No matter what state your relationship with your Mother-In-Law is in, it is important to make an effort to improve it. She is very important to your partner and therefore needs to be to you as well. And when there is family harmony there will be long term benefits.
Here are my Top Ten Tips to Improve Your Relationship:
1.Set boundaries. No screen time? No sweets before meals? Want only healthy meals for your child? Agree with your partner and be united about what is ok and what isn't. And stick to them.
2.Be a team. Talk to your partner and agree on what is right for you both. Don't keep putting him in the middle and making him choose between you and his mother. Or put him in the impossible situation of trying to please you both.
3.Separate the issue from the person. Be clear on what exactly it is that is bothering you and separate that from your Mother-In-Law. Eg is how she talks to you disrespectful? Is she not giving you your place in your home? Is her advice unwanted? Focus on the behaviour and not the person.
4.Remember your childhood. This one helped me a lot with my relationship with my Mother-in-Law. I loved being at my grandparents – we got to eat food we didn't get at home, watch tv we weren't allowed to watch, got presents and pocket money and stayed up past our bed time. It was so much fun. Pick your battles, stick to the important boundaries but let go of the rest and let her spoil your kids a bit. That's what grandparents do.
5.Put yourself in her shoes. Take time to understand her. Learn about her culture, her societies norms and values, her upbringing, her current situation and see her for the individual she is.
6.Focus on the positives. On call babysitter. Great cook. Kids adore her. She raised the person you fell in love with.........
7.Be mindful. Stay calm and focussed by being more in the moment and not ruminating over things that are bothering you.
8.Accept her love language. You want her to watch the kids for an hour. She wants to clean your apartment. You can't make her who you want her to be. Accept how she shows love and how she wants to help you.
9.Breathe! When you need to, take a moment and breathe.
10.Be kind. Be mature, treat her the way you wish to be treated and be nice. Even if it means biting your tongue sometimes!
And finally, just because you fell in love with your partner doesn't automatically mean you will love all of his family too. Remember that this is your home and your family and you can set the rules and the boundaries whilst being respectful and kind.
This article originally appeared in the May edition of the Über Moms Munich Newsletter.