If you’re super close with your own mama (like, Gilmore Girls-level mom bond), you have really high expectations for the way the whole mother-daughter thing should go. After you marry, you might want to share that kind of closeness with your new mother-in-law. While getting to know the woman who raised your spouse in the same way you understand your own mother isn’t always an easy road, the love the two of you share for her child can make it all worthwhile. Read on for the best ways to create a great relationship with that new mom in your life.
1. Remember that she just went through a huge life change too. A wedding ushers in a new life stage for the married couple… and their relatives. It’s a lot of unexplored territory, but you and your partner aren’t alone in experiencing it. Because your families are an inevitable part of your new relationship, be sure to give them time to adjust.
2. Know that you have one huge thing in common already. No matter your different personalities, values, or backgrounds, your spouse is the one thing you and your mother-in-law will always have in common. As you navigate your new relationship with her, keeping that shared priority in mind can help you stay centered.
3. Capitalize on other points of similarity. People bond over shared interests — and while your S.O. is a huge one, try to seek out other things that you and your mom-in-law have in common. Whether you listen to the same music, have a similar taste in clothes, both started bingeing the latest Netflix series, or share a love for cooking, take time to bond over things that you both enjoy.
4. Respect her knowledge. You already have your own way of doing things, and deciding to tie the knot probably means you know your boo pretty well. But as your new mom-in-law adjusts to letting someone else share her baby’s life, you can help her feel included by asking for advice on things like new recipes, date ideas, or even interests your spouse might never have mentioned. You get knowledge that’s been accumulated over decades; she knows she’s still a part of her child’s life. Win-win!
5. Give her space with your partner. Getting married usually means two people accepting each other as their number-one priorities. But you don’t need to be joined at the hip 24/7, and your honey’s commitment to their relationship with you doesn’t mean the end of the one they have with their mom. Make sure to respect the time they set aside for just the two of them — when you let your mother-in-law’s relationship with her child flourish, it will allow her new one with you to bloom too.
6. Minimize asking your spouse to take sides. If arguments or tension arise, try to avoid drawing lines in the sand. Demanding that bae side with you against their own mother can often snowball into even more arguments and tension. Unless she’s being outright toxic or abusive, do your best to calmly discuss and resolve the problem without bringing your partner into it.
7. If you have kids, let her do the grandparent thing. Remember when you were little and going to Grandma’s meant endless sweets and all your favorite movies? When you’re a parent yourself, freeing your kiddos into this temporary “lapse” of discipline might seem scary. But letting your mother-in-law be the grandma who gets to spoil the tots will give you another huge common ground: love not just for your spouse, but for your kids.
How have you navigated your relationship with your MIL? Let us know @BritandCo!
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