-l is not demanding but she isn't on my 'favorites' list either!

I just choose what situations I want to be in with her and make the best of it. Keep the conversation nice and light, and everytime she starts about something (clothes, behavior), take the conversation in another direction!

And pick your battles-even though she may be a witch, she is the reason for your partner being on this earth!
Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:40 am

Been there! Oh wait, I still am...

Oh dear, this is like reading about my life! My mother-in-law is very demanding and controlling. I think deep down she thinks that I can't take care of her son so she tells me what she did/does (make extra food for supper to have leftovers for lunch, but I did that already *mega eye roll*).

I've learned I just have to laugh at her and compare her to Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond because otherwise I'd want to claw her eyes out sometimes! When she "subtley" tries to tell me what to do, I tell her either that I already do that (because despite what she thinks I'm not an idiot) or tell her what I do instead. I don't think she's always pleased but that's her insecurities, not mine!

I know exactly how she thinks I should act/dress but I will not change who I am around her and my husband knows that (she is difficult for him to handle too). He doesn't expect me to be HER dream. I'm HIS dream. So I wear what I like and do what I want. She can deal :) A famous princess once said that 3 people in a marriage is a bit crowded. And that's why a mother-in-law does not have a say in these things and belongs on the outside!

Basically, I grin and bare it but I make I also respectfully make it clear that I am not a pushover and her son chose me for a reason. Obviously he thinks I'm awesome and so should she!
Apr 19, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

Just do the 1 up

One thing that I do is make sure that my guy mentions me in positive situations that involve her.

For example, I will suggest he calls his mom and tell her it was on my advice. One thing I know for sure is that if she never hears from her son, she'll automatically assume it's because I am making sure he doesn't.

I also get the whole spiel on "oh you should try this recipe he LOVES when I do it" or the "let me pack these leftovers for you he LOVES when I make this." Or the dreaded laundry and cleaning comparisons... UGH I could go on!!

Have you ever worked in customer service? Take a lesson from that if you have and just smile and make light convo. You don't have to agree or change anything and you definitely aren't being fake--just listening and smiling.

I think we can all relate to the Everybody Loves Raymond. I guess what we can take out of this is that you may not win the battles, but at the end of the day, we all know who is REALLY right!
Apr 19, 2011 @ 12:57 pm
Ali de Bold


Assuming you guys are all talking about minor irritants and not major psychological issues, I think the most important thing you can do is respect your Mother in Law. Even if she is quite different from you (or too much the same), you always have to remember this is the woman that raised the man you love. That alone deserves respect and means you should give her extra allowance when she behaves in a way that annoys you.

Chances are she isn't actively trying to undermine you or upset you, you probably just haven't figured each other out yet.

When Alex and I got together we talked about the different dynamics in each of our families. He would explain what his is like and I'd do the same for mine. It took us both a bit of adjustment to learn how to fit in with each other's families. My Mom is a very sweet, gentle stay at home baking cookies and quilting type whereas Alex's Mother is this exuberant, extroverted career woman. Both quite different, but equal in their love for their families.

Sometimes it takes a little while to realize that even though you aren't used to your M.I.L's style, her intentions are good. No mother wishes for her son to be unhappy in his marriage. I'm sure there are some truly heinous MILs out there who have psychological issues that would are the exception, but that can also be the case for the daughter in law.

If you can, try to be more patient with her and see where she is coming from. Ask your husband how he understands her behaviour and how he thinks you should respond to her. Don't look for problems, try to find a solution. Likely it will be you that needs to make all of the changes for that relationship to work rather than her and you'll need to accept that.

Think about it like this: If you raised a son for 30 years and then his new wife expects you to change how you interact with others, it probably wouldn't go over well.

I know it's not what anyone in this situation wants to hear but I honestly believe the best thing you can do is figure out how to make things work in a positive way rather than allowing everything she does to irk you.

