I Think I Hate My Mother-in-Law? Please Advise.

Distressed woman touches her temples while sitting on couch
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I love my partner but his mother… not so much. I keep trying to get over myself, but it’s not working. Or it works for short stints and then, inevitably, she says something snide or complains about something inconsequential, and I’m back to square one. Help. - Mom's the Word

Dear Mom’s the Word,

As much as we love the ones we're with, sometimes loving the ones our loved ones come with is easier said (or typed) than done. But what if your partner’s mother doesn’t need a whole new personality per se, she just needs a rebranding? 

Nike’s got the slogan, “Just do it.” Allstate’s got, “You’re in good hands.” Maybe you’ve got your own slogan/tagline or hashtag, (depending on your age) for your partner’s mom? 

Yes, I’m accusing all of us of having an ad agency brains, unconsciously creating one-liners about ourselves, about other people, about all sorts of things and our relationship to them. And, yes, some of our UCA’s (Unconscious Creative Agency’s) campaigns are better than others. 

Think about it: Any place in your life where you’re happy, you’ve, no doubt, got a great “ad” running. But, for any area in your life that is less than stellar, whether you know it or not, you’ve got a hashtag, too. As in the example with your partner’s mom, you’ve probably got one for her along the lines of, #notmypeople, #snidecomplainer or fill in your blank.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that your feelings about your partner’s mom are not true for you, or that your partner’s mom is great, or that you don’t have a lot of evidence to back your hashtags. In fact, I’m sure you do. And that’s just it, we all always do. 

The problem with humankind is that we don’t just have an inner ad agency, we hate being wrong about our rightness, kind or not. The question then for you/us is, do those thoughts and beliefs about your partner’s mom make you happy, proud and inspired?


So, how do you come up with a new Spring 2023 campaign for her?

Try this:

  1. Make a list of your current non stellar taglines. 
  2. Have fun making that list. This is not about feeling bad. You’re human. Sorry. The best way to upgrade our current operating system is to get conscious of it. 
  3. Once you’ve written that whole list, go outside and burn it. Literally (and safely).
  4. Then, write a few new, non bullshitty (technical term) hashtags. This is important: You must be able to believe them. For example, if you can’t fathom #kind and #generous for her but can get behind #birthedthehumanIlove or #sensitivehuman, use those.
  5. Now, dare yourself to not just get behind those new slogans, but prove them. 

If you truly love the one you’re with and they come not only with baggage, but some funky family, your best bet is to open your heart, find your sense of humor, and charge your inner CMO and UCA with coming up with a new campaign for them. Best of all, be willing to be right about something much better than someone’s wrongness. Tag, you’re it. 

Let me know how it goes.



Marnie Nir is formerly an Expert Life Coach, and Chief Creative Officer of a decade at coaching firm Handel Group, ghostwriter of the book “Maybe It’s You” and writer of the online courses: Inner.U Life, Love, Student, and Career.

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