Building a positive relationship with in laws
Starting a family means combining 2 different people (who seemed very much a like while dating) into one. This means combining a jumble of emotions, backgrounds, and ideas. While dating or first married, in laws seem easy to get along with but children can often complicate this relationship. Here are some ideas that might help you.
First of all, step back if you can, and remember that your in laws are a very big part of your significant other's life and he loves them very much. That will never change. You may despise your in laws, however, you MUST be respectful to them (even if you feel they are not respectful to you). It's important that you're husband knows that you are respectful to them and your children need to see it as well. If you get frustrated with your in laws, try not to complain to your husband (unless absolutely necessary). Vent to your friends. If you ask your husband to talk to his family about an issue you had with them, it will probably only complicate the situation and not solve the problem.
If one of your in laws says something that you don't like or something you think is rude, approach them directly about it. It may be a misunderstanding, or it may be an inappropriate comment but whatever it is it MUST be addressed. When addressed in a direct but respectful way it will always put you on top. Try saying "I'm wondering why you seem to have a problem with the way I am handling some situations. I feels very uncomfortable." or "I know you are trying to help but I would appreciate you giving me my space when it comes to parenting." These conversations are VERY difficult to have, however, holding resentment is not going to get you anywhere and can create turmoil between you and your husband. Depending on where these interactions happen (your house or theirs for instance), you may need to approach things slightly different.
Setting boundaries is very important. If you have the above conversations and the same things keep occurring than you can set your boundaries and still understand that they are always going to be relatives and unfortunetly some things will never change. It may come down to only speaking occasionally or at holidays but you owe it to your significant other and your children to make sure that you approach the issues to attempt to resolve them. If you do not feel comfortable having them babysit in your home for instance, make other arrangements and explain to your significant other that you would prefer to hire a babysitter than to risk the chance that bad feelings might occur with the in laws. Explain that you care about your relationship with your in laws and you don't want to jeopardize it by pushing the limits, when it may be best for all to ask a neighbor to care for your child (or children). You can still set your limits and yet be respectful of the feelings your significant other may have. If this seems difficult (or IMPOSSIBLE!), practice a script and say it in the mirror. It sounds silly but can often help with these difficult conversations.It is often much easier to avoid these conversations all together (believe me-I've done it) but it will not help things in the long run.
Finally, remember that little eyes are watching and learning how to handle difficult situations. How do you want them to handle difficult situations? Do you want them to think that if someone is not treating you the way you like than you should avoid it and complain to someone else?
You're significant other should also be supportive and understanding of the fact that the two of you need to protect your "nest". This can be difficult and quite a challenge for two people coming from different backgrounds but it is possible and necessary.
Having inlaws is a wonderful thing and many people have great relationships with them! Good communication can really help foster a positve relationship. Also, remember to show simple kindness and love....one day you might be someone's in law and a whole different perspective!