Good luck!
Apr 19, 2011 @ 01:31 pm

Respect and Grace

There is so much good advice being dished out right now and it`s helpful for dealing with any type of difficult person in your life. Respect, a little grace and patience can go a long way.
Apr 19, 2011 @ 01:51 pm

couldnt agree more

@Ali I couldn't agree more. My mom in law and I had a bit a of an awkward start, but she really loves her kids like a momma bear and once I figured out where she was coming from and she genuinely tried to meet me halfway, we got along really well. She's one of my very favorite people in the whole world right now. Like Ali says, it is the very rare mother who does not want the best for her kid, and "the best" usually means a happy stable marriage. Please everybody don't have more suspicion than reasonable for your mother in laws because one day you will probably be one yourself!
Apr 19, 2011 @ 02:38 pm

Here's a story and a half

Ali said earlier that some really do have deep issues. Sometimes it can be hard to tell for sure if that's the case. I will share a bit of a story although there is MUCH more to it.

My husband and I had a long distance relationship and I came to visit him for Reading Week a couple years ago. Half way through the trip, his mom told me to pack my bags. She had my mom rebook my flight and I was to go home the next day and not have contact with my husband (the boyfriend) anymore. We were crushed. She told us our relationship was over (we were 19 and 20 at the time). She cancelled his cell phone and the internet at the house so he couldn't talk to me anymore. It took MONTHS of him fighting with her to finally give me a chance. Literally. Months.

At Christmas time that same year, a friend wanted to give us his air miles so my husband could come visit me. Later, we found out she somehow got a hold of this friend's number and told him, "Don't you dare help them."

The Reading Week after that, his parents told him he had to choose between me or them. If he chose me, there was the door. And they were NOT nice about it. His things were already packed for him. So he moved out and we got married a few months later.

Once we were engaged, I think she realized I was there to stay and she couldn't get between us. Sometimes it seems like she still tries but I do TRY to give her the benefit of the doubt and put all that history and negativity behind us. So hard to do sometimes though. She was a radical mom who home-schooled her kids and was so used to being their world so I understand it was hard when she had to share her son with another woman! Can 2 women really love the same man?
Apr 19, 2011 @ 02:47 pm

shoe on the other foot

Chiming in here, I think we daughters-in-law (especially newlywedded ones) should realize that Mom has known her son much longer than you. There are certain things she'll try to pass along because in her mind it will make her son happy. Sometimes this advice comes across badly and that's a communication problem, but I try when possible to understand the source of the concern.

My hubby really did prefer his mom's cooking to mine for years, so finally I sucked it up and asked his mom to let me in on a few secrets. Now my cuisine includes some of the spice combinations and techniques she uses with my own little twists - and voila! My hubby now prefers my cooking! (not including his most favourite dish which, try as I may, I cannot live up to his mom's dish. It's just that good!)

I was also brought up with a different housekeeping standard than my mom-in-law and though I initially resented the helpful tips on how to iron a dress shirt or simple ways to keep the kitchen a little tidier, I have come to love these lessons and incorporate it into the valuable things my own mother taught me.

Again, I have a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law and I know that this is not always the case. But she and I really worked at it and made a decision to find common ground.

Disclaimer: apologies if I sound smug, it's not intended
Apr 19, 2011 @ 02:49 pm


Wow Anonymous, I did not see your comment until after I posted my own. Clearly your case is an example of serious interference and ill will.

So sorry to hear that you had to deal with that! I hope that your situation improves eventually :)
Apr 19, 2011 @ 02:50 pm


It definitely is an exceptional case! I know not all mother-in-laws are like this. But I post this story for those of us who really do have ones that go overboard. Even when she sent me home, I thanked her for allowing me to come visit. She seemed shocked! When she starts to get in a mood, we choose to just let her run her course until she calms down. Luckily, my husband is aware she can be challenging and it has only brought us closer together. She's still my MIL for a reason.
Apr 19, 2011 @ 02:56 pm

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