Maybe you want to spend Mother’s Day celebrating with just your spouse and kids. Nothing sounds better than relaxing and enjoying the breakfast in bed that your children make every year.
But then you learn that your mother-in-law is expecting to be involved in the day. Does it make you a bad person if there are about a thousand other things you’d rather do than share the day with your mother-in-law?
No. For those of us who have great relationships with our mother-in-law, this conflict might be no problem. But if you don’t, this holiday comes with the pressure of either begrudgingly driving to their house or saying no and getting grief about it for the rest of the month.
What should you do? How do you navigate this situation?
Talk to your spouse.
Yes, it’s your day, but that doesn’t mean that you can discount your spouse’s feelings on the matter. They may feel like their mother should be included – at least in some way. Moreover, they’re more likely to know how their mother will react if you decide to cut her out and tell you if the potential fallout is worth it.
Whatever you decide, both of you should be honest about how you would like the day to look and work hard to come up with a couple’s answer to the issue.
Who says you can’t have that breakfast in bed and still take your mother-in-law out to dinner?
Yes, you’re giving up part of your day, but that way both of you get to feel loved and honored – remember, it is her special day, too. Consider how you will feel one day in the future when you may be a grandma.
Find an activity that you can both enjoy.
Even if you are not looking forward to spending an afternoon with your mother-in-law, doing something that you both like can make it more bearable. You can look forward to the activity itself.
As a nice bonus, your common interest in the activity gives you something to talk about to keep it from getting awkward.
Schedule make-up time.
If you are preparing to tell your mother-in-law that you won’t be joining her on Mother’s Day, have a make-up plan ready. You can call it “grandmother’s day” and offer to treat her to a meal at her favorite restaurant with the entire family.
Even though she may be initially disappointed, having a day or afternoon to look forward to will soften the blow.
Send a card or make a post on social media.
Heading away for Mother’s Day? Let your mother-in-law know you haven’t forgotten about her by tagging her in a nice Facebook post (if she has an account) or sending a card, flowers, or fruit basket.
Even if you are not in her presence, the gift will remind her that she’s still special to you, your spouse, and her grandkids.
Are in-laws consistently a conflict in your marriage? Talk to a Portland counselor for relationship advice today.