• How to End the Love-Hate Relationship You Have With Your MIL

    Find that delicate balance between standing your ground and respecting your mother-in-law.
    by Ana Leah dela Cruz .
How to End the Love-Hate Relationship You Have With Your MIL
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Not all married women can say they have a good relationship with their in-laws. Some mothers-in-law are just harder to please than others, and, like any other relationship, it takes a lot of patience and dedication to make it work. It’s not to say you need to compromise your choices and values to win your biyenan over, but there is a delicate balance between standing your ground and respecting your in-laws’ beliefs.

    How to end the love-hate relationship you have with your mother-in-law

    Go for honesty and kindness — always

    The last thing you want to be is passive-aggressive. Even in the best situations, your mother-in-law will always have something to say. After all, you married her son, whom she will never stop caring for, and she'll always feel that she knows what’s best when it comes to her son’s life.

    In our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village, a lot of moms raised concerns about how their mothers-in-law (MIL) often do not agree with them. Moms who have successfully managed to win their MILs over share the best response is always love, honesty, and kindness. As one mom wrote, “The only armor you have is love. Show them kindness despite their "bad attitude." Show them you have no time for hatred, not for family.

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    Don’t let disagreements with your MIL affect how you see yourself

    It’s hard not to doubt your choices when it’s not the same as your mother-in-law's (and she insists she knows better). What you need to remember is her experience as a wife and mother is entirely different from yours. Her time is different from yours, too. 

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    Psychotherapist Dr. Dreanna Brann told The Telegraph that from the beginning, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship has always been delicate. "The competition is for the influence these two women have over the man in their lives,” she said. Family psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin agreed, saying the most you can hope for is a compromise with openness and honesty.

    Dr. Rudkin also said the best way to avoid misunderstandings, buried resentments, and competition between you and your MIL is to chat openly about your life, your experiences, and your views on childcare. He said, “Ask your mother-in-law questions like, 'what was it like for you, bringing up children? How did you feel at the time?' Then, acknowledge their views and share yours.”

    From there, you can start to understand where your mother-in-law’s belief came from and why her standards are the way they are. It’s also a way for your MIL to know why you make the choices that you do and how they are not a direct representation of the kind of person that you are.

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    Believe in your partnership with your husband

    If openness with your MIL is critical, the same applies to your husband. You two should always work as a team. Think of it this way: your husband is also caught in between you and his mother. Pressuring him to make a choice or to take your side will not do anyone any good. Make sure that you and your partner show that you are united in your decisions for your family —regardless of how the in-laws feel. You always have to have each other’s back. Speak to each other in private before dealing with any conflicts concerning your mother- or father-in-law.

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    Apart from believing in your relationship with her son, you also need to believe your in-laws only want what’s best for you, their child, and their grandchild. No parent ever wants to put their children in harm’s way. They may not have the best approach when it comes to telling you, but you are all actually in pursuit of the same goal: to have a happy family. Differences of opinion and points-of-view are normal — how you deal with it is key. 

    It would also be helpful to understand that a mother’s love and care is different from a wife’s, the same way that no man will ever be good enough for a daughter through the eyes of any father. You will never be able to care for your husband the same way he was cared for by his mother, and that’s okay — it’s an entirely different form of love.

    Know that your mother-in-law only has her son’s best interest in mind. We will venture out to say it's not impossible to become a bit like your MIL someday when it comes to your son. Practice empathy, kindness, and patience, and you might just end up with a mother-in-law who loves every bit of you (or at least some).

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