One of the biggest issues many women face once they’re married is their mother-in-law. Of course, the mother-in-law relationship is one that is known for its contemptuous nature, competitiveness and stress. After all, she must dislike you, right? You are taking away her baby boy and making him all your own and leaving her out of it.
Wrong. While there might be some mother-in-law’s (think Jane Fonda to J.Lo in Monster-in-Law) who just aren’t all that nice, but for the most part a lot of your issues with your own mother-in-law are in your mind. You’re sensitive, she’s sensitive, and neither of you think the other likes you. Unfortunately, it can become even worse when you become a mom for the first time. Here’s some advice to help you improve your relationship with your mother-in-law when you become a new mom yourself.
Remember Things are Different
When your mother-in-law remarks that she can’t believe how much things have changed since she was a new mom for the first time because she didn’t have anything like an epidural and she had to give birth naturally, she’s not insinuating you’re a bad mother for opting for the epidural. She’s merely stating that things really have changed and this is probably the first time she’s really noticing it in a long time. Things have changed since she was a mom and she might not be able to help but reminisce about how she did things. When she says it must be nice to have this and that and the other to help out with parenting, she’s not saying it to make you feel like a bad parent. She just really means she wishes she had a wipe warmer and a video monitor.
Just because your mother-in-law states that she always put your husband on his tummy to sleep and he didn’t die doesn’t mean she’s going to do the same thing to your baby if left alone with him or her for a few hours. If you’re uncomfortable, just talk to her. Chances are, she’s making that comment much the same way she makes the comment that drinking and eating fish and drinking coffee weren’t frowned upon when she was pregnant. Times change, new discoveries are made, and what’s unacceptable now wasn’t when she was pregnant. She knows this and she’s not going to endanger your child.
Be Respectful of One Another
Your mother-in-law isn’t stupid; she’s handled a baby before (and did a mighty fine job if your husband is any indication of her good work). However, she has to remember that you’re not, either. The two of you need to be respectful of one another. Good advice for you is to ask her for advice and help every so often to help her feel included and for her to never do anything with the baby without asking you first, even if she’s perfectly aware of what she’s doing.
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