Dealing with a Dominating Mother-in-law

This is a part of The Complete Guide to Dealing with your Mother-in-law – Chapter Seven

It is very important for a daughter in law to have peace with her mother-in-law as soon as possible. Otherwise, having a peaceful and a happy married life becomes a dream. So young ladies, it is time to take matter to your hands, instead of getting depressed or blaming your stars.

Be Rich

I am not talking about having pennies that fulfill your shopping needs. I am talking about “being rich”. Earn and save lots of money. Have money that is good enough for you to rent an apartment or buy a small car if you wish to. Be rich and financially independent. Don’t let anyone put you down anymore. Gone are the days where your cooking is criticized your parenting skills are taunted. If you want respect, make sure you earn it.

When I was single, I used to dream of a day I get married and I finally resign my job and spend quality time with my husband and eventually kids. Now I know how I regret the dream. If you are prepared to be dominated and taunted, by all means, go on. But if you not, then get rich.

– A HomeMaker

If you are lucky enough to inherit a property from your parents, then you can be spared of the efforts you have to put to make money. But even then, I would recommend to take up a job, start a small business to keep yourself refreshed and occupied.

Re-define yourself

Once upon a time, you were a cute and sensitive little princess, thoroughly pampered by your parents until you found your handsome prince. Now, it turns out that the handsome prince is dancing to the tunes of his mom. Don’t keep shedding tears for each and every little problem like you used to do. Don’t go running to your husband with a bunch of complaints about his mom. Instead, re-define your priorities and redesign your life.

You are now a responsible wife and a daughter in law. Every move of yours will be judged Sometimes even your best actions will earn the criticism of your jealous opponents. Its hard, but learn to ignore. Instead define your priorities. Here are five priorities you should set for yourself if you and your in-laws don’t get along well.

THE FIRST PRIORITY: The first priority will not be your kids or in-laws or husband. Your first priority is YOU. Take care your yourself first. You are the most important person in your life. Pursue the career you love, travel to places you like, have fun and romance with your husband for a couple of years before you plan to have kids.Take care of your health. Be mentally strong.

YOUR SECOND PRIORITY: The second priority will be your husband and kids. Remember that you husband is your soul-mate and your companion for the rest of your life. He is the one to whom you can talk almost about anything. He is the one who is worth all the trouble that married life brings. Respect him, surprise him, make him smile, keep him happy. If he’s a good and decent husband, then you can’t be more grateful. So give quality time for his needs.

If you have 5 year old kids or younger, then your second priority will be your kids for a few years because toddlers need extra nourishment and care. They take most of your time and physical energy. Your husband will have to take a third place for a few years before he can resume back.

YOUR THIRD PRIORITY: The third priority should be your parents. Many Indian husbands disagree with me in this, I am sure. But ladies, make your parents a third priority. Don’t let your in-laws or your husband insult your parents or provoke them. Especially if you are the only child to your parents, then its your responsibility to take care of them as much as they took care of you as a child.

YOUR FOURTH PRIORITY: Your in-laws. I am not giving them a low-class priority, but the reason I put them in the fourth place is:

  1. They are already taken care by your husband who protects and defends them heavily (in some cases, both financially and emotionally)
  2. They are in a house which is they control. (and they don’t let you do that)
  3. They dominate and control their son’s behavior and try to dominate you as well.
  4. Your husband nods his head to everything they say, ultimately their word will be the rule of the house.
  5. In some Indian homes, the rule would be like this: Father in law: In charge of the finances of home (including your husband’s and yours, if you don’t resist). Mother in law: in charge of the kitchen, household stuff and of course, in charge of your husband!!.

Since they are in the top of everything, it is very much alright for them to be in a fourth position for a change. Let your fourth priority be them. Respect them, be polite, but remember that they judge every word you speak, every gesture you use. So maintain your respectful distance, be peaceful and have fun.

YOUR FIFTH PRIORITY: Now this will be everyone else, like your sister-in-law, brother-in-law, co-sisters, cousins, neighbors, colleagues, guests, uncles & aunts etc. They drop in sometimes; a few good family members give you whole-hearted blessings, a few blokes get jealous when you buy a new home or a car, some others gossip and talk behind your back, and the others forget that you exist once you are out of sight.

