New Mums: 9 Tips To Dealing With An Overbearing Mother-in-law

Whether you like it or not, your mother-in-law has parenting experience and opinions, and odds are good that she’s going to shove them down your throat or share them with you every chance she gets.

If you don’t have to deal with that, smile and give grandma a hug for us. However, if you have unsolicited, forceful and often irritating advice coming from ‘mama’ all the time, here are a few tips to help keep your cool.

1. See Through It
It may seem like she’s aiming to break you down when she suggests that you’re doing something wrong but most grandmas genuinely want to help.  They’ve travelled the road before you and know one or two things. Yes, times may have changed, but they can’t help themselves feeling like they know more than you. This doesn’t mean grandma is always right or that you have to do everything she says. It just means her intentions are probably good.

2. Know Your Stance
First thing to remember is that you’re the parent and get to call the shots with your baby. Be confident enough in your abilities so someone else’s opinion doesn’t shake you. As long as you’re sure you’re doing what’s best for your baby, stand your ground politely.

3. Aim for Peace
Saying things like “You’re not the mother; I am” is NOT likely to go over well. While you have to set up proper boundaries, you should shoot for maintaining a positive relationship. Keep in mind that you’re looking for peace and respect, not revenge.

READ ALSO: 6 Practical Ways New Mums Can Get More Sleep

4. Smile and Listen
Just because you’re listening to her advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it. And there’s no need to make an issue. You can listen — to be polite — without following through.

6. Brush off the Trivial Advice
Minor comments, super-obvious reminders may be annoying, but there’s no harm in them, really. Just let it pass. There is no need to be confrontational.  Confrontation is likely to cause her to pull back, talk about you behind your back, and make her feel like you’re trying to exclude her from the family.

7. Politely Decline the Bad Advice
Times have changed and your mother-in-law might not be hip to the newest recommendations. If she starts insisting that you do something the doctors have spoken against, don’t snap. Instead, correct her kindly. You could say “I know that used to be very common in the past, but the research today has advised us not to do that.” Show her some proof if you can.

8. Confront the Rude Advice
If you’re feeling insulted or challenged, it might be time to have a chat with her. Go for peace-making phrases like “I know you’re trying to help” and “I really want to make things work.” Then explain to her the specifics of what you need from her. Let her know that you appreciate her advice, but that you’re going to try another way first.

9. Take the Good Advice
That’s right. We said it. Sometimes your mother-in-law actually does know better, and you don’t want to miss a great tip by shutting her out.  Learn to separate the advice from the tone used in giving it.

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