2. Don't assume you know how she feels. "It's very possible your mother-in-law wouldn't mind a bit 'passing the torch' of managing the holiday celebrations, so she could just show up and ENJOY for a change!" says life coach and marriage educator Melodie Tucker. "Personally, I was thrilled when my daughter decided she wanted to take over Christmas Day dinner. Change won't always get a negative reaction, especially if she feels included in your decision-making."
3. Manage expectations. "Don't expect miracles," says psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch. No matter how much you try, some mothers-in-law won't welcome the new addition with open arms. "Your mother-in-law won't be as close to you as your own family," says Orbuch. "Don't look for or expect her approval, either." Poll: How Do You Deal With A Monster-In-Law?
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But that doesn't mean you should capitulate to her desires just because you're nervous. "If this is your first holiday season after marrying, don't wimp out thinking his Mom will mellow by next year. A lazy approach this year will produce more grief next time because holidays are tradition driven. You're creating expectations for the future by how you handle yourself this season," says Helge.
4. Be open to creative compromise. "Understand that blending two families isn't going to happen overnight. You may still want to maintain your own family traditions separately at first, for example Thanksgiving Eve or Christmas Eve with one family, the next day with the other. This is healthy and normal," says Steadman.
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"Making the holidays your own doesn't have to take up the entire day or alienate the rest of your family or his from your celebration," says Gorman. "Consider taking time in either the morning or the evening to celebrate 'your way.' Make a holiday brunch or create an evening event that is celebrated exactly the way you want. If the holiday is over a weekend, take a day or two as your own."