Meeting the Parents: A Survival Guide
Whether you already get along with your future mother-in-law or not, before you find yourself decked out in the wedding dress of your dreams, about to marry the love of your life, it's important to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with the mother of your beloved. Keep in mind, not only are you joining the family, you will soon be filling some of the roles in your fiancee’s life that mom used to take care of. Be prepared. Make sure you have your bases covered and expectations set.
Here are seven topics of conversation to have with your future mother-in-law before your walk down the aisle.
1. What's One Thing I Should Know?
Kick things off by having a conversation with your future mother in law about things you should know about her son or daughter that you may not know already. You never know…she may tell you some funny stories or even show you photos from childhood that you'll never let your soon-to-be spouse forget. Either way, its a prime bonding moment for the two of you!
2. How Do I Deal With Him/Her When They Are Hungry?
Because everyone can use a little info booster on how to pick someone out of a hangry mood — salty, sweet...what snack will do the trick? Any special recipes from mom that she’s willing to share?
3. You Know I'm Not Pushing You Out of His/Her Life.
Make it clear to her that while you're going to be the person who spends the most time with her son/daughter, they will always be her special angel. You aren’t pushing her out of their life, you are welcoming her to share your life together. Trust us, this will provide her with a huge hug of comfort.
4. You Can Be In Charge of Certain Holidays.
If there are some traditional holidays that your future mother in law looks forward to hosting at home all year long, let her know you'd still like to do them at her house, and pick up any holidays that she doesn't feel too strongly about. Given time, and as your in-laws age, they may be more willing to let you take over many of the other holidays as well.
5. We'll Talk About Kids When We Are Ready.
Since there's a ring on your finger, your future mother in law may already be riding the kid train. Let her know that you'll open up for baby talk when you and your fiancé are ready for it.
6. You'll Always Be His/Her Mother.
Say it again and again: she'll always be their mom. Reassure her that there are certain things and particular roles that only a mother can do and fill.
If you ever feel like you have to walk on egg-shells when it comes to talking to your in-laws, welcome to the very uncomfortable and large club. The in-law relationship can be so delicate, especially when it is relatively new. It is an unusual venture to welcome someone new into the family. It takes a balance that often requires decades to establish and feel steady. So, be careful in the beginning to choose your words carefully with your in-laws.
Before you can speak freely, unafraid of judgment or other unintended consequences you have to achieve a balance between expressing your individuality with letting them know you are not attempting to take over and control the family. Rest assured, if you don't watch your words before you establish that perfect accord, you could put off your in-laws for good. Early impressions are powerful. They can have deep and lasting impact. This is why it is so important to really get to understand the nature and dynamic of the family you are marrying into. The more you understand the culture of the family, the less likely you are to make a verbal misstep that may be misconstrued and poison future family interactions.
Here are five things you should never, ever say to your in-laws to help you avoid potential land minesalong the way.
1. That's not how we do it in my family.
The way your in-laws host the holidays or even organize their home may seem odd to you. But pointing out your differences will only alienate you from your new family. This slip of the tongue tends to pit the in-law families against one another. Something you surely would prefer to avoid.
2. We'll be doing things a little differently around here from now on.
Even worse than challenging how your in-laws do things is all-but-saying they do it wrong and how you intend to fix it. This leads to the impression that you may be taking over some element of the family traditions they hold so dear. It also leaves you looking like you are unwilling to be flexible and have no interest in actually being a part of the family.
3. You've raised him so well, but I'll take it from here.
This veiled compliment can really set mom off. Initially your statement may seem flattering, however, your in-laws may feel threatened by you. It might make them feel as if they will no longer play a significant role in their child's life.
4. He needs work, but he will do.
Sounds like something no one would ever say? Think again. We’ve actually heard it first hand…and then cringed. This can only be taken as an insult to your future in-law’s parenting style. It is next to impossible to recover from an insult of this magnitude.
5. Avoid sticky subjects.
It's smart to steer clear of any talk about money, religion and politics. Over time you can let your views be known but if you are overbearing on any of these subjects early on you may be suggesting the idea that you are going to be difficult or preachy.