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Dealing with your Monster-In-Law

Have you ever had a "whine and cheese" session with an engaged girlfriend about her nightmare future mother in law? Or perhaps it's your fiancé's mom that scares the bejesus out of you because she is a total monster-in-law. When you think about what it's going to be like to plan your own wedding all you can do is shudder and cower. We can certainly understand, especially if she's the type of person that makes a simple family gathering for Thanksgiving a nightmarish process.

Unfortunately, you can't avoid her completely because, let's face it, she's your fiancé's mother and technically a wedding VIP. But there are ways to make things a little better, and you're going to need to enlist your fiancé's help!

Set boundaries from the beginning.

If neither set of parents is helping plan or helping pay and you don't want them involved, make that clear from the very beginning by kindly letting them know you’ve both got it all under control. Remember, you only have to give as much detail as you want to give. Just be careful that you don't let it create a rift in your relationship.

Give her something to keep her busy.

If you don't want her involved in the wedding planning and she's gung-ho to get right in the middle of it, figure out what exactly you can let her take over that won't really matter to you and let it be her “special project." Invitations are a time-consuming pain in the butt but if she's willing to stuff and mail them, let her do it. For more ideas on what jobs to assign to your future mother in law, read our blog “A Dozen Duties Your Future Mother In Law Will Love.”

Pick your battles.

Try not to complain to your fiancé about every annoying email you get from your future mother in law, you have a wedding planner for that. However, if something is over-the-top, don't hesitate to forward it to him and calmly discuss how to handle it together. Try not to get into a war with your fiancé's mother over something that is, honestly, only one day in the thousands you will spend married to each other.

Don't talk badly about your fiancé's mother to his friends and family, even if they initiate it.

Not every cousin may love Aunt So-and-So, but the last thing you need is for that cousin to repeat your own snarky remark to her mother and have it get back to your future Mother-in-Law. Let them say what they will, but don't agree and don't contribute. Simply smile, nod, and file away what you're hearing for research purposes. You never know when it may come in handy later. Besides, you have your bestie and your wedding planner to vent to!

Try to initiate some wedding-related tasks with your fiancé's mom if she's dying to be in the mix.

For example, you can invite her along when you shop for your china pattern. You don't have to actually register for anything she suggests, but it will make her feel good that you are including her. If she really wants you to register someplace specific because her friends will be sending gifts, play along. It won't kill you to pick some over-the-top gifts if she wants to buy them or knows her friends will. Or if she actually does know flowers better than you, bring her along on your consult she and your wedding planner can team up to save you money. Just remember you don't have to take her advice, but it may be worth listening to help forge a more peaceful relationship. Other ideas for your future mother in law, can be found on our blog “A Dozen Duties Your Future Mother In Law Will Love.”

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