Although you’re the new woman in your husband’s life, he’ll always have a soft spot for his mother in his heart. Getting on her good side is the key to a happy relationship with your new mother-in-law.
If wedding dressing shopping and dancing with your husband’s mother at the wedding reception are the few times you’ve spent time together, you have some work to do. Form a personal relationship with his mother outside of the expected wedding planning rituals. An occasional lunch together or stopping by her house to visit are great ways to be sociable without a set agenda or expectations. As things progress, you might end up taking an aerobics class together or be asked to join in when she prepares holiday dinners.
After signing the marriage contract, you are part of your husband’s family. Plan to attend gatherings such as dinners on Sundays with extended relatives, holidays, quinceañeras for younger siblings, or birthday parties. By making an effort to get to know the whole family, you’ll earn points with your new mother-in-law. Show that you’re not just after her son; you want to be part of the extended family. Likewise, when planning an event in your home, extend an invitation to members of your husband’s family as well as your own.
Although you just gained a husband, your mother-in-law just lost some time with her son. As time moves forward, your husband will be asking for your opinions, ideas, and support — not his mother’s. When appropriate, include your new mother-in-law in some of these decision making processes. For example, if you’re planning on moving, ask her opinion of the neighborhoods you’re considering and her experiences in those areas. She will appreciate that you’re seeking her advice.
To foster an ongoing relationship, find a common ground. Do both you and your mother-in-law enjoy gardening, cooking, painting, jogging, or another hobby? Start by discussing the latest trends or what you’ve been doing with the hobby. Eventually you’ll be calling each other to share ideas and opinions on the subject. Plus, common interests become the basis for great ice-breaking conversations at family events where you only know your husband and in-laws.
Above all, remember your new mother-in-law simply wants to see her son be happy. And, now this task includes you. Keeping the lines of communication open with your husband and new family members is the recipe for success.