Mother in Law – Cracking the Code

Shaheen Ara with her beautiful mother in law says, ‘Loving her like my own mother helped me create a strong bond with her.

Now, this one is a tricky topic, we asked for tips and tricks and got only a few, most of them anonymous. Well, that tells us how risky it can be to even touch the topic. But the thing is very simply, our article is not to gossip but to find a solution, to maintain perfect harmony in the house. Moms in law are generally all trained and know how to deal with a new woman in the house, but the daughter in law is inexperienced and so gets confused.

First of all it is very important to mention that here we are discussing the common conflicts that happen in every family, taunting, pointing out mistakes, never appreciating the efforts, continuous comparing, and things like that.

Why does a mother in law behave like this? This stems out of insecurity, childish insecurity. She has been the most favourite woman to her son and the feeling that makes her think that she will lose her position, is responsible for such behavior. She gets defensive and that’s why tries to find faults in you, reason for her son to not love you. The fact that she fails to understand that she is the mother and her son will always be her son makes things even more difficult for her. She kind of misses the point that the love and attention he is giving to this new girl is what a husband is supposed to show towards his wife and there is a separate section for mom in his heart.

She feels she is losing out her son to someone and hence tries to make things difficult for the daughter in law. The thing is in her defensive acts she forgets that she is hurting someone else’s child. The daughter in law has absolutely no intention to take mother in law’s place, all she expects is her husband’s love, not the son’s love. In order to stop her son from ‘forgetting’ her, that what man women think, ‘ki bahu aayegi toh maa ko bhool jaayega’ she starts finding faults in the daughter in law. Nothing is ever enough, the daughter in law isn’t beautiful enough, doesn’t cook well enough, her family isn’t good either and she starts discussing all this with her son oblivious to the fact that her actions are actually ruining her son’s marital life.

However, a woman can try and do the following things to deal with a difficult mother in law.

  1. Try to Win Her with Love: Our avid reader, Shaheen Ara, ‘Making her feel special and important as she was for her son just before marriage is very important. I keep a check on her needs and fulfill them. Also, I never interfere and let her handle the house the way she always used to do. I love her and take care of her and I could finally win her heart.’ True, Love has the power to change things in a positive way.
  2. ZERO REACTION: I know, it is not easy to do but this is the best one. When your mom in law starts with her taunts, look her in the eyes softly and count till five in your mind, then smile a little as if a child has told you a silly joke and move on. Nothing pisses such moms in law than your smile. Her taunts are not going to make any difference to you.
  3. Try Not To Lose Your Cool: Stay calm. She might say the harshest of things, especially in everyone else’s absence, count to ten before reacting and try to completely give her zero response. She would may be make statements where you will feel you need to give clarification but don’t because she already knows the truth yet she is making those statements just to get a reaction out of you. Shake your head slowly with a smile and focus on your work. Anything and everything you say shall be used against you, so it is always better to never give her any statement. Talk with your gestures.  Even with her rudest of remarks, smile a little more, hug her, and walk away. Trust me, you might be fuming but this reaction will be enough to confuse her.
  4. Never Talk Ill About Her: At the end of the day, she is your mother in law and so refrain from making a judgment. She is way more confused than you can imagine. She is troubled because she does not want to lose power, totally unaware of the fact that you care the least about it. Let her play. Give her time.
  5. Speak Up Skillfully: When your mother in law makes comment that really hurts you, confront her, ‘Mummy, this really hurts me. I would never think like this about you. Please don’t use such words for me.’ Be very serious and sincere when you convey this to her and when the same thing is repeated, let your expressions show that you have once conveyed that it is not acceptable and you are not going to entertain her any more.
  6. Maintain a Healthy Distance: It is better to maintain a healthy distance right from the start. Never discuss your personal matters (intimate) matters with her. Even when your husband shares and your mom in law discusses with you, respectfully convey that you are not comfortable talking about such things and so you wouldn’t discuss. If your husband does not understand the fact that some things need to stay between a husband and a wife, stop long discussions with you, he should understand that you do not approve of his behavior.
  7. If She Crosses the Boundary: Again things can get worse and when that happens, feel free to take some time out and thing through. Talk to your parents, take up a job or confront the family as a whole. Share how you are feeling and simply convey to them that this is not how you can live your life. They need to respect you as a person as well.
  8. Respect Yourself: If you feel you are not getting the respect you deserve even after trying your best don’t feel scared to walk out of the place and stay with your parents for a while. Share with your husband that you do not wish to take his mom’s place, and you value her but you cannot let anyone hurt your self-respect. Let your husband figure out how he wants to maintain happiness for both his mother and his wife.
  9. Make Her Feel Comfortable: Let her understand that you are not there to take away his son. Let her feel pampered and in fact you can pamper her a little. Sometimes, all they need is a little reassurance from your side that she is important.

Editor Speaks: Maintaining an honest and cordial relationship with your mother in law is not always easy. The key is to filter and understand what the things that you can let go of are. I have made a rule, whenever in doubt about something, I ask myself, ‘What my mom would have said? Can I change it? Does it really matter too much?’ This helps me see things from a mom’s perspective and that helps me understand her better. With time, we have been able to create a strong bond and it was possible because my mother in law invested in building our relationship. I was immature and new to the family. She made sure, I felt comfortable. She made sure she appreciated my efforts, praised me and supported me. Any relationship is built when both the parties try to accept each other.

Swati ShrivastavFounder and Editor, Miss Zesty, www.misszesty.com

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3 Comments

  1. Yes, the bottom line is so true: “Any relationship is built when both the parties try to accept each other.” I was blessed with a wonderful, accepting and loving, wise and sweet mother-in-law.I am eternally grateful. I need to try hard to emulate her characteristics. How did she do it??

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