Evict Helpful Mother-in-Law?
Q: My husband and I recently had a baby. His mom moved in with us after the birth to help us get settled and to provide temporary childcare when we first went back to work. I'm very grateful for her help — but now I can't get her to leave! It's been three months and I really just want to spend time getting used to my own new little family. She's a sweet woman and I know she'll take this "eviction" very hard. Help! --Nicole, 29
Dr. Susan: Your mother-in-law has been a big help, and no doubt she's fallen in love with your baby. Here's where your husband has to step in and speak up for your and his privacy needs. Sit him down, away from his mother, and talk about various options. If she lives nearby, that would make it easier. She could go back home, with the promise of either taking over childcare during your work days only, or at least with the promise of her getting to spend a couple of evenings or a weekend day with you all. Could you manage a way to have her living nearby but not IN your home? If she lives at some distance, you could offer to help pay for frequent visits. Your husband should be the one to talk to her. You all have some adjusting to do now, but be kind. And understand that in many cultures, a mother-in-law is a welcome (or at least tolerated) permanent part of the family.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.