In movies, mothers-in-law are always made to seem like monsters-in-law and for some women, it truly is the case! It can put a lot of extra pressure and stress on the relationship or marriage if women don’t get along with their partner’s parents. Perhaps they have never been on a good footing or the in-laws have attempted over-step their bounds after the marriage or the birth of a child. It can truly cause a divide in the family if mom and grandma aren’t getting along.
These women share their stories of how they dealt with a difficult mother-in-law. Some moms were able to find a solution, whether through talking things out or setting some serious boundaries. Many of these women say that things got ten times better when they put the effort into understanding where their mother-in-law was coming from. However, others found that they were unable to work through their issues and, for some, things end when the marriage ends or they cut off contact with the in-law causing conflict.
If these examples are any proof, it’s that relationships require work and effort to become better, especially if things have always been rocky. You may never become best friends with your mother-in-law, but it’s certainly worth trying to mend broken bridges, at least for the kids that are involved.
20 Getting her some age-appropriate company
Roxanne* had a genius idea when she decided to sign her mother-in-law up for online dating. She never expected it to actually work so well!
“It took me a long time to realize that the reason my mother-in-law was so intrusive was because she was lonely. My husband and I signed her up for online dating and helped her score a few dates. It didn’t take her long to find a nice gentleman who she’s currently engaged to! Having her own personal life has allowed her to give our family some space, which means we enjoy each other’s company a lot more when we see each other.”
19 3000 miles ought to do it
Gabriella* says that things got better between her and her mother-in-law when she and her family moved out of the country due to her husband’s job. Even still, she says things aren’t perfectly patched up between her and her in-law.
“We literally had to move out of the country for things to improve between me and my mother-in-law! And, things didn’t get better because we were getting along better. It was only because we had 3,000 miles between us and rarely talked on the phone. My husband could get transferred to Antarctica and I’d still have problems with his mother.”
18 Rules Are Meant To Be Followed
Avery* admits that she had to work out a set of rules with her mother-in-law so that they could co-exist in peace.
“My mother-in-law is very overbearing. I eventually decided to set ground rules for her after she started coming over unannounced she I was home with a newborn, which no I didn’t appreciate. Now, we have rules like she has to call before coming over and can only call during certain hours of the day, whereas she used to call even at 2am in the morning. She also has to respect that I’m the mom and it’s my house, so she can’t just start telling me how to run things better.”
17 Setting some boundaries
Lillian* worked out a schedule with her mother-in-law so she always has a day during the week to spend with her grandkids.
“I love that my mother-in-law wants to be so involved in her grandkids’ lives. But it got to a point where she was hanging at our house every day, and I felt like I needed more of my own space. I suggested that every Sunday she spends the whole day with the kids, either taking them out somewhere or just relaxing at her house. I love that it means the kids always have one-on-one time with their Grandma, and it prevents us from getting in each other’s faces.”
16 Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Amber* admits that moving to a new town was the one thing that helped save her relationship with her mother-in-law.
“We used to live really, really close to my mother-in-law, like on the same street. She thought it was okay to just pop on over whenever she wanted, even when my hubby was at work. It drove me crazy, but I never knew the right way to tell her without hurting her feelings.
Luckily, my husband eventually got a job transfer, which meant we moved to the next town over. She couldn’t just come over conveniently anymore. The distance has done wonders for my sanity.”
15 Scream, Shout and Let It All Out
Shelly* admits that letting her mother-in-law know her true feelings was the only way to improve their relationship.
“I’m the type of person who keeps things bottled up inside until she can’t hold them back anymore- and that’s not a good thing! For years, I was frustrated with the way my mother-in-law weaseled her way into every big decision was had to make as a family. One day I just snapped and told her all of my feelings at once.
It definitely came out harshly and she didn’t react well at first. But, a few days later, we were able to talk things through and come to an understanding.”
14 Getting an ally
Rhyerson* had to enlist the help of her sister-in-law to talk to her husband’s mother about the issues facing their relationship. And thankfully it worked!
“My sister-in-law and I always used to vent about how overbearing our mother-in-law was until we decided to speak to her together about it. In the past, my MIL was resistant to hearing my concerns. But I think coming together made her see how real it was, and that things needed to change. She’s made an effort since to take a step back and be respectful of our boundaries. Overall, there’s been a huge change.”
13 Ever try talking about it?
Nancy* says she had a very long talk with her mother-in-law in order to work through their issues. Luckily it worked!
“My mother-in-law and I have always bickered, even while my husband and I were still dating. After having my first child, though, I made it a goal to work on our relationship for the sake of the kids.
It took having a very emotional, very challenging heart-to-heart with her to get at the bottom of our issues. Things aren’t perfect, but we’re more open and honest with each other. I feel like I can go to her if she’s done something to hurt me, and she’ll be receptive to hearing my side.”
12 Starting with a cup of Coffee
Mena* says she began working on her relationship with her mother-in-law by inviting her out to hang with her, and the results might surprise you.
“I started inviting my mother-in-law out, just the two of us. I realized I’d never really gotten to know her, even though I’d been married to her son for years. We started going out to lunch and discussing the grandkids and eventually began going shopping and to movies together. Now we usually do outings with the kids.
I wouldn’t say we’re best friends, but it helped me get to know her on a personal level, not just as my mother-in-law. It’s definitely improved our relationship.”
