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My mother in-law has very low opinion of me

Dear Michael,
I got married three years ago. My husband and I get along well and we are expecting our first child. However, his mother and I don’t get along because I feel she has never approved of me as being good enough for her son.

What can I do to improve my relationship with her especially now that we have a baby on the way?

Kerry

Dear Kerry,

Congratulations to you and your husband. Does your husband know about your feelings? What are his thoughts?

How has he been helping you over the past three years? And should I assume that there has been no change in the nature of your relationship with your mother in-law even after three years?

Assuming the worst, that there has been no improvement over the three years, then the birth of your child might present a good opportunity for a change in the relationship.

You and your husband must have plans on how you want to raise your baby. Do those plans take into account your mother in-law’s expectations, whether all or only in part?

Make an effort to know what her hopes and expectations are regarding the birth of your baby. What kind of involvement is she hoping for? And what are other beliefs she holds about a child being born and nurtured?

The purpose of this is not to allow her to do as she might wish, but to see to what extent your plans and her expectations overlap. You and your husband can then deliberately involve her.

The disappointing reality is that she might never believe that you are ‘good enough for her son’. You might end up being exactly like her after you have raised and cherished your baby for more than 20 years.

It does not justify it, but it might make you more understandable, and the cycle shall continue until a brave mother breaks it.

Might you be holding on to feelings that might have been true when you were getting married and don’t hold true now? Evaluate the relationship – where it is now, as objectively as you can.

You might find that there has been a change, albeit slight, in her attitude toward you. Something that would help change that attitude is whether or not your husband is happy and healthy, and attributing it to you being his wife.

If there has been no change, and your best actions and intentions have all been dismissed, then we go to where it all begins and ends – you.

Do you have a pressing personal problem? Seek advice from Michael Oyier at [email protected]