The pressure of having your mother-in-law come and stay at your house can be profound, much more so when there is an underlying tension between the two. And it's easy to feel incredibly frustrated, confused, and helpless in how to resolve the matter, especially when getting them to get along seems like an impossible task. But don’t worry, there are lots of steps you can take to make solutions that both parties can be happy with.
One of the most important things to remember is that no matter what your mother-in-law is saying, it is important to remain firm and present a united front together with your partner. It might be hard to appreciate at times, but your partner isn't standing against you - they are standing with you, and working with you to find a resolution that works for everyone.
When you’re trying to reach an agreement between your mother-in-law and yourself, it is important that both of you feel seen and listened to. Make sure to create an open space where you can clearly address each other’s concerns. This can be beneficial in terms of ridding yourself of the anxiety or stress surrounding the situation and start a dialogue with your partner and your mother-in-law. Be sure to express your needs and ask for help if needed.
When trying to find ways to accommodate each other's wants, take time to understand why each of you feel the way you do. One strategy would be to allow your mother-in-law to lead the conversation and positively reinforce her feelings. Make her feel appreciated, while also holding your ground. Reassure her that you and your partner won't set boundaries without consulting her first.
It may also be useful to avoid giving out unsolicited advice to your mother-in-law. Even though you may have experienced similar challenges yourself, it's important to remember that she'll have a different perspective on things than you. She doesn't need to hear a “you should...” lecture – instead, try to sympathize with her point of view and offer comforting words when appropriate.
Give yourself and your mother-in-law some space when things become heated. Taking a break will help both of you to avoid a heated argument, and sets a powerful example that attitude and tone are essential when it comes to talking about difficult issues. Use different approaches: an old-fashioned long walk, for instance, can be incredibly helpful for both of you to simmer down and reflect on the issue. You never know what might come up and resolve itself during this time.
Setting a limit is also essential. This can be tricky if you're feeling stuck between being too lenient and too strict with your mother-in-law, so communicate your expectations calmly and clearly. Set bedroom curfews and enforce your meal times. If need be, schedule up some time away from your mother-in-law and set rules which you have previously discussed together. This serves to remind everyone that things need to be respected and compromise is key.
It's natural to feel conflicted at the prospect of displeasing a beloved member of your family, but it's absolutely vital to continue loving and respecting your mother-in-law all the same. This can be expressed through affectionate hugs, small coffee chats, or friendly phone calls. Spend some quality time where you can share fun, joyful memories that are cherished by both sides and of course, remember to enjoy each other’s company as much as possible.
The inevitable truth about having two strong, separate entities living in the same home is that sometimes tensions can arise. However, managing this situation needn't be stressful if managed thoughtfully. Find time to talk and open a space of understanding, while still having clear boundaries. A little bit of effort can go a long way and create a lasting relationship between everyone involved.
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