11 Grandma Is Our New Roommate
Josephine* says she always had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law… until she moved in, that is!
“I always felt my mother-in-law was meddlesome until she actually moved in with us (for health reasons). For a lot of families, this could worsen things. But I think it made us see things eye-to-eye better. She saw how much effort I put in around the household and at my job, and I was able to understand she just wants to be involved and help out. Now, I can’t imagine not having her live with us!”
Do you think you could live with your mother-in-law?
10 Separating Was Our Only Option
Jenelle* admits that her relationship with her mother-in-law was a source of tension in her marriage for a long time. So much so, she says it eventually led her and her husband to decide they were better apart.
“My mother-in-law and I never got along. Since I married into the family, I felt judged, criticized and unappreciated. Things got worse when she started saying negative things about me in front of my kids. The feud between us eventually caused problems between my husband and I. We don’t tell a lot of people, but it’s the main factor that contributed to our divorce.”
9 She Just Wants To Feel Included
Rowena* says her relationship with her mother-in-law changed once she realized that all she wants to do is be involved and help out. Now, Rowena says she can’t imagine what her life would be like without her mother-in-law being so involved.
“Making her feel involved really helped our relationship. Mother-in-laws just want to be hands-on with helping out with the grandkids and the household. Once I started accepting her help and also asking for it, things were a lot smoother between us.
Plus, what mom can’t use a bit of extra help? Nowadays, I can’t imagine not having my MIL to help me out.”
8 Battle of the Mothers-In-Law
Larissa* says her mother got involved when things started to get rocky with her mother-in-law. She even called her on the phone to set things straight!
“I would always tell my mom about the horrible things my mother-in-law would say or do. At one point, it got so bad that my mom actually got involved. She called my MIL up and had a phone call with her, explaining how the things she does makes me feel.
Honestly, the call didn’t do much, but it did make me feel more confident to address my issues with her in-person, rather than having my mom do it again.”
7 He needed to do something about it
Margo* made her hubby have a chat with his mother when she felt she was becoming too overbearing.
“When I was a new mom, I started to feel insecure because of all the criticism my mother-in-law had for me. She’d always tell me how I should be doing things better or differently, or how what I’m doing is actually harming the baby. She made me feel like a horrible mother.
I got so frustrated that I made my husband have a talk with his mom, and tell her to back off. At first, she was pretty offended that we told her to stop meddling with my parenting, but I think she eventually saw our side. Things have been a lot better since.”
6 A final ultimatum
Nicole* admits that her husband eventually gave his mother an ultimatum because of the way she was treating his wife. While some progress has been made, Nicole says there’s still a long road ahead of them.
“My mother-in-law has always been very rude and demeaning to me because she didn’t approve of our marriage. My husband has always agreed she’s been unfair to me, which is why he eventually gave her an ultimatum: treat me better, or she wouldn’t be able to be a part of our life. She’s made some effort to mend the wounds, but we still have a long way to go.”
5 Make her presence useful
Adrienne* says that asking her mother-in-law for help drastically improved their relationship, and family dynamic for the better.
“It was my husband who suggested I ask for my mother-in-law’s help more. He said she felt lonely and unhelpful, especially since she lived by herself on the other side of town.
I started asking her for help with the kids, like picking them up from school or taking them to activities. Then, it became normal for her to hang out at the house more often, doing things like helping with dinner or having a board game night. Who knew my husband was so good at giving advice!”
4 Daycare over MIL care
Angela* says that she managed to avoid her meddlesome mother-in-law by opting for daycare when her maternity leave was over. We just don’t want to know how awkward breaking the news must’ve been!
“As soon as we told her we were pregnant, my mother-in-law got it in her head that she would watch the baby when I went back to work. I’ve never really got along with her, so my husband knew that this wouldn’t work.
Instead, we went behind her back and enrolled our daughter in daycare. We didn’t tell his mom until a few days before I was going back to work. It was the right decision for our family.”
3 She’s Cut-Off Completely
Reyna* decided to cut off contact completely with her mother-in-law in order to decrease her stress levels. Too bad she says this strategy has taken a toll on the rest of her family.
“My mother-in-law and I argued for many, many years until I decided I couldn’t have her in my life anymore. I literally changed my number and wouldn’t give her my new one. I told her she had to go through her son if she wanted to find a time to see the kids. Both she and my husband thought I was being too dramatic, but it’s what I needed to do for my mental health.”
2 Making it about what the kids need
Abby* says it was her kids who pushed her to make things right with her mother-in-law, and she couldn’t sound more thankful.
“My kids love their grandmother, and I know it’s always hurt them that I don’t get along with my mother-in-law. They were actually the ones that pushed us to work on our relationship and communicate better.
For the sake of the kids, we have really been trying to put our differences aside, and I think it’s been a positive step for them. I’m committed to continuing to make progress in the future!”
1 Hire a nanny to avoid unwanted parenting advice
Georgia* replaced her meddlesome mother-in-law with a nanny, and it turns out everyone was much happier!
“I originally wanted my mother-in-law to watch my kids while I went back to work, and she agreed. But she quickly thought that meant she could give me parenting advice. I’d come home and the whole house would be re-organized, and she’d have a mental list of things I need to improve on.
It got to the point where I told my husband we needed to hire a nanny or I was quitting my job. It was tough telling her our decision, but she ended up saying she was happy because it meant she could do water aerobics with her friends in the afternoons again.”
*Names have been changed.