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January 3, 2008 / missknowitall

Parents vs. In-Laws

Dear Little Miss,
I am pregnant.  My parents live across the country.  They plan to visit a week before my due date and stay for a few weeks after the baby is born.  The problem is that my mother in law hates my mother and tends to act like she is THE mother and grandmother.  My mother has no idea that my husband’s mother feels this way.  Neither mom has much tact.  How do we spend time with both sets of parents, while maintaining family unity and sanity at this time in our lives?  This is such a stressful time, that we don’t want any added problems.  Do we try to keep them separate?  Ask my mother in law to be nice, since she is a big part of the problem?  Help!
Dear Parent Mediator,
Congrats on the pregnancy.  While I hope you realize how lucky you are to have two mothers ready to help you, I totally understand the problems you are anticipating.  Mom’s and mother in-laws are like bleach and ammonia.  Both may be really good at what they do but should never be combined, or they can kill you.  So, here is the game plan.  When your parents get in, after the hugs and kisses and gushing mushiness are over, tell them that, even though you are so glad that they came, you want/need to make sure you give some time to your mother in-law as well.  Plan to have a dinner with everyone present very very early on (this way no one can blame you for keeping them apart on purpose).  Then, schedule 3 nights (or day-times) a week when your parents can go out together.  They can go on a date, see the sites, go shopping, what ever.  Schedule those times to have your mother in-law come over to visit, help, etc.  If your mother in-law gets huffy over the fact that she only gets 3 moments a week with you, just explain that this is your parents only chance to be here and that you will need all her help when they leave.  When it comes time to deliver, you call the shots and do whatever will make you most comfortable, whether that means just having your mom in the room, both moms, or no one but your husband, no arguments allowed!  And, if any big battles happen between your parents and in-laws,… Honey, you are pregnant and totally allowed to cry and tell them to all grow up. 
Hoping the fumes don’t kill you,
Miss Knowitall 
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