Advice Column, Parenting

5 Ways to deal with a difficult mother-in-law

  • All4Woman
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

If there’s one person who knows just how to push your buttons, aside from your husband, it’s his mother!

While there are lucky women who sit around sharing baking secrets, most of us struggle to establish and maintain relationships with our mother-in-law.

It’s not that you don’t love the woman who raised your partner…

… it’s just that, sometimes, she can come across as overbearing, interfering and controlling – making family visits feel like you’d rather pluck your eyelashes out.

However, having a strained relationship with your mother-in-law can put (unnecessary) pressure on your relationship with your spouse. So, it’s best you navigate it with a pinch of salt and lots of goodwill.

Here are five ways to deal with a difficult mother-in-law:

1. Talk to your husband – but don’t take it out on him

Communication is key – and your husband needs to know what’s going on. Having said that, he shouldn’t bear the brunt of your frustration.

As much as you wish he could, your husband can’t fix things for you. Nor should you punish him for his mother’s shortcomings.

Remember, at the end of the day, you and your husband are a team – don’t lose sight of that when caught up in family politics.

2. Kill her with kindness

It’s hard to dislike someone who is genuinely nice. With that in mind…

… be the bigger person, go out on a limb to include her in your life and show her gratitude for the things she does for you, your husband and your kids.

3. Pick your battles

Try not to get bent out of shape about every little thing that she says and does.

If something more important truly bothers you, let her know. Tell her how you feel and how you think you could resolve it, together.

If not, shrug it off and walk away.

4. Let it go

Being constantly angry with someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The only one who suffers is you.

Try to see her for who she is. Give her credit for the things she does right, grace for the things she does wrong, and

5. If all else fails, you may have to cut ties…

… at least temporarily.

If the relationship between the two of you has turned toxic, and is affecting your household and relationship with your husband, it might be time to take a ‘breather’.

Once you feel like you’ve cooled off, gained some perspective and can let bygones be bygones, you can attempt the relationship again. This time, obviously with clear boundaries.

Disclaimer: This article represents the collective voice of this experience, and does not represent the sole experience of the author.

Lara Bestbier

Writer. Creative. Word-nerd. Aspiring photographer. Oh, and mom to the only little girl more demanding than me. Parenting editor at All4Women (e-mail me at

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