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How to tame your mother-in-law

You can choose the guy you fall in love with, but you can’t choose his parents. So what happens when his mother turns out to be a complete monster? Learn what to do to tame your mother-in-law before she becomes a source of conflict in your relationship.

Woman dealing with mother-in-law


Remember she is still his mother

You may have married her son, but she’s raised him for 20 or 30 odd years (maybe even 40 if he’s a mama’s boy or a late bloomer). She’s used to having been a big part of his life, and now that you’ve come along, take into consideration that you’re not the only woman in his life. Encourage your husband to call his mother every now and then, organize some mother-son bonding time, or take the family to visit her.


Don’t get so defensive

There’s nothing more annoying than a mother-in-law who is always pointing out how you should do things to be more efficient around the home. Try to remember she is offering what she thinks are helpful suggestions, not criticisms. She might do things differently at her home and has more years and wisdom than you do. If she moans about the cleanliness of your house and wants to know where the vacuum is, let her at it.


Never trash-talk her son

He might be your husband, but speaking negatively about him will only get her back up. He is a product of her upbringing, so telling your mother-in-law that her son is as useless as tits on a bull is like telling her she did a lousy job.


Resort to bribery

Sometimes thoughtful little gifts, the odd phone call to see how her day is going or asking her opinion on something will score you brownie points. Try not to get discouraged if she’s one of those dragons who’s rarely impressed by anything; it’s hard to hate someone who is always nice to you.


Pick your battles

If it’s usually clash of the Titans when it comes to family get-togethers, try to bite your tongue and avoid picking unnecessary arguments. You need to decide what’s more important: being right or having a peaceful family gathering.

Here are three things to stop fighting about >>


Don’t nag and nitpick her son

Not every relationship is perfect, but at least while you’re in the company of his parents, make the effort to show a united front. There’s nothing more a mother wants than to see her son happy, so if that means keeping your mouth shut while he slurps his soup or chews with his mouth open at the table, so be it.


Remember to include your mother-in-law

Sending the odd email with photos of your kids or the occasional invite to dinner can pave the way to a peaceful relationship. Make the effort to visit your in-laws, even if it means taking a long road trip.

Check out these tips on how to survive a family road trip >>

More on family bonding

5 Ways to bring your family closer together
The value of travelling as a family
10 Family fun ideas

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