Set a routine

The most fight-prone place for a mother in law and a daughter-in-law is the kitchen. If you are helping each other in the kitchen and cooking together, then there’s a big possibility that a fight may occur someday (unless one of you is too scared to open your mouth in front of the other).

So set a routine in the home. For example, you cook the breakfast and lunch, let your mother in law cook the dinner. While you cook, its your kingdom, do it your way. Don’t let any other enter the kitchen and start lecturing you about how way things should be done.(Giving advice is okay, but badgering and annoying you about your ‘imperfect’ recipe is not.)

I personally feel that hiring a cook and a maid solves most of the household problems. Neither of you will have to fight about the way things are done because the maid takes care of most of the things. If its possible, then do yourself a favor and hire a cook. If not, set a routine and stick to it. You can make the coffee and breakfast in the morning, let her prepare the lunch, you prepare the dinner. Or, maybe you can cook every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while she does the cooking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sunday may be a restaurant day or something. Have some routine like that and stick to it.

Your kid, your wish

Daughter in-laws are taunted a lot about their parenting skills. If your mother in law has a daughter, then comparison between you and your sister-in-law becomes an everyday routine to you. Your in-laws are very protective of your child, so they constantly nag you with unwanted advice. Some in-laws even go an extra mile by not allowing their daughter in law to parent your her own way.

But remember that its your kid. No matter how many rules they impose, politely ignore. You are the mother and the child is yours, so have fun and enjoy your motherhood in the best possible way. There’s nothing wrong with an advice here and there; After all, they are much more experienced than you are. But if they are constantly nagging and behaving overly possessive about your child, then NO.

Advising you occasionally, giving good suggestions: YES.

Constant Nagging, over possessiveness with your kid: NO

Identify the root problem

Why does a Mother-in-law dominates you? It may be because of the points given below.

  1. They feel threatened. They feel that their married son might take your side. They fear that their son leaves them in their old age. Old age brings insecurities. They hide their insecurities by dominating the daughter-in-law, and to show that they have control over the house you live in and the man you married.
  2. They are jealous. Believe it or not, they hate being the second best. Your in-laws took great care of their son, saved every penny for his education, cooked the best meals for him, and gave him the best of everything. They loved him more than anything else. At the end of the day, all they got is a daughter in law who stole away her husband’s attention. Who wouldn’t be jealous?
  3. They are over-possessive. Their little prince had been given the best of everything since his childhood. They are afraid that you might not take care of him as much as they took care of their own son. So they try to intervene. They put you down by believing they alone are qualified to take care of their son. They spent a good 25-30 years with their son’s best interests in their minds. Of course! they are over-possessive.

It’s just a simple task of identifying these patterns and putting yourself in their shoes. You can avoid misunderstandings. If you are empathetic, you may even understand them better than anyone. They realize they have no control anymore, so they start all the childish tricks to grab the attention of their sons. No wonder old age is like a second childhood.

Your husband’s support

Even if you have money and everything, your husband’s support will play a huge role in dealing with the in-laws. If you husband himself is abusive, and insults you frequently, then its time to reconsider your relationships.

  1. Are your in-laws and husband together making your life a hell?
  2. Is your husband taking the side of your in-laws clearly knowing that they are wrong?
  3. Are you crying at least once a day about your lifeless marriage?
  4. Is your husband disrespecting you and making fun of you in front of his parents and siblings?
  5. Are your in-laws and husband very critical of your lifestyle, opinions, hobbies etc?
  6. Are they making you feel guilty or feel like a loser?

Did you say yes to at least 2 questions, then its time to make serious changes in your marriage. If you have answered yes to at least 4 questions, then please get a divorce. Saying good-bye is hard, but when you are treated like a slave and you’ve got no other option, then saying good-bye is as good as welcoming a wonderful new life.


Go Back to The Complete Guide to Dealing with your Mother-in-law