The mother-in-law is a famous villain in several tales of marriage. However, like other antagonists in a fairy tale, your spouse’s mother might not be evil, just misunderstood. Being a mother is a sacred identity, and it’s normal for every woman to express fear about losing her attachment to her son. She played the most important role in your husband’s life for the longest time, and she will naturally find it hard to deal with the significant transition.
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Rather than resenting her challenging behavior, acknowledge that you are not her victim. You are her daughter-in-law, who needs to put some work to improve your relationship. Here are some ways to get along with your spouse’s mother:
1. Make her feel special by giving her thoughtful gifts
While material things can not buy your mother-in-law’s love or approval, the thought behind them will show her that you think about her and care for her. You can consider getting her a power recliner so that she can relax while watching her favorite sitcom or reality show. Or you can buy her decors and essentials that she can use in her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Even the most inexpensive gifts will let her know that you are sending her the TLC she deserves. And even if she hides her reaction, you can be sure that she will definitely appreciate your effort.
2. Believe in the science of mere-exposure effect
Social psychology reveals that people tend to increase their liking to someone or something when they become familiar with them. It means that the more you see and spend time with your in-law, the higher the possibility that she will like you. So instead of shying away from your husband’s mom, give her repeat visits and make opportunities to establish a closer connection. Talk to her even if every conversation means you have to endure excruciating boredom or bite your tongue to imprison the unpleasant words.
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3. Always choose to forgive
Your mother-in-law might disagree with your choice of home decor, your fashion, your cleaning habits, your cooking, or your decisions. She might criticize you for almost every single thing from the way you raise your kids to how you treat your husband. While it can be irritating to listen to her unsolicited and painful advice, do not let your emotions take over. Nasty confrontations can jeopardize even the strongest relationships.
4. Give her the grandparent privilege
If there is anything that you must be grateful to your mother-in-law, it’s her unconditional love for your kids. For the most part, mothers-in-law tend to overindulge their grandchildren. She wants to spoil your kids by letting them watch TV until midnight when you have enforced a strict bedtime rule. If it’s not every day and is not harmful, there’s no need to become furious.
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Establishing a good relationship with your mother-in-law is perhaps one of your life’s struggles. But when you hold on to your respect, gratitude, and love for her, you will always win the battle.