How To Cope When The Mother-In-Law Comes To Stay
I WRITE this from my sickbed. I’m not sick per se, but sick of visitors, or more precisely, visitor. Last week, we played host to the other woman in my husband’s life – my mother-in-law – and I’m still recovering. The bits of her stay that didn’t physically pain me were painfully boring. And if you’re worried she might read this and start a family war, don’t be: she can barely read and there’s definitely a black spot in her memory when it comes to my name.
For anyone else in the same spot, here are some of my tips for getting through a monster-in-law visit without shedding blood or tears…
Fast track her education – the car ride on the way back from the airport is a great time to get her up to speed with local customs (mine rolled her eyes and made tutting noises every time she heard the local mosque at prayer time). Consider packing a shawl in case she needs to cover up (or you need to smother her!).
Make her feel useful – my mother-in-law’s visit coincided with a huge work deadline (what are the chances, mamas?) so a couple of afternoons a week I asked her if she’d mind watching my kiddo while I got stuck into work (it worked like a treat and made a nice change from wanting to get stuck into her instead!).
Get active – planning scheduled activities (preferably ones that don’t require conversation – cinema or opera, anyone?) will definitely make the visit fly by. If in doubt, throw money at it.
Don’t go it alone – while work commitments probably prevent you from saying ‘your mother, your problem’ hub definitely has a responsibility to take any time off that he can or at the very least make sure he comes home early. Keeping you from killing each other is in his best interests too.
Prepare plenty of excuses for next time – the upside of following my tried and tested tips is that your mother-in-law and your mental state will survive the visit unscathed. The downside – she might want to come and visit again, so make sure you’ve got your excuses ready for next time…
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