Handling those Meddling Mothers-in-law!

  • Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

If the philosophy of ‘happy wife, happy life’ is true then how do you factor in the presence of some mothers-in-law who seem determined to rant, rage and possibly ruin your relationship with your spouse? We all know that when you get married to a man, you marry into the family and the whole package that comes with it good or bad. But what happens when there is more bad than good? If the woman that gave birth to him is a ‘monster-in-law’ how will her words and attitude impact your relationship?

I decided to take a closer look at factors and situations that affect everyday relationships that may be red flags that we ignore to the detriment of our long term relationships. Awareness is always key in preventing pitfalls and potholes as we artfully try to navigate successfully through this thing called life.


When your guy said to you “I’m carrying you home to meet my mamma”, did it fill you with happiness or did you get a sudden case of diahhrea? If the latter occurred it was probably because the word ‘mom’ probably began and end most of his sentences. You therefore know how pivotal a role she plays in his life and know her opinion matters so her opinion of you will matter to him. The question however really is does her opinion you matter to YOU? If she doesn’t like you right off the bat for no earthly reason it could possibly be a case that she puts her son on a pedestal and therefore no woman will ever be enough for her child. If this is the situation then the issue is not really you so do not stress about it. Let go, let God and keep it moving because nothing you do will change her mind and your attempts to ‘win her over’ will only make you look desperate. Besides, you do not need her permission to live your life to the fullest.


Having said that, you are in for a challenge if she is super opinionated and usually does his thinking for him. If you have a man that allows his mother to dictate how he conducts his life, misery shall be your constant companion. Chances are she intends to ‘manage’ his love life as well and may just be ‘tolerating’ you as she sees no permanence in your relationship. If that is painfully obvious, you have two options: run for the hills or have a frank and honest discussion with him about the problem of her interfering, Yes, the conversation needs to be with him and not her. Why? Because he is the one you are with. He needs to then set boundaries and implore her to respect them or issue consequences such as her not being invited to drop by your home any time she feels like. Yes he has to respect his mother but that doesn’t mean she should step all over your relationship. A real man will know to say, “Mom I love you but I got this”.


If he intends to keep getting ‘piece’, he needs to create peace in his life. As she is HIS mother, allow him to handle the situation first in order to avoid unnecessary tension when there is a family gathering or she comes for Sunday dinner. If it is a case of her talking behind your back, he needs to shut that down with haste as not only is it unnecessary drama but in actuality it shows her level of immaturity and no man in his right mind wants his mother to look petty and immature. Therefore the quicker he speaks to her about her forked tongue, the better. He can appeal to her sense of fairness if she has one and if that does not work, then he simply states that as the older woman she should set a good example for the younger females in the family and take the higher road.


One way to ensure that you limit if not outright eliminate the interference and meddling is to not move into to her home. Yes, you heard right! Many young couples in order to save up money think it’s a good idea to move in with a parent(s) for a while. Let us be clear on one thing: if the place you are going to occupy is not a detached fully contained unit at the back of the property where you can speak at a normal decibel level and not worry about persons ‘ease-dropping’ on your conversation; counting how often your headboard is banging against the wall or complaining how late you sleep in, do not think to move in! Bad idea!  Forget the promised convenience of staying in your mother-in-law home. Stand on your own two feet and go find somewhere else even if it means taking on a side job. One thing my granny used to tell me as a child that I never forgot: “you will always be a gyal in another woman’s house”.


Try and be respectful of her and a bit understanding. It is hard for some parents, especially mothers to let go of their children. Some are used to doing everything for them from the time they were born so it is difficult for some to accept that another women is more than capable of doing their son’s laundry, cook his meals and generally take great care of them. Letting go is not easy and may have to be done in stages. The very dynamics of the mother-son relationship does change with the addition of another female as his mother, while still being important, is no longer then number one female and the centre of his universe. Whether you are Christian or not the Bible support the union of the twosome as Genesis 2:24 states “therefore a man shall leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”

The challenges you face with a meddlesome mother-in-law to be is also a good test as to the strength of your relationship and how deeply you should invest in it if he is not willing to scaffold you and have your back. There is nothing wrong with a man adoring his mother but who needs a ‘mamma’s boy’ in 2017? You should be respectful but it does not mean that you should be her floor mat and if she crosses the line and if he refuses to defend you, you may need to exit stage left….permanently.