DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I know people love to start these letters with how much they love their in-laws, and then here comes the “but.” I’m going to dive in and say my mother-in-law is a major PIA, has always been, and will always be.
My wife and I will set a room up in our own house the way we want it, and when my MIL comes to visit, she’ll tell us how wrong it is and make us change it. I’ve always thought my wife is a little afraid of her mom, so she does just about everything she’s told to do by her.
Even if I can’t stand her mother, I do love my wife and want to make her happy, but I’m about to boil over if her mother plays boss of our home one more time.
How do I warn my wife without making her miserable that I’m about to go to war with her mother? --- THE BAD SON-IN-LAW
DEAR THE BAD SON-IN-LAW: If you never push back, your mother-in-law will likely continue to believe you agree with her ideas.
Your home belongs to your wife and you, and it should be made to your order. But you need to be sure your wife feels this way too. She may have more confidence in her mother’s choices than her own, and that makes you the odd man out. The only way you’ll know for sure is to tell your wife how you’re feeling. Your continued resentment isn’t going to do anyone any good. If you have your wife in your corner, it may be time to let your mother-in-law know you two are happy with how you arrange things. You don’t need to go to war or even make it a nasty moment, and you don’t want to put your wife in a “it’s either him or me” position with her mother. Hopefully, your unified, firm but gentle insistence that you want things left alone may put her nose out of joint for a bit, but at least it’ll also give her the idea you guys are more than ready, willing, and able to take charge of your home — if that is indeed the case.
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