You’re married and you love your spouse more than anything. Basically, everything’s wonderful…except their mother. Here, five helpful solutions for diffusing tension, staying positive and avoiding World War III (which would obviously culminate in the Battle of Why on Earth Would You Sleep Train My Granddaughter?).
Don’t Force It
If you click with your spouse’s mom right off the bat, that’s great. But if your relationship is a bit more strained, that’s OK, too. Of course you don’t want to actively ice her out, but if a relationship doesn’t develop organically, don’t try to force one. Make an effort, and if your advances are constantly rebuked, accept it and recognize that your S.O. is the person you’re in this whole thing for.
Text a Friend
Every time your MIL does something annoying, have a go-to pal you can vent to in the moment. This is a great way to get frustration off your chest immediately so it doesn’t fester and become amplified—and lead to an eventual freak-out.
Don’t Take It Personally
Whether she’s nagging you about having kids or subtly knocking your career choice, it’s important to learn to let criticism roll off your back. You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to live your life the way you want to live it, so really internalize that thought and put on invisible headphones any time she starts digging into you.
…On a job well done raising her son, of course. Your partner is the biggest thing the two of you have in common, and if you’re being honest with yourself, she probably contributed at least a little to why he’s such a great person. Make a point to tell her that. Since you really do think he’s wonderful, your compliment will come off as genuine and well-meaning as opposed to forced (like that time you told her you liked her perm).
Know How to Bring It Up with Your Spouse
Sure, you have friends you vent to, but of course you want to air your grievances to your guy, too. It’s tough, but try your hardest to avoid asking him to take sides. This will only drive a wedge between the two of you. Instead of blaming her or calling her crazy, start with a statement about how she makes you feel when she does certain (yes, totally crazy) things. Instead of feeling forced to defend her, they'll spend more time sympathizing and listening to you.