A family sitting on the couch with their in-laws laughing with the new baby

11 Women Reveal How Their Relationship With the In-Laws Changed After Kids

Moms share how kids changed their bond with their in-laws, for better or worse.

By Lauren Brown

Your relationship with your in-laws is a delicate one. Some are lucky to hit it off with them right away, while others need to work at finding common ground. But once you have kids, something shifts. Boundaries become more important, and that’s something the excited new grandparents can have a hard time adhering to. It’s one thing to let your own parents know they’re doing something that bothers you -- but it’s much different to express that to your in-laws without hurting their feelings. And then there are others who couldn’t see eye to eye with their in-laws until they had children and then found a new appreciation for them. Here, 11 women share how having children either brought them closer to their in-laws -- or pushed them apart!

1. “My mother-in-law went psycho and decided that I had a baby for her to adopt. She's had to get a reality check, and it hasn't been pretty. Before that we were good friends.”
-- Veronica A., Bedford, Massachusetts

2. “For most of our family, they are just excited to see us and our children. For my mother-in-law though, it brought on a whole new level of crazy to the point where we are filing harassment charges.” -- Brooke M., Anchorage, Alaska

3. “We got along pretty well before our first baby was born. After that, it got a bit strained. I felt like I was always getting unsolicited advice, and it wasn't really in a kind way. But nine years later, I know my mother-in-law’s personality better, and I know she was trying to help. It was probably frustrating for her to tell me what she knew and not have it done, ’cause she's used to being the one who everyone goes to for advice, and they all listen. I had her, plus my own mom and grandmothers and friends who were moms, to turn to. When I had my second baby, I was able to respond to her better and had more confidence about what I was doing. I’m better able to let that stuff roll off my back, so we get along much better now. I know that when my in-laws do bring up concerns, it's because they love their grandkids and are checking up on them in the way that they know how.” -- Kristy A., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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4. “We had a good relationship before kids. My husband and I had been together for two years, giving them plenty of time to get to know me and for me to get to know them. By the time our first daughter was born, they were delighted with the new grandchild. Now we have two girls, and if anything, they made my in-laws appreciate me even more.” -- Allie B., Atlanta, Georgia

5. “I have to admit that my mother-in-law tried when my daughter was born, but there was still too much tension from her treatment of me when I was pregnant. I mean, let's face it, the woman was never really a mother to my husband when he was a kid. I didn't really have to deal with her for long though. After we had a blowup over my daughter's name, she pretty much stayed away from us.” -- Lacye B., Grenada, Missouri

6. “We get along great and always have; it’s just about respect. I love my husband, so they are a package deal. I think the most tense time was our wedding, but since then and even after the birth of our son, they have been nothing but supportive. We just try to make sure there are no conflicts and that mutual respect is there.” -- Liz A., New York City

7. “His mom and I were pretty close, but when I had my daughter, we had a big problem with her trying to butt in and parent our child. The situation got worse, and she turned the rest of my husband’s family against me. We ended up moving 10 hours away just to get away from the drama. We came back a year later when my husband got a new job, but had to lay down the law with her. We limit the amount of time our daughter spends over at their house. We are friendly enough now, but whatever closeness we shared before is gone.” -- Annalise Q., Wilmington, North Carolina


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8. “I get along so much better with both my in-laws since we had our boys. My father-in-law will often take the time to call me and actually tell me what a good job I'm doing. In fact, they even took my kids on vacation alone last week, and it was my father-in-law’s idea! Win-win!” -- Kim H., Miami, Florida

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9. “My in-laws are Jewish, and it's been a sticking point in our otherwise good relationship that I am Catholic. When we were discussing having kids, their fear was that I would not only keep my daughter away from Judaism, but that I wouldn't be inclined to bring her around them. My fear was that my mother-in-law, who has very specific ways of doing things and takes pride in being 'mom' to everyone, would consistently butt in to my parenting. Well, since she's been born, it's been amazing. We are all-inclusive with religion, and they respect my parenting. What's more is that she stopped trying to be my mom too. Now she approaches me like a friend and we get along so much better. She's great!” -- Mary W., Huntersville, North Carolina

10. “My in-laws never congratulated us when I found out that I was pregnant with my first. In fact, all my mother-in-law said was, ‘I’m going to be a grandmother,’ and my father-in-law yelled at me for not drinking coffee the last time we visited. They always comment on how tired my husband looked but never me. Even when I lost the weight after the birth of my son, still no comments on how I looked. Now that I’m expecting my second, there have been no calls checking in. They visit every two to three months. I was hoping they would come monthly, but they are strangers to my son and will be to our child on the way. Very sad!” -- Jenny R., Brooklyn, New York

11. “My relationship with my mother-in-law was pretty bad before my son. She lives with us, and it was very tough for a few years. After my son was born, everything changed. She has been so helpful with watching him whenever needed now. She loves him more than anything and is a great grandma! I am now so grateful she lives with us!” -- Amy R., Randolph, Vermont

How did having kids change your relationship with your in-laws?

Lauren Brown is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie/expert who just took on her most exciting and exhilarating assignment yet – new mom to an adorable baby girl!

Image ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

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