Oh, the joys of dealing with a mother-in-law! It’s not always easy to get along with the former #1 lady in your sweetie pie’s life. She might not step aside to let you take that spotlight. Take for example, the mother of Laz Alonso’s character in this spring’s “Jumping the Broom” (an adorable romantic comedy that will be released May 6, 2011). She has an iron clad grip on her baby boy and nobody, not even his future wife, is good enough to be with her little man.
Have no fear! Madame Noire is here to help! If you’re having problems with your future or current mother-in-law, here are five must-follow rules for getting along with the little lady.
Do not unfavorably (or favorably) compare her to your mother.
When your mom-in-law breaks out her “famous” mac n’ cheese, do not, under any circumstances mention that YOUR mother makes the best mac n’ cheese this side of the Mississippi. Maybe your mom can burn like no other, but you don’t want to knock your mother-in-law off of her pedestal. Just eat, smile and say “This is delicious!”
Humor her when she tells you the same story she’s told you 89,000 times.
No matter how old her baby boy gets, she will always tell that one story about how when he was five years old, he won that talent show. Even if you can repeat the story verbatim at this point, just smile and listen. Nod at appropriate points. Laugh when necessary. It’s not about being fake, just nice. Don’t give her the impression that you don’t want to hear her talk about her baby.
Only give sincere compliments.
People can spot a poser a million miles away. Don’t give your MIL a compliment every 10 seconds about everything. She will notice and she will assume that you actually hate her guts and you are just over compensating. If you like something, say something, but don’t be ridiculous. Treat her like you would one of your favorite aunts.
Do not engage in family gossip discussions.
Now that you’re married (or soon-to-be married) you are part of the family, but you are not blood, baby girl and that matters to some people. Do not put in your two cents about Cousin So-and-So and her man problems when your MIL and her sisters start in on a discussion about her. Just listen, look interested and say something neutral if asked for your opinion.
Always keep a cool head.
If you have the “pleasure” of having a dragon lady for an MIL, you have to be the bigger person at all times. If she’s yelling at the top of her lungs and calling you everything but your name, you have to remain calm. Let others see that she is the problem, not you. Don’t give your man’s mama a reason to talk greasy about you!