Wife on mother-in-law: "She told me she's embarrassed of me in front of my kids"

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Being friendly with your in-laws will often require more than a casual nod, and staying determined to keep the whole family happy may take extra effort and time.

Most spouses take the time to try and get along with their in-laws for the sake of their kids, so they can have grandparents and celebrate all special occasions together, but unusual surprises may turn up even after several years of knowing each other.

My friend Chloe has been married to her husband Robert for ten years. They have two sons together, and Chloe is a full-time mom. She looks after the house and their kids while her husband works to cover the bills and other expenses for their family.

"We agreed on that as soon as we got married. None of us wanted to see our kids growing up with several babysitters, and we didn't want to take them to daycare either. I used to like my job, but I think looking after my own family is a lot more meaningful," the mom said.

It wasn't easy getting used to doing all chores while also watching her kids and making sure they had all they needed.

"It was a process learning how to be a mom and a housekeeper and dealing with tiredness at all hours and getting organized even though there's no free time, not really," Chloe added.

Chloe's parents passed away 15 years ago, so their kids only have Robert's parents to look up to as grandparents. And it hasn't been easy for Chloe to make them like her.

"We just didn't get along. His mom isn't pleased with how I look, and she always tells me I'm not a good cook. She dislikes my clothes, and as soon as she comes into our home, she comments on the dust that no one else sees. I try to ignore that and still greet her with a smile while offering cakes or anything else she'd like to have. It's for my kids," Chloe said.

Her mother-in-law, Dana, is not impressed with her efforts, though. And every time they meet, she finds something different to criticize. Even her friends told her it was a bit too much, but she won't give it up.

"It's for her own good and for my son's happiness. Compromising or covering up faults is not my style. She should know that by now," Dana said.

And last week, she went further than usual. On her visit to see her grandsons, she surprised everyone with a negative comment.

"She told me she's embarrassed of me in front of my kids because I don't work. She's a housewife herself, and she knows why I look after my kids while Robert works. That felt unfair and just over the top. She didn't need to do that and try to make my kids dislike me," Chloe said.

She told her husband what happened, and he feels the criticism was a bit too much, too, particularly since his mom stayed home too.

He went over to her home to talk to her and find out why she said something like that, but she only argued some more and wouldn't listen to him at all. For the time being, he told her not to visit them and that they would come over if the kids missed them.

"It's not great that we have to separate like that, but I can't have my wife feeling offended in her own home. Maybe mom realizes that it matters and that she needs to pay attention to what she says," Robert said.

His dad agrees with his idea and also thinks his wife has been overreacting lately and trying hard to criticize her daughter-in-law every chance she gets.

How do you think this situation should be handled? Is it ok for the mother-in-law to say such things to Chloe even though her life was focused on being a full-time mom too?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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