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March 2, 2007 / missknowitall

Meddling Mother In-Law Maddness

Dear Little Miss,

Have you had any on a meddling mother in law? I have one that believes her son walks on water, and nothing I do is ever good enough for him. Everything is always open for her review- no matter how personal. For someone that claims to be a feminist, she truly believes that my place on this earth is to serve my husband. Never mind the education and career that I have. Any advice on how to deal with an overpowering, judgmental mother in law?

Dear Taking The MIL Pill,

Let me give you the best piece of advice for dealing with mother in-laws.  If anyone else reading this has a mother in-law then pay close attention.  (I really think I should win a Nobel peace prize for this one).  If you want to get along with your mother in-law you must… drum roll please… forgive her every five minutes.  I’m serious about this.  Every five minutes, breathe a little deeper, and TRULY forgive her.  Almost everything a mother in-law does is done out of love for her child, it may be a crazy kind of love but parenthood has been known to drive otherwise sane and upstanding citizens to utter and uncontrollable insanity.  That said, I think I will give you another bit of specialized advice for your particular situation.  I think you should try to beat your mother in-law at her own game.  The minute you walk through her door or start talking to her on the phone you should be telling her how wonderful her little boy is.  Be believable and be honest, or at least you should sincerely exaggerate.  Make her little man sound as marvelous as she has always hoped he would turn out.  Remember, he is supposed to be the product of all her hard work and sacrifice and all she really wants is to have her “masterpiece” admired.  If you need to let off some steam and complain about his personal hygiene habits or his lack of romance then use one of your girlfriends to unload on.  If you have something of concern that she should know about her son then, instead of telling her what he has done that is so bad, ask for her advice instead.  If she feels she is helping you then she may start scolding him instead of you.

It may be a hard pill to swallow but if you do it right you may just build a wonderful relationship.

Miss Knowitall 

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One Comment

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  1. Anon / Mar 2 2007 12:50 pm

    I try really, really hard to get along with my MIL. I think your every 5 minutes advice is spot on, as it’s a never ending saga. The only women i know who really love their MILs don’t get along with their own moms… Saw that like 70% of women don’t love their MILs (on http://motherinlawvent.typepad.com/)

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