B’s mom arrived last night to spend Christmas with her new granddaughters (and her number one son and daughter-in-law, of course). She’s our first overnight guest and the first family member to meet the girls. It’s also our first Christmas without B’s dad, so we’re all happy to be together.
I lucked out with in-laws who embraced me from the very beginning as the daughter they never had. I married their only child, and I’ve always been impressed by how non-intrusive and respectful they are — always supportive, always effusive with praise.
In-law relationships can be tricky, and tensions can run high this time of year when you’re spending intense time under the same roof, with different expectations and preferences. I’ve passed along a few tips to clients over the years that I’d like to share with you…
Get on the same page with your spouse. If you’re spending holidays with your in-laws — even if the relationships are good — talk things over beforehand and make sure you agree on how to handle certain issues that might arise.
Set boundaries. Most of us are challenged in the boundary-setting department in one way or another. There are ways to communicate your needs and wants in a positive manner — first by making it about you/your own family and not about them. Say it with a smile and be clear so that you may be understood.
Remember the end goal. If you focus on what will help the relationship in the long term, versus zeroing in on the annoyance of the moment, it will help you handle those rougher patches and feel calmer in the long run.
Give the benefit of the doubt. Most in-laws want to be loving parents and grandparents. They have their habits, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses — just like anyone else. Try to see the good intentions behind the words or behaviors. This doesn’t mean you need to pretend all is well, but it can give you perspective, which can help you choose the best response.
I won’t ask how your in-law relationships are; instead, I’ll move on to some links I found this week that I thought you might enjoy…
- The Atlantic‘s Year in Photos for 2012.
- Thai Monks struggle as consumerism and fast-living become the norm. (Is that lead pic not dreamy?)
- Is meditation really just about the power of concentration?
- These roasted cranberry bars look yummy and are a little healthier than similar treats.
- FOLK magazine has a special $5 subscription rate right now — a great stocking stuffer!
Is it silly for me to wish you a slow weekend? Enjoy it nonetheless and see you back here on Monday!
Image: Avanti Press