My holiday to Seattle was satisfying at so many levels. I met some amazingly intellectual people and enjoyed some wise conversations.

I also met one of my virtual friends and my sister’s good friend named Sumaira. We had a lovely lunch at Home Grown cafe and then we sat in the sun at a beautiful park in the center of Redmond. We chatted about a number of subjects including joint families. I think she shared some really wise advice on how to handle joint families and I wanted to share her advice with you today.

Meet Sumaira

She is a lovely lifestyle photographer who lives in the Seattle area. She tries to find beauty in everyday life. What I liked about her is that she has a positive energy around her.

Sumaira has been married for ten years now.

She, her husband and their lovely two boys live alone but her parents in law visit them for months. She was kind enough to share some tips with me which would help me and a lot of you out there.

How to cope with in-laws living in your house

Living with in-laws has been a bone of contention in most couples. On principle, joint families don’t work. It is always best to live in separate houses.

But in our culture, it is considered normal for families to live under one roof for a really long time. That’s what makes it so hard. It’s not even about bad intentions. Even good people can’t live under one roof without having fights. I thought we really need tips to make lives easier. So I’m going to share her tips below:

Please note

  • Every case is different so just sharing some general guidelines. May or may not apply to you.
  • These tips are especially for those women who live independently with their husbands and their mother-in-law comes to stay with them for a long time
  • The case where you live in a joint family is different as it’s not your house. If you’re interested in that case, let me know.

  1. Be who you are

The first visit is important so right from the start don’t set the standards too high. Just do what you normally do. No need to go out of the way or do things which you wouldn’t be able to follow through later. Set the right expectation from the very start.

  1. Keep your usual routine

Don’t change it for them or anyone else. Do what you usually do during your days. Keep your usual routine and let them adapt to yours.

  1. Be vocal. Talk about your commitments

Keep repeating out loud all the work you have to do. Keep saying that you have to go here, do this or meet that person. So your in-laws know that you are busy in your life. Also, if they know about your commitments in advance, your plans will remain uninterrupted.

  1. Let it go

This is probably the hardest part. There are many things that your mom-in-law says and many of them hurt you if you take them to heart. Ask yourself whether or not they’re reasonable/unreasonable demands from you. If yes, make the changes, if not, just don’t bother about them. Don’t let her words hurt or bother you.

Most MILs keep repeating:

“Hamare haan tu esa hota hai. Hum tu ye karte hain wo karte hain”.

We tend to take such words personally and get offended because we larki walas are no inferior! But no need to get affected by the pressure or let it hurt you. If what she’s saying doesn’t make any sense to you, just hear it from one ear and let it go from the other.

Do what you think is right. When they pass comments on how things are happening in your house. It’s okay to keep doing things how they’re being done in your house.

  1. Keep a distance

  • No need to get too friendly.
  • Make sure you get some me-time.
  • Too much chumminess can cause friction.
  • The best way is to go to your room and spend some time alone.
  1. Be in charge of your own house especially the kitchen

Manage meals etc yourself. Give your in-laws a tour of the kitchen in the start so let them make their own tea etc. You can continue cooking for the house when they’re over. In case your MIL WANTS to make anything, she can do so but the control should be in your hands.

  1. Keep a good mahol

In a joint family, you have little control over the overall aura/environment of the home. But in your own house, you create it. You are in charge of your home’s environment (mahol). It is best not to stay bitter or let anything affect you so you can keep a happy and lively mahol of the house.

  1. Keep your husband in confidence if there’s a quarrel with mom-in-law

No need to complain to husband about every nitty-gritty detail that happens in between you and your mom-inlaw. However, if a quarrel is big, it is better to let husband know what happened between you and her. This is not to get his sympathy or vent out. But to keep him in the picture so he knows your side.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sumaira for this wonderful advice. It really is important to discuss such issues as they affect us so much.

