I hope that just because you’re in a blended family that you never have to experience the Grinch during Christmas, AKA your mother-in-law. All mother-in-laws are not bad. I’m grateful to The Most High that I have a wonderful relationship with mine. But several of my friends, ummmm…not so much.
Imagine this: Your mother-in-law walks in to your house on Christmas morning saying hello to your husband and children, greeting them with warm hugs and kisses. She looks over at you and your children (her step-children), and if English wasn’t your first language, you would not be able to make out the word, “Hello”, let alone “Merry Christmas”. In her hand, she has Nordstrom bags full of expensive clothes and lavish gifts for your husband and her grandkids. She hands you a CVS bag full of cheap perfume and under-aged toys for your kids – everything still sporting price tags. What would you do?
Here’s another one: Your mother-in-law sits down at Christmas Dinner – the dinner that you slaved over for two days. Throughout the entire dinner, she’s complaining that the greens are too salty, the macaroni and cheese tastes “store-bought” and asking what’s wrong with the cornbread. After critiquing your food, she critiques your Christmas decor and loudly declares that you have gained a lot of weight. What would you do?
Last one: At family Christmas brunch, your mother-in-law asks for all of “her kids and grandkids” to come together for a family photo. Your two excited and innocent children head straight for the photo opp and you see your mother-in-law motioning to you and your children to “Please wait.” What would you do?
We’ve all heard horror stories of mother-in-laws that never accept their sons’ choice for a spouse. But when there are (grand)children involved, you should always use discretion and not be hurtful.
Being in a blended family is hard enough as it is, but when you have other people that are causing more of a divide in your house, as well as in your family, things can really become emotional. Tempers will surely flare up, especially when it comes to a protective mother who never wants to see her children get hurt.
Now, we all know that when you get married, you’re supposed to leave your mother and cleave to your spouse, so that’s where your loyalty should lie. You don’t have to disrespect your mother by asking her not to disrespect your house and your family. Everybody won’t get along all the time. But when you make a blatant and outright differentiation between children and step-children, what are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to process these actions? What lessons are they taking from that experience?
I believe everyone deserves a chance. In some cases, I’ve even been known to use the “three strike” rule, but when it comes to my kids, you only get one. My mother-in-law doesn’t have to like me, but she at least needs to respect our home and that includes ME AND MY CHILDREN! It really shouldn’t be that tough of a decision for a grown son to “politely check” his mother, but for some reason, this is tougher than you think. As a daughter-in-law, it’s so easy to react and deal with your mother-in-law, but as they say, two wrongs don’t make a right. Who knows? If we pray about it, open up the lines of communication, and handle it all with class, this could be what it takes to break the ice.
Every situation is different. There are no instructions, but several questions to consider. You know your situation and know if you should probably go through your husband first, or if you should handle it woman to woman. As with any situation, you have to handle them with care, and think long-term, because whether you like it or not, she’s family. So, in the meantime, the easiest thing to do is make sure the collard greens and mac and cheese are on point, and pull out all the stops on that pound cake!
BMWK – how do you set boundaries with your in-laws? If you have dealt with a situation where your in-laws did not accept your children, what did you do?