Tension Between Mom and Husband

Updated on October 02, 2009
S.H. asks from Long Beach, CA
6 answers

A little background... my mom and I have had issues over the years. She is very emotionally dependent and I get frustrated with her quite often when she is around. When I was growing up, she was very punitive, not nurturing on an emotional level, and sometimes borderline abusive. She is not a hands-on grandparent. We've had A LOT of issues over the years. Now as an adult, I can handle her in small doses. When she comes to visit us (she lives far away), I can handle a couple of days with her.

My issue is that when she and my husband are around each other, I am on edge. I can handle my mom a lot better when it is just her and I. My husband gets very frustrated with her and I can cut the tension in the room. He has expressed his frustration to her, but things have not changed. My mom is who she is... I guess on some level I accept that, but I still get VERY overwhelmed when we are all together. My husband gets very quiet at certain points. He even gets in a bad mood when she is around. I feel overwhelmed with the whole thing. It's even caused my husband and I to argue because of the tension. I guess on some level I wish he would just "suck it up" and deal with her. but maybe that's not fair of me to expect that. He tells me that he feels protective over me and he sees how overwhelmed I get with her.

Do I just not talk with him about my frustration because I know that he will in turn get frustrated too? If you've experienced anything like this, will you share with me what worked for you?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

boy, can i relate to that. my mom worked out of the country for 6-8 months out of the year, so my husband and i moved into her house to take care of it while she was gone. when she was home the tension between the two was just horrible and i felt like running away. there was no working it out between the two of them. when mom decided not to go back to work in antarctica it was a real nightmare. what we ended up doing was buying a 40 foot camper/trailer and putting it in the back pasture and my hubby, myself and our son moved into it. it was heaven. now my mom has dementia and i had to move back into the house to care for her, but with him having his own space, and her having her space, it has been soooooo much nicer. of course, you dont need a 40 footer, but what about a nice small camper/trailer with a toilet, fridge, stove, maybe even a shower, that you could park in your drive or backyard or wherever and he can stay in that while she is there. you can get something pretty nice for a good price right now what with people having to sell things to survive. or do you have a friend with one you could borrow for the times she is there? that way, he's close, but has his own space to retreat to, and you can also go out and get a few "mom free" minutes to "check on hubby"!! run it by your hubby and see what he thinks. it might work!!


answers from Fresno on

I think a lot of families have this type of issue. In my family, both my mom's and my dad's families have multiple people who can't stand each other, and it seems like every holiday is rife with tension and several people won't be on speaking terms with each other. What we finally decided to do in our immediate family was to go away for the holidays! Preferably to a location that everyone else can't/won't go to. For years we went to the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite for 4 days over Christmas, and lately we've been going to the Wuksachi Hotel in Sequoia. The windy, snowy mountain roads are enough to scare off all but the family members we actually like, which was exactly our point in choosing these places!

Anyhow, the point is, if you feel like her visits are totally aggravating to you, then find a way to have these visits on your terms. If you don't want to spend the holidays around your mom, find a way to have them someplace she will choose not to go to. Or maybe you and the kids can meet your mom somewhere neutral, where she won't be staying with you (if she can afford it, suggest Disneyland or Sea World). Then the kids have great memories of a fun place Grandma took them to, and you guys are busy doing something the whole time where you don't necessarily need to interact with her constantly. Leave your husband at home. Realistically he needs to suck it up - he's putting you in the middle in a position where you need to choose between him and your mom, and that's not fair. But, given that most men have a really hard time sucking it up and dealing, keep them far, far away from each other.

From my lifetime of dysfunctional family issues, that's the best advice I can give you for what's worked for me! I hope it helps.



answers from San Francisco on

Tell your husband you understand his frustration with your mother, and that you are frustrated with her, too. If the two of you can figure out a plan for minimizing their contact while your mother is visiting you, for example, a room in the house he could retreat to, or friends he could "visit" when she is visiting you, your husband might be more willing to "suck it up" when he has to have contact with her. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Dear SH

It’s ashamed things can’t be better between the three of you, but they won’t get better if you are the only one willing to compromise. This puts you right in the middle of two people you love and it isn’t right.

Husband’s not getting on well with their mother-in-law is not a unique situation. I would suggest two possible resolutions for your sake and well-being:

You go visit your mom a few days and let your husband stay home with the kids and play mister mom.

This could produce three positive effects:

A. You have a nice quiet visit with your mom, if she gets under your skin you could always visit old friends or other relatives while you’re away or just go have some “me time” on your own.

B. Your mom will wonder why you didn’t bring the kids and you can tell her since she didn’t pay much attention when she last visited and there seemed to be tension between she and your husband, you thought she would like it better just to visit with you. Your mom might re-think how she behaves toward your family when she visits or say yes, she does prefer to visit just with you.

C. Your husband will see what its like to take care of the kids (alone) and maybe re-think how he reacts to your mother’s visits.

If your husband likes to go fishing or has some kind of hobby he does with other male friends. Let him have a mini vacation while your mother visits.

I’m not sure what result this will produce but I can almost see the smile on your husband’s face.

You might even present these scenarios to both your mom and husband and tell them straight out you love them both and it hurts you when you only get together once a year and they can’t make an effort to get along.




answers from San Francisco on

I can totally relate to this, and my husband and I can still have trouble with in-laws, but only when we don't deal with them beforehand. Our most successful visits have been after we had honest discussions about what was coming -- typical behavior, how it made us feel, and how we could approach it better as a team. He gets quiet because he doesn't know how to help -- find a way to let him in. you are a team in these visits, despite you being her actual child, because he loves you and wants to help. You need to be honest with yourself and him about the buttons that get pushed -- how can you anticipate them and react to them in a way that makes you feel OK and doesn't cause unnecessary drama? The silliest thing my husband and I do during tense family gatherings is to load up The Positive Attitude Bus. We simply decide not to get sucked in and be positive forces, act the way we want things to go. There have been times where I went around and actually invited people to get on the BUS with me (my mother refused, saying it was my FATHER who needed to get on, although he was delighted by the invitation). It's goofy I know, but knowing that my husband is my partner during these tough family times make it possible for me to even drive the Bus solo when he's not around. be strong, be honest, you two can find a way through.



answers from San Francisco on

In truth, it's probably best not to talk about your frustration with your husband. That's what girlfriends are for. Not that I take my own advice, however -- I'm sure my husband would be thrilled if I never bitched about my mother again in his presence. He's heard enough. He and I have had plenty of arguments before, during and after my mother's visits.

Guys don't really want or need to hear that sort of stuff. I suggest just letting him be quiet in your mom's presence and you go and share your frustration with your girlfriends.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches