The relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law has been tricky from time immemorial. There are so many horror stories surrounding this relationship. I don’t think it is a conversation most people have before getting married. At least Brent and I did not have that conversation. We just knew that we would respect our in-laws. It went without saying.
Before birthing my son, I never really thought about the relationship’s dynamic. I know how close my husband is to his mom, and that is okay because my son is close to me, and I would want that relationship to stay even after he has his own family. I understand that his wife will come first in his life, and once again, I am okay with that. I have a great relationship with my mom-in-law, which makes things easier. It is uncomfortable for a man to be torn between his wife and mom. They serve different roles in his life, and there really should be no competition. But this is always easier said than done.
The Mother-In-Law I Would Like To Be
Eli is now eleven years old, and the girls will be coming around in a few short years. Shortly after that, if he follows the conventional way, he will settle down. Whomever he chooses will be a permanent fixture in his life, and the onus is on the person and me to have a relationship. I plan on implementing my mom’s approach when it comes to in-laws; it’s simple, don’t get involved. Of course, if there is something that warrants her input, she will get involved, but other than that, she trusts my decisions and leaves me to figure things out without her intrusion.
I will treat my daughter-in-law with the same respect I would want her to give me, the same respect I would like my daughters’ mothers-in-law to show them. Respect is minimum. Even if the individual is crass, there are respectful ways to address disagreements. I know I will have to dig deep for my inner Claire Huxtable, but it’s all in the name of peace.
For a relationship to be successful between a mom and daughter-in-law, a few components must be present. Here are five ways to maintain a good relationship with your mother-in-law:
1. Open Communication
Like you would communicate with your mom or daughter, try to develop those clear lines of communication with your in-law. If everything is out in the open, there is hardly any room for surprises and blurry lines.
You might not like each other, but you can have mutual respect. If there are children involved especially, it is not good to have disrespect as a component in the relationship. The children may start being disrespectful, which is not ideal.
3. Forgive And Forget
There may be times when a misunderstanding may happen, my advice would be to discuss it quickly and move on. Do not allow it to brew into something bigger than it really is. Just like you would forgive your mom or daughter if there was an argument, do the same with your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law.
4. Appreciate Differences
Understand that you may come from different backgrounds and do things differently. It’s okay to be different. Appreciate each other for those differences. If you take the time to understand each other, you may find similarities
5. Always Ask Before Making Decisions Concerning The Grandchildren
When children get involved, it will get trickier. The daughter-in-law may have a certain way of handling a particular issue, and you may disagree with it, but you should not make a change without consulting her. I would consult her ad nauseam. I would want her to see I am not overstepping boundaries.
6. Develop A Relationship Outside of the son/husband
Besides being your son’s wife, what else do you know about the individual? Do you know her outside of the few times she visited your home? Grab a meal together, and have your nails done together. Find out more about each other and form a relationship outside of the man you have in common.
Final Word On Being A Mother-in-Law
I am aware of situations where a mother-in-law can be outright jealous of her son’s relationship with his wife. But that will not be me; please God, do not let that ever be me. A young couple should enjoy each other without the stress of a monster-in-law seething and conniving. I cannot stress how much I hate that. They should be able to make decisions concerning their own lives, their children, and the next direction they want to go in without their in-laws’ harsh judgment and criticism. If my daughter-in-law seeks me out for guidance, I will try my best to give her my unbiased opinion.
I know my son will not be perfect, and he will have flaws, and if she is willing to love him unconditionally, I will do the same to her. But of course, if the young lady has no good intentions and I can recognize it from a mile and my son cannot because of naivety or inexperience, I will advise him accordingly. If he chooses to go ahead, I will still be respectful. I have no intention of putting my son in a position where he is uncomfortable if his wife and I are in the same room.
These are my ideas on paper; let’s see how it goes when the time comes for me to be the mother-in-law.