…without selling your soul
There are ways to create harmony in what is frequently a tricky relationship without losing your mind, your heart, or your sense of self.
They Inconvenience My Life
All right, perhaps that’s a little extreme. But it did happen toGinny*, who had to tolerate her in-laws’ presence during their honeymoon in Phuket. “I was looking forward to a romantic getaway, but instead I had to mind my Ps and Qs.” His folks even stayed in the same hotel and insisted on joining the newly-weds for breakfast and dinner.
And there are cases of in-laws calling on the mobile phone during a meeting, demanding to know where their son is and whether he can come over and fix their television set.
I Have No Privacy
“Some mothers-in-law don’t understand privacy. They barge in without knocking. During the day, while you’re at the office, they may go through your things while cleaning your room.
We're Living Under One Roof
For *Lee Chin, her full-time live-in motherin- law is proving so difficult, she cannot even bring herself to try to get along with the woman. *Lee Chin and *Desmond bought their flat together. She didn't know until a month before their wedding dinner that the plan was *Desmond's mother, a widow, would sell her own place and move in with them.
We Have DifferentViews On Kids
For *Serene’s part, she is caught in the predicament that many wives find themselves in, especially those who depend on their husband’s parents to take care of their little ones. Being grandparents, they can sometimes be too lenient.
We Constantly Disagree
*Anna is always finding herself squabbling with her sister-in-law or her mother-in-law about everything from big to small.
Consider Family Expectations
Have a heart-to-heart talk with the fiancé about his family. This means discus-sing what everyone’s expectations are and how these expectations might be met.
It may be said that most of the "in-law" problems crop up when there's too much proximity and you are forced into a set-up where you must adjust to people who are virtual strangers while you begin to build your life together. While this is not always possible, it is the ideal.
Be Honest But Respectful
The other thing *Natalie suggests is being honest with your in-laws. "If you don't like a dish or the way things are arranged, say so politely and make an alternative suggestion. If you have a problem and are not in the mood to talk, let them know, but always with a smile." Your in-laws can't read your mind. Keeping things in will only make you resentful.
Little Gestures Are Important
*Theresa, a homemaker, says to treat your hubby's folks the way you treat anyone you like. Overlook the little things that seem odd or strange to you. And win them over with little gestures, little things.
Make it a point to record all their birthdays and send them a birthday card. *Theresa knew that her mother-in-law liked a certain perfume, so when she saw it was on sale, she picked up a bottle and sent it over. "She was so happy and so touched."
Consult Your In-Laws
Everybody wants to feel valued. Both *Natalie and *Theresa say that soliciting their advice on matters both big and small will disarm almost anyone. Says *Natalie, "You don't have to agree or make a decision right then and there. Nor do you necessarily have to follow their advice. But knowing that you respect and consider their views is sometimes all they really need."
So you disagree. It doesn't mean you have to be opponents on opposite sides forever. Says *Theresa, "I have found myself saying to my father-in-law: "that's interesting, Dad. I feel differently, but I think I understand where you're coming from."" *A smile is very powerful. You can say almost anything and a smile and a friendly touch will almost always take the sting away.
Focus On The Positive
Find their positive qualities and focus on them. Better yet, remark or praise them for these positive qualities. Says *Theresa, "My hubby's mum can be a nag. But the reason for that is that she really cares and worries about us and about everyone. She finds the time to organise Christmas toy drives for children in orphanages. If I focus on that, I'm less apt to get irritated or annoyed."
Find A Common Pastime
Says *Ginny, "I never thought I would ever find anything in common with my mother-in-law. But once, she tagged along with us on a trip to Bangkok, and I found out that we both like to shop for hours and hours on end. We really bonded that time, and have since made it a point to go on shopping trips together just here in Malaysia."
Make Their Son Happy
If your in-laws see the happiness and satisfaction you bring their son, they will love you. They will not be able to help themselves. Let them see how concerned you are about his health, welfare and happiness.
MUMS IN-LAW SPEAK UP
I don’t interfere *Lina, 58, is one ofthose mothers-in-law who decided she was going to just “go with the flow.” She remembers her own difficult time with her mother-in-law, so very early on she’dresolved that she would try not to give her future daughter-in-law any of that pain. “If they need me, I will be there. But I try not to interfere. I don’t make suggestions unless my opinion is sought. It’s nice to be asked, though. And it’s nice to be involved in some way.”
I treat them like my own *Mei Lin, 59, is of the same mind-set. “If I love them like my own, they will love me. It’s as simple as that. I always try to treat my sonin- law and my daughter-in-law the way I treat my own son and daughter. I think it’s when people treat their daughter-in-law like an outsider, that’s when the trouble begins.”