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5 tips to break the ice and build trust with your mother-in-law

Mothers-in-law are a big part of the Indian television soaps. They are either portrayed as scheming and overbearing, who want to keep their sons tied to their pallus, or shown in a good light, with her being the second mother to her daughter-in-law. It is not a case of either or. They too are human beings, and like any other person, they have blacks and whites and greys and every other shade in between, to their personalities.

Before her son got married, she had been the go-to person for him. But once the daughter-in-law comes into the picture, she takes the driver’s seat, and the mom-in-law is relegated to the back passenger seat. While some ladies take this change in their stride and let their daughters-in-law take the lead, some others don’t take too kindly to it, and that is when clashes start to happen.

Contrary to what movies and daily soaps portray, your new mom-in-law is not devising ways to kill you off and bury your body in the backyard! Building a good relationship with her is essential for the well-being of the whole family in the long run. Here are a few simple yet effective ways you can try to win her over.

1. Get to know her

mother-in-law and daughter-in-law having coffee together

Image source: Shutterstock

One of the most important things that will help you adjust in a new family, is getting to know all close family members, especially your mother-in-law. Asking questions about her favorite food or favorite Bollywood star may be uncomfortable at first, but you may find out that she is actually a lot of fun. You could spend an hour or two with her, or even convince her to join you for a hobby class over the weekend. Getting to know her may even help you understand your husband better. And who knows, she might reveal some embarrassing childhood tales that you can tease him about. That’s a win-win however you look at it!

2. Talk to her

mother-in-law and daughter-in-law talking

Image source: Shutterstock

While it sometimes seems easier said than done, talking does help iron out differences or the awkwardness that comes with meeting members of your new husband’s family. Something as simple as small talk, or even asking about her day, will often lead to honest conversation, and you will get to know each other better. If you and your husband don’t stay with your parents-in-law, a short phone conversation with your mom-in-law every 2 or 3 days, will make her feel connected, and a part of her son’s life. The short time you spend updating her about your lives, is a well-spent investment for a healthy relationship with her.

3. Ask for her advice

Which mother does not like being needed? Asking your mother-in-law for advice is an indication of your respect for her wisdom and years of experience. Even if it is a small thing you can easily Google or figure out yourself, asking her will make her feel happy, and she will readily help. Knowing that her opinion matters to you, will help her trust you as a person.

4. Treat her like family

You don’t have to think about your mother-in-law as just your man’s mom. She is not someone you have to keep at arm’s length, or even be on your best behavior with. Treat her like family. After all, she is your husband’s mother. Learn to be yourself with her around, and she too will open up to you. A good way of doing this is involving her in your family outings, or lending a helping hand in her chores when you visit. With a little effort, you can turn a formal relationship into a loving, enriching one.

5. Learn to cook a dish her son loves.

mother-in-law and daughter-in-law cooking together

Image source: Shutterstock

From the moment your husband was able to eat solid food, your mother-in-law has been rustling up his favorite dishes, and feeding him in generous portions. When you ask her how to cook some of his favorites by yourself, she will surely appreciate it. Spending time with her in the kitchen and learning to prepare the dish your man loves so much, is just one of the steps in building a potentially strong relationship with your mom-in-law. Even if cooking is not your forte, attempting to make that one dish will be appreciated by all.

You don’t need to be terrified of your mother-in-law, however intimidating she might seem. She is a mother too, and if you give her a chance, she could become your second mom!

Article Name
How to gain your mother-in-law's trust
When you marry, you marry your husband's family too, including your mother-in-law. To have a great relationship based on trust with her, here are a few tips.
Anjee Bhatia

Anjee Bhatia

I am a freelance writer and content developer. I started writing when I was in school, and have not turned back since. When not writing, I like to call myself a baker and chocolate maker. I also tend to drown myself in hot cups of coffee, and can never own too many books. 'The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.' by Muriel Rukeyser is one of my favorite quotes.