Mothers In Law Anonymous: A Place To Air Your Frustrations
Updated February 28, 2019
Reviewer Lauren Fawley
Do you ever see friends of yours with wonderful relationships with their daughters-in-law and wonder, "How in the world does that work?"
Mothers in Law Anonymous is an online community forum where you are encouraged to "Dish, vent or ask for advice about the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship." For some reason, this relationship is often rife with trouble from minor disagreements to major personality differences.
The forum has over 6,000 topics, with even more posts and comments. It is part of a larger website, Grandparents.com (this website was just recently updated to Considerable.com) that provides a space for grandparents to connect and discuss a variety of topics from health to grand-parenting and family matters.
Another great thing about the forum is that it is anonymous. You get to pick a username, so your posts and identity stay private.
Mothers in Law Anonymous
A daughter-in-law can be hard to deal with. As a mother, watching your son get married and start a family can be a joyous occasion, but differences in opinion can occur often. It is natural to have some mixed feelings, or even worries that you being replaced or will not be needed as much. You might worry that you will not be as close to your son as you have been in the past. It is important to recognize that your feelings are natural, but that your feelings do not mean that those things will happen so that you can embrace the changes in his life and a new member of your family. You and she will not do everything the same way, but you need to be careful who you complain to because it might get back to your son, or even worse, daughter-in-law, and start an argument. You can almost guarantee that navigating this new relationship is hard for your new family members as well and that there are things about new family expectations and dynamics with which she will struggle. There is also space on the forum for daughter and sons-in-law to get support and help with finding difficulties in their interactions with mothers-in-law. The struggle does go both ways.
The Mother in Law Anonymous forum is a great place to find support and advice if you are struggling to maintain a relationship with your son's girlfriend, fiancé, or wife. People also do post about difficult relationships with their sons-in-law on the forum as well. These types of forums can help you gain insight and support. They are a great way to remind yourself that you are not the only one experiencing family problems. Talking about your frustrations might help you start to feel better and try out solutions.
Other Resources for Struggling Mothers in Law
Counseling, either in person or online via a service like BetterHelp, can teach you how to deal with difficult relationships. If you are ready to have a better relationship with your daughter-in-law, take steps to repair the issues you two have, a little bit of therapy or counseling can go a long way.
This counseling can be something that you go to yourself to learn how to cope when your daughter-in-law is around or making things difficult for you. A therapist can help you to work through your feelings to identify what it is that is bothering you. Is it the person you do not like, or are your feelings about your son changing getting in the way of having a positive relationship with the new woman in his life? A counselor can give you an outlet for your frustrations and encourage you to see things differently, so the whole situation is a little easier to handle.
Depending on how difficult the situation is, family counseling with your daughter-in-law could be beneficial too. A professional can help create a safe space to air your frustrations and start to create a more understanding and compassionate relationship with each other.
Having such a strain in relationships can be stressful and unhealthy. It is guaranteed that your child is feeling the stress of being in the middle of two people that he loves very much, and that can have a negative impact on how he interacts with you. It is important to try to find a solution if a toxic mother-in-law/daughter-in-law family dynamic is having a negative on your life. Setting healthy boundaries and trying to see things from a more compassionate perspective are a few good ways to make progress.
Here are some helpful examples regarding healthy boundary setting within your son and daughter-in-laws' relationship.
- Avoid asking your son to divulge to your personal difficulties the couple might be having. You want to support him of course, but if he uses you too much as a sounding board, you become too involved in the natural tiffs between the couple, and it is harder to ally with your daughter-in-law.
- Do not expect them to spend a certain amount of time with you. Invite them to things, but realize that they do have to work on creating a life of their own as well.
- Do not give unsolicited advice, but be there with honest advice if you are asked for help.
- Recognize that your way is not the only way when it comes to working out relationship problems, raising children, etc. Your child's partner may have had completely different childhood and family experiences, and your child and she/he will have to figure out how to "marry" the two perspectives.
- Try inviting instead of telling, In the past, you might have been able to say, "Thanksgiving dinner is at our house at noon." Keep in mind that your traditions will change somewhat as your family grows and that the couple is trying to make time for each other as well as the other side of parents too. Trying saying something like, "I would love to have you both for Thanksgiving, do you think you will be able to make it? What time works well for you?"
- On the flip side of things, if you feel like the couple is asking too much of you when it comes to things like helping out monetarily, helping with child care, or other requests, give when you can without having too many expectations. If the request is too much for you, say so. Something like, "I would like to help you out, and here is what I can do for you....."
The relationship between a couple and their in-laws is complicated. Grandparents and significant others always seem to be competing for time and attention. They might disagree a lot, and people start to feel like they are in the middle. It can create a lot of tension for the whole family.
There are places online where you can find people who are going through the same thing, like Mothers in Law Anonymous. These groups are great if friends do not understand what you are going through and you need someone sympathetic to talk to.
If you are ready to take the next step and try to find a long-term solution to this problem, counseling can help. Individual or family counseling can give you the understanding and tools you need to repair your mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship finally.