Question: Dear Luise: For the past 2 years I’ve been married, my mother in law is way too controlling and she wants to be in charge of everything in our lives.. She wanted us to spend Christmas Eve sleeping over our first Christmas as a married couple! Then when we bought our first house, she wanted to stay with us our first week in our home! Now, we are pregnant with our first child!! I’ve already confessed to my husband that I do not want her in the delivery room with me, however, she plans on staying in our home for the first week home from the hospital! I understand she wants to be a part of everything, but how do I tell her that this is OUR life and she needs to back off?? My husband has a hard time seeing eye to eye because she lives out of state and he only sees her once every few months. I am so upset at the thought of coming home from the hospital to Her staying in my house! HELP! S.
Answer: Dear S.: You are right and she is wrong from my point of view and I have been a mother in law several times over. ‘You” don’t tell her, both of you do. Your husband needs to get, as you have, that the two of you have started a new family unit and that, together, you make the rules, just like she once did in her home. Your husband left home. She no longer has dominion over him and the two of you rule your own family unit. That’s just the way it works.
The main problem is not about working it with out her, it is your failure to work it through with him so that you can address it together. Boundaries need to be set and you need to stick to them before she intrudes further. You have tolerated way too much already. You aren’t the bad guy here…don’t let him set it up that way. There is no bad guy. Only reality.
If your husband doesn’t see that she is on the outside looking in, and that’s as it should be, further trouble faces you down the road and to my way of thinking, you will need to go to counseling together for him to get that his mother is not part of your marriage or your household. She doesn’t tell you when she is coming and for what and for how long…she gets invited by you, only when you wish and only for the occasions you choose and only for as long you say. Otherwise, she doesn’t get to come at all. You are adults. She doesn’t call the shots, you do. You would be very poor roll models for your children if it were otherwise.
Please consider coming over to my Web-forum for women who are working though issues with adult children and extended families. Many there have been up against the same thing you are facing and I believe having the support of a strong community might help you. I hope to see you there. www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise