When You’ve Tried But You Just Don’t Like Your Mother-in-Law

We recognize that sometimes the things we feel we can’t talk about are the things others also feel unable to discuss – this post has been published anonymously as part of a series to engage our community in those difficult conversations. Click here to read more posts from this series.

When I met my husband over a decade ago, I liked his mom immediately. She was friendly and welcoming. We got along well, and I enjoyed her company. After a while, something began to change. Over the next several years, our relationship has dissolved to where we are now. I tolerate her, and she pretends she has no idea why I don’t like her. I’m not going to detail every little thing she has said and done to me, because that’s not important. What IS important, however, is how I have chosen to make things work for my husband’s sake.

I’ve learned over the years (in many social situations), that you aren’t going to like everyone you have to spend time with, but you can choose to be polite to everyone. Politeness does NOT mean letting someone else dictate things to you, or not speaking up for yourself, but it does involve letting some things slide, particularly on someone else’s behalf. We see my MIL fairly often, and although I don’t enjoy my time with her, I try to maintain a positive attitude, and focus on the people in the room I do enjoy (like my kids and husband). I try to keep in mind that while to me she is a rude and selfish person, she is still my husband’s mother.
Not to say that any of this is easy. She is passive-aggressive, constantly “forgetting” about our dietary restrictions and making snide comments about my appearance. She calls my husband to complain about my mothering choices (he sticks up for me, but still). I’ve learned over time that we are never going to be friends, we will never be those cute people baking together,  and I’ll never feel comfortable sending my kids to her house to spend the night.
However, we can be civil. I can be the bigger person and be polite. I can teach my kids to be kind to her and respect her (if she ever treats them like she has treated me, all bets are off though). I try, and do not always succeed, to have a good attitude about visiting her, and to see the positives during the time we spend together. 

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