How to Deal with a Mother-In-Law that Drives You Crazy

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mother-in-law

There are television shows and major motion pictures to deal with this very situation. The truth is that mother-in-laws are annoying enough once you get married – but add a baby to the mix and you just might be pushed over the edge. Still, if you give it time and follow a few simple strategies, you can make things at the very least tolerable. Who knows, after a few years, you might just learn to love her. 

If you can be the bigger person and swallow more than you chew – you will at the very least put karma on your side.

First of all, understand the situation. Chances are you and your mother-in-law are strong willed. However, try to see things from her perspective. She loves your spouse and her grandchildren, and wants to be involved in their lives. The one thing keeping her from being the matriarch is YOU.

So, perhaps a little jealousy on her part is in order. While you shouldn’t simply excuse rudeness or being constantly belittled, you don’t have to engage in World War III over something that is obviously childish. If you can be the bigger person and swallow more than you chew – you will at the very least put karma on your side.

Another rule to dealing with your mother-in-law is to set boundaries in the beginning. Far too many people allow or appoint their mother-in-law to be in charge of the children all the time (as a full time babysitter), and then try to pull back those reins anytime they wish. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want boundaries that keep your mother-in-law in her familial place, then you have to make concessions on your side as well. Set boundaries by being kind and respectful.

Don’t demand she stay away, but rather make it clear that you are now your own family – and that it needs to be respected. If she is stepping into your ground, make sure to hold your spot as well as you can, without crushing feelings or causing resentment.

What do you think? How to Deal with a Mother-In-Law that Drives You Crazy

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11 comments

  1. Avatar of LIZ says:

    i got a good one mother in law :)

  2. Avatar of Newme Newme says:

    My MIL is very nice even too nice. No matter how much gratitude I show towards her, she manipulates me, situations, also tells unnecessary lies. If I refuse to be manipulated and be straight to the point, then I’m told to be rude. My brain is not accustomed to beat around the bush or sugar-coat a pile of razors. I want to be on good terms with her by not being fooled, tricked, manipulated over day-to-day life concerns. Seeking good advice please! thanks.

  3. Avatar of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    I am lucky that my mom-in-law loves me so.

  4. Avatar of AW AW says:

    The numbers of people that clash with their in laws far exceeds the number of crazy or annoying people there are in the world. Often, I think the annoyance develops more from the generational divide and the situations this can create rather than any real dislike on a personal level. My own in laws aren’t mad, crazy or even slightly irrational. They are perfectly normal and likable people but they annoy the hell out of me because of a clash of interests that is probably very similar in a lot of families.

    The main problem is that in laws tend to want to spend time with your spouse which normally means they end up spending time with you. That’s fine if they spend a little time with you every now and then but often (and this tends to apply more to husbands than wives) you spend an awful lot more time with them than anyone else; this becomes especially true once you have children. In fact, outside of your immediate family there probably isn’t anyone else in your life apart from co-workers that you spend more time with and on top of that you’re expected to be insufferably polite to at all times! Add to the fact that there’s an age gap and very little in common and many of us quickly realise that we would rather be doing something else and not entertaining our in laws.

    Their wanting to spend an unhealthy amount of time with you also translates into other problems. Often, they choose to live close to you; they might even start popping around unannounced. In the worst situations, they hold you back, using emotional blackmail to confine you to a part of the world of your choosing when you might want to move to the city or even emigrate.

    The wealth gap between young and old that has developed in the western world also causes friction. The older generations often enjoy mocking academic qualifications, talking about the value of their houses or their latest holiday or how hard they worked in their single income family and 9-5 job. Although we normally forgive our parents for this transgression, from other older people, even our in laws, we see them as smug and ignorant. Often, this can also result in being ‘infantilised’ by in laws, who might suggest for example that you go on holiday with them to save money. Again, it’s not really their fault, unless your in laws happen to be George W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair etc!

    If a spouse worries that their partner dislikes their in laws, ask if you need to address some of these scenarios:

    1) When your parents visit, do you go a bit too far in rolling out the red carpet even though they’re frequent visitors? Do you spend too much on entertaining them or refuse to let your partner use any of their leisure time for themselves, instead expecting them to do endless rounds of cooking and washing up?

    2) Have you ever refused to let your partner take a dream job out of town or in another country, even if it was the best thing for your family, because you’re worried that your parents would miss you?

    3) Do your parents try to go on your vacations with you and do you let them? Worse still, do they arrange your holidays for you?

    4) Have you ever let your parents stay at your house (if you do live a drivable distance from them) without consulting your partner first, or putting them in an awkward situation when you do (e.g. asking when they’re in the room)?

    5) Do your parents have systems of belief that conflict with your partner’s? Do you let them take your child to their church for example?

    Maybe the problem is also that they never stop being parents. Often, the worst in laws are the ones who try to become parents to their son or daughter in law rather than respecting that a new, equal family unit has been created that should be autonomous of their own. If in laws could learn that lesson, there would be a lot more harmony in the world!

  5. Avatar of anastasia anastasia says:

    This is good advice for a NORMAL HUMAN BEING that’s a mother in law… But what to do with the one that constantly screaming, & my husband sleeps there more than here?! You know,the sick , crazy ones!

  6. Avatar of Alicia Alicia says:

    I dont have a mother in law simply because i am a teen parent, i recently turned 18 and my daughter is 8 months old, i still let her go see her dad’s mom even though we arent together, and they are a big help to me

  7. Avatar of Brittney Brittney says:

    I’m glad I came across this article and here’s to hoping it helps!

  8. I love these article, this really will help me deal with my mother-in-law who is constantly telling me what I do wrong with my son, for example, I do not bath my baby everyday because I reads that bathing a baby everyday is not necessary if they do not crawl or walk yet, and she is always behind me telling me if I already washed my son. Hopefully one day I will "love" her advices and stories.

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