If you are lucky with your mother-in-law, congratulations. If not, we open the secrets of communication. They work!
Rule One: Don't Compete
Your very existence is a kind of challenge for the mother-in-law: someone has come here who now likes her son much more. While the son still has a mother - and she is probably smarter, slimmer, prettier, cooks better, her apartment is cleaner (continue yourself). If you try to prove to your husband's mother that this is not so, you will certainly lose. Ignore all attempts to compete with you. “And my borscht is tastier!” - "Truth? Well, great." Competing with someone who does not play it is not at all interesting.
Rule two: don't get emotionally involved
Most likely, your mother-in-law does not have a very eventful life (otherwise she would not have enough time to study yours closely). And, perhaps, she will complain to you a lot, keep you informed of her plans, inflate long discussions and conflicts out of trifles. Communicate on the case: what to buy, where to go, here's a new detective, a killer gardener.
Rule Three: Team Up
The mother-in-law hardly has any complaints about her precious son - well, except that he picked up dubious ideas from you. Mother-in-law unhappy with your plans? No “I”, only “we”: “Vasily and I go to the pool on Saturday, and then to the theater.” "We decided so." “This is how it is in our family.”
Rule four: don't get fooled by criticism
Perhaps (and even most likely), you do everything differently than your mother-in-law - it's natural, you grew up in different conditions. An advanced mother-in-law will keep this discovery to herself, our mother-in-law will be very worried - why don’t you understand your imperfection - and diligently convey information to you about how and what you should correct in yourself, in housekeeping and in views on education. Learn the phrase "It's great that the world is so diverse, and everyone has their own opinion." Speak calmly and with a smile. Another option: "Thank you." Just a thank you, no further details.
Rule five: judge actions, not character
“Yes, I will do everything for you,” the mother-in-law promises, agrees to sit with the children for a couple of hours while you are at the theater, and the day before she runs away to her girlfriend for a couple of days. “I don’t want to have anything to do with you at all,” the mother-in-law assures, and then, during a flu epidemic, she brings you chicken broth, lying on a rag, and takes your gang of children to her. In general, when evaluating your husband's mother, avoid the wording "she in general, she always …", look at the actions - very informative!
Rule six: don't be manipulated
Learn to distinguish the true requests of the mother-in-law from manipulation. It's simple: in the second case, you usually need an immediate response or action, these requests infringe on your interests, while you feel guilty and insecure. Feel free to put the interests of your family in the first place, and promise your mother-in-law to do what is in your power. If you feel bad - help find a doctor (and do not sit with her for a week). Complains of loneliness and depression - help find a therapist (rather than offer to move in with you). Urgent repair in the bathroom is needed - give the phone to the plumber (and my husband has better things to do than sit under the sink all weekend, as his mother insists).