There is a fine line between offering advice and meddling in someone’s business. I am sure that we have all gone through the over zealous advice of parents, parents in law and friends. Everyone thinks they know what you should do. Unfortunately, if this behavior is not put into check, relationships can be affected and even destroyed.
I remember when I was young and getting married. Of course I had my own ideas of how I wanted things done. My mother in law did things completely different than the way I had been taught. Something as simple as how I washed the dishes was called into question.
For years I bit my tongue. I was reluctant to speak my mind. But the day came when I had had enough. Maybe it was because I was tired from being up with the baby and was also working. I can’t remember the specifics of that day except I was told, in my house that I wasn’t doing something the way she would have done it.
I exploded. I had had enough. I told my mother in law that although I loved her, and she was my husband’s mother, she needed to back off. I also told her that unless she wanted to support me and take over my bills, what we did in our home was really none of her business.
Needless to say, she was hurt. I was immediately sorry that I had told her off like that. Unfortunately you can’t un-ring a bell. She left and we didn’t speak for a few days. My husband had spoken to her and she told him about the incident. You can imagine how that conversation went. I have to say that he did back me up with the unwanted advice, but was sorry it had come to a head the way it did.
Finally my mother in law and I had to see each other. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, but we found our way back to a good relationship after a long time.
Now I am a mother in law and a mother of grown kids. I catch my self starting to offer advice that is not appreciated and I stop right away. I have explained to my kids that they will always be my babies no matter how old they get and that I will always want to help and protect them. Then I admit that I need to back off and shut up. They give me that tolerant smile that all of us get from our grown kids.
My point is that I would not even realize what I was doing if I hadn’t gone through a very uncomfortable issue with my own mother in law. So, I am eternally thankful to her for teaching me the boundaries I need to respect when I deal with my grown kids.