My conclusion

I fully agree with all the points shared by Sumaira. However, I would like to add one point:

Don’t seem ignorant. Know or learn the basics

No one is an expert at everything. As compared to your MILs vast experience in life, obviously you aren’t that qualified. However, that does not mean you should be thought of as a dumbo or act like one!

I think a girl should never prove to her husband or in-laws that she’s incapable. That’ll only give them a chance to rule. Keep the control with you by being responsible, aware and proactive.

If you don’t know something, google it and learn.

Don’t say you don’t know!

A good example is if someone asks you to cook something or if you have to. No need to ask them how to cook or how to handle housework. If you don’t know, get a recipe from google or your family but don’t show your incompetence to your in-laws. Stay in control.

Talk to me

I hope this article helped you in some way.

Please let me know your thoughts.

  • Do you live in a joint family?
  • How do you handle issues with your in-laws?
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About Nadiya Najib

Hi guys! Subscribe to my blog to know about the drama that I am, my love for Pakistan and planet Jupiter and my general rambling on whats what! ? I have so much to talk about. I'm passionate about Tennis,? truck art, family trees, organizing, traveling, stamp collection, natural remedies, leaf art, social media, cats, blogging, chess and so much more! I'm always exploding with ideas. Come let's socialize. ?


  1. Thankyou for the tips…plz post some tips for living in joint family as its v depressing .

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes I’m working on another guest post to cover that topic in the next few months IA. Stay tuned. It is depressing .Good luck

      1. Thank you will take a look.

  2. Hi, that was a great read except, what does getting too friendly with the MIL mean? How much is too friendly? And what are its consequences?

    1. I think what Sumaira meant by getting too friendly was that it can cause friction later. Every woman gets busy with kids, work and life later. If she sets an expectation to be very friendly. Later it can cause inlaws to think she’s changed. Being too friendly with inlaws can also cause other issues which marriied people understand. Most experts suggest keeping a distance is in the best interest.

  3. Awesome tips

    1. Thankyou. Glad they helped.

  4. Good post…
    I thing I Wana add is…
    Your husband nd kids should must be your first priority,who lives in joint family.

    1. Completely agreed. Great point. thanks

  5. Great tips ! Though its every girls nightmare to live with inlaws, but we have to cope with whatever life gives us thanks for amazing tips 🙂

    1. True. Thank you

  6. Strongly agree with all these tips as i’m facing the same situation when my in laws visit my home during winters. Apart from that i’m the bread winner of my home as i totaly support my husband in running the house but still i was treated like a typical bahu who has to do each n everything without having any complain. But now after 5 months of extremely busy routine im getting tired 😔 in making everyone happy .. i wish i would have read these tips 5 months back…

    1. Oh. Glad you agree. Best of luck

  7. All of these tips are so relatable and straight forward and I realyyy really liked them. Waiting for next guest blog on joint family system because I am living in joint family and it sometimes really took a toll on you. eating out and having date as a couple ONLY is considered a big sin. I hope you will cover this point too.

    1. Glad you liked the ideas. I have many guest posts on my blog. All the best.

  8. That’s really nice ! Pls provide tips for living with in laws as well , it’s very tough

    1. Glad you liked it <3

  9. Hi Nadiya I like your self Esteem ideas as you are very motivated towards life.
    I want to ask that my married life becomes 8 months successful
    But my mother in law don’t want to cook my own as she cooks
    Keep groceries
    I only work with my mobile,some other chaos of home but in kitchen i have nothing to do except breakfast of my husband or my own.
    I love cooking
    I love work management
    I am very responsible
    But sometimes i feel so tiresome,,

    1. Thank you. Sorry to hear you’re unable to participate in the kitchen .joint family has many issues. Its always a major major compromise. best advice would be to try to enjoy the fun parts and try to ignore the hard ones… Glass half full.. .always! at least you don’t have to cook type reinforcements 😀 Otherwise one feels very upset which hurts us more….

  10. Great Tips.
    Kindly do an article for the joint system as well.
    Lots of love ♡

    1. Thank you. But that would be hard to write for me.

  11. very nice tips……….

    1. Thank you

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