Is it necessary to befriend your mother in law?
For daughter in laws who feel pressure to get along with their mother in laws
When a woman starts dating her future husband, the woman feels that she needs to be liked by everyone in his family especially his mother. Women will go out of their way to be extra nice and polite around their boyfriend’s mother, being so careful almost to the point of walking on eggshells to get in "good" with his mother. Then when the couple get married, the wife starts to notice that the mother in law seems to be interfering, trying to monopolize or being pushy in certain situations to her benefit like suggesting how to do something her way or trying to impose her time with your time. The wife would like to say no but she wants to make her husband happy by having his two favorite ladies getting along. So the wife bites her tongue and goes with flow. When children enter the picture; the dynamics of the relationship changes in the daughter in law and mother in law for the wife but not the mother in law. The mother in law may seem more aggressive and imposing herself into the relationship and trying to put her influence on the children maybe to the point in telling you how to raise your children or not obeying the rules when it comes to babysitting the children. That's when the wife has enough and tries to set boundaries in the relationship but the mother in law doesn't comply. Why? The reason is because boundaries weren't established in the beginning.
Women need to realize that they don’t have to befriend there mother in law for the sake of her husband. If the wife wants to befriend her on her own terms that find but with any relationship boundaries need to be set in the beginning or an explosive feud can break out. There are articles on the web that tell you ways to get along better with your mother in law but not many articles that say that it’s ok not to get along with her. Let’s do a reality check shall we:
Myth: Your husband’s mother will love you and treat you like one of the family.
Fact: Your husband’s mother has an obligation to love HER son only not to you. She doesn't have to do anything for you or treat you like family. She is only concerned about her son’s happiness not yours. She is happy as long as you make him happy.
Myth: You must agree with her everything she says and does even if she is wrong.
Fact: You have a mind of your own and you need to speak it. If you don’t agree or you feel she is wrong, you have every right to speak your mind. You are entitled to your opinion. If she gets offended or upset, that’s her issue not yours.
Myth: Your mother in law will step back once you are married and let you live your life
Fact: She is still a mother. You can’t expect her to leave you and your husband alone especially if he’s is a mama’s boy. Even the son who doesn’t allow their mother access to their marriage, the mother in law may become very pushy to try to gain access especially if you have grandchildren. She doesn’t want to be shut out.
Myth: You must respect her no matter what she says or does to offend you.
Fact: Yes, you show her respect as long as she shows you respect too. Don’t be a doormat. If your own mother doesn’t talk to you in a certain way or disrespect you, why should you accept that from your mother in law? Let her know that her behavior is inappropriate and you will not be treated that way.
Myth: You have to go to every event that your mother in law has even if you don’t want to.
Fact: You had a life before the mother in law right? You have a life after her too. Don’t feel pressured in going to every holiday or event that your mother in law has especially if your husband doesn’t go to every event that your family has. Sometimes mother in laws think that you have to take on every activity that their family does because you are part of the “family”. If you have other things to do or if you are tired say so and if she gets mad or upset oh well.
Remember she is NOT your mother she is your mother in law. You don’t have to feel obligated to be her friend. You have no loyalty to her either. You can be friendly and civil without the pressure to become her friend. Establish boundaries early on in the relationship before it enter into marriage and talk to your husband about them. Don't bad mouth his mother because after all she is still his mother no matter how wrong or intrusive she is. Just tell him your concerns when it comes to boundaries with you and your growing family. Although it’s your husband mother, he has to put you first and make it clear to his mother what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior when it comes to you and your family. It's ok not to be her friend. Be civil and polite but also put her in her place when need be in order for her to respect you. The only thing you two have in common is that you both love her son and that's all that matters.
And that is my two cents.