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4 Ways to Cope With Your Mother-in-Law Telling You How to Parent

Maybe you’re a first time mama just learning the ropes of life with a newborn or maybe you’re a pro and just had your third child. Are you struggling to cope with a mother-in-law (MIL) that tells you how you should parent your baby? Maybe they have an opinion about how and what you feed them, what you dress them in, or even your daily routine. This can be oh-so-frustrating especially when you add in the fact that you are a sleep-deprived mama. You may also be dealing with the Baby Blues or postpartum issues in addition to everything (for more tips on all things postpartum, check out Your negative relationship with your mother-in-law can cause added friction between you and your significant other, create additional, unneeded stress for you, and make you dread your in-laws coming around. 

Changing Relationship With Your Mother-in-Law

Just like any relationship in life, our relationship with our in-laws has highs and lows. No one’s perfect, so it’s typical for your in-laws to get on your nerves at times. Humans are flawed, so disagreements and annoyances are normal. However, sometimes it can become really problematic where the stress starts to affect other parts of your life. 

When you begin having kids, dynamics change. You never know how your in-laws are going to act until you have your first. Maybe your mother-in-law feels she has been there, done that and wants to impart all of her wisdom on you. She likely feels she knows best. The problem is, one, you may have never asked for this wisdom, and two, their way of parenting may be completely different than what you are want for your family. So, what can you do? Here’s 4 Ways to Deal With Your Mother-In-Law Telling You How To Parent.

4 Ways to Cope With Your Mother-In-Law Telling You How To Parent.

  1. Make sure your significant other knows how you feel and is on the same page. He may be used to his mom’s behavior and not be as bothered by it. He may never of had to confront his parents about anything. Either way, it’s important that you let him know how you are feeling AND be clear about what you need from him. Do you need him to back you up in your responses to your MIL? Do you need him to talk to your MIL to hopefully help lessen or stop the unwanted behavior? Try to sit down and talk with your husband face to face to come to an agreement. It may even feel really good to let him know how much it’s been bothering you.
  2. Create an appropriate response so that you are ready when your mother-in-law fires off another unwanted suggestion. Make sure your tone of voice indicates that you are both calm and demonstrating basic respect. Saying things like 
    1. “thank you, but I prefer to do it this way” or “thanks, but this way works better for us” are 2 examples. 
  3. It may be helpful to delegate what you do need help with. Have bottles that need to be washed, then ask if your MIL could help. Have laundry that needs to be folded? Ask her if she can fold them and put them away.
  4. If it’s really problematic, I would have a sit-down chat with your mother-in-law, with your husband present as needed, to try to work towards a resolution. Remember, that your MIL may have the best of intentions. She may be completely oblivious to your annoyance and truly think she is helping. I know this is not always the case.

You Do You Mama

Here’s the thing, your mother-in-law may not like it that you don’t take their advice and prefer to do it your way. This is completely okay. As long as your choices are not hurting yourself or someone else, you are doing nothing wrong. It’s so important to remember what’s best for other families, may not be best for your family. Follow your instincts and remind yourself you are doing what you feel is best for your child.

If you are feeling stressed because of your relationship with your mother-in-law, email me at [email protected] or call me at 904-204-9308 to schedule your first session. I’ll help guide you to the best ways to cope with the stress and decrease the conflict.

Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman. For a free phone/online consultation or to schedule a session with Maria, call 904-204-9308 or email her at [email protected]