Help! I'm Fighting An In-Law Battle On My Own!

6 years ago

Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here to help, three times a week. Today, the Housewives answer an exclusive BlogHerMoms question! Email your issues to stacy.morrison at

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My in-laws are coming to visit in 10 days and I'm dreading it. They don't respect me as wife and mother of this house. They tell me what to do and discipline my children right in front of me. I'll cook and they'll say they don't like what I make. My husband says to "just ignore them" and won't take a stand. His explanation is that they're old and crotchety. Last time they came I left my house for 8 hours I was so furious. What should I do? Help!




Dear Cinderelly Cinderelly,


When you left the house for 8 hours the last time they came for a visit, why exactly did you go back? Was it to save the children? Because this sounds like more of an “every woman/man for themselves” kind of situation. So, quick, run! Run, Cinderelly, run!! Don’t look back! I’m sure you could get to Miami Beach or Malibu in 10 days! And do not make the same mistake I did and leave a phone number and address where you can be reached, that just begs for trouble…and phone calls.

Should you decide to stay, I suggest a serious sit down with your husband before his parents arrive. They may be old but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to be respectful to their son’s wife and their grandchildren’s mother. But this same respect must also come from your husband. He needs to take a stand in your defense when they criticize you, your parenting, or your cooking. In any marriage there may be some friction present between the spouse and the in-laws, but even if they don’t like you as a person, they should be respectful of your position in their family, not to mention as hostess to their needs when they visit.

If your husband still doesn’t get the message try a different approach. For instance, I find getting a brochure from a fancy hotel and circling the most expensive spa treatments and room service options makes great leverage. If your husband is anything like mine he’ll do anything to keep from seeing those charges on the credit card! Not to mention the intense “quality” time he gets to spend with the kids. You can also leave the cooking to your husband or his family. There’s nothing like having to scrounge for your own food or devour a meal made by someone less talented (my father used to make grilled cheese sandwiches with maple syrup on top) to make people appreciate what they have lost.

If you decide on the running approach please send us a postcard!

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

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