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How to be your mother-in-law's best friend

Posted May 31

Winning over the approval of your new husband’s mom can be one of the most daunting aspects of newlywed life. Sometimes you end up feeling like you’re playing tug-of-war with her ... and the rope in this game is her son.

So how do you win over her approval? Here are six ways to not only win her approval, but to become your mother-in-law’s best friend:

1. Ask for her advice

Show your mother-in-law that you respect her and value her opinion by asking her for advice. Ask her for recipes, her opinion on different paint swatches and anything you might want help with. She’ll appreciate that you came to her for help.

2. Call her just to say hi

When you married her son, she had to accept she was “losing” her son to you. When you call her and let her know you are genuinely trying to establish a relationship with her, it calms her nerves about the new changes in her life. Instead of looking at it as losing her son, it’s easier for her to see it as gaining a daughter.

3. Visit her

Calling her is great, but visiting her in person is even better. A visit lets her know that you miss her and consider her family. Your mother-in-law is much more likely to learn to love you when you make the effort to keep her in your new family’s life. Especially when you start having children (if you haven’t already), she’s going to want to be a part of their lives. If you start getting used to visiting her now, it won’t be difficult to take your children to go visit grandma often.

4. Relate to her

Even if you think you two have absolutely nothing in common, she raised your husband. You both love him. She's also painfully aware of all those little habits he has (like leaving his dirty socks in the living room or putting an empty milk carton back into the fridge). Make some light-hearted jokes about his funny quirks and habits. When your mother-in-law knows she can joke with you, she’ll feel much more comfortable around you.

5. Don’t compete with her

Give her time to be alone with her son without you hovering. This one could seem strange, but it’s pretty normal for mothers-in-law to get competitive with their daughters-in-law. If she insists she makes her son’s favorite meals, don’t compete with that. When she doesn’t feel like she has to compete with you, she’ll be more inclined to want you to stick around.

6. Thank her for all that she’s done

This woman, no matter how you feel about her, raised the man of your dreams. Even if you disagree on most things, she must have done something right, right? And to be fair, she does make a mean Texas Sheet cake. Thank her for teaching her son to be a good man — a man you want to start your own family with.

Your mother-in-law really just wants to be involved in your life. By doing these things, you can show her that you want her in your life, and you want to be a part of her life, too. If things go well, you’ll not only get another friend, you'll get another mom in the process. (And your children will be grateful to have their grandma so involved in their life.)

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