I am writing to ask for advice because my mother-in-law is a witch! She meddles in everything, she stops over without calling, and we don’t have kids yet, but she tells us how to raise our children as far as religion and schooling.
My wife will not say anything to her mother about how she’s intruding in our life.
It should be me and her to discuss what we’re going to do as parents. We should be our own family unit, and we should come first. We are our own family first, and then everyone else is extended family.
My mother-in-law acts like top dog, and she comes first beyond everyone.
Please help me figure out how to get through to my mother-in-law and wife.
- Son-in-Law, Chalfont
You are 100 percent correct when you say that once you and your wife have a child, and even if you don’t have one now, you are a unit and your own family. First, you have to worry about your own family, and then your extended family.
It is really hard and difficult if your wife will not stick up to her mother and tell her to back off. Now you know you have to take matters into your own hands.
Try taking your mother-in-law out to dinner, or have her over for a one-on-one serious talk. Tell her you love being married to her daughter, and you love that she came into your family, but this is way out of control.
Let her know she can’t show up unannounced. Ask if she could give you a phone call ahead of time, or maybe work out a date in advance when she can come over.
She needs to know that she will be a honored grandmother, and she will very much be a part of your children’s lives. However, religion and schooling, and where you live, is up to the mother and father of the child.
You raise your children so that they can live healthy, full adult lives and make their own decisions, and that’s how it should be.
Don’t cut off your mother-in-law completely. You should include her and take her points in consideration, but you don’t have to listen to them. Make sure she feels included, and make sure she doesn’t stomp all over everything you are planning for your future.
If it continues after you talk to her, and if she won’t respect your requests, then you need to cut her off until she acts responsibly and with respect to your new family. The same goes for if your wife is too scared to confront her with the issue.
Everyone in this situation wants to be a family with everything kosher, and it’s hard work. Everyone has to know their boundaries. Once that is straightened out, life is a lot more simple and smooth.
Good luck in your future and with your mother-in-law.
Write to Dear Lizzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.