I Told My MIL That I Will No Longer Clean or Cook for Her
In some cultures, marriages unite not just two individuals but entire families. Cultural differences can significantly complicate such relationships, causing stress for both partners. This is exactly what happened to a woman who decided to share her story online.
What actually happened:
I (21) am heavily pregnant with twins and have a 2-year-old son. My husband (27) insisted that we have his mom move in with us due to her losing her husband (6 months prior) and older age.
Since then, I felt uncomfortable living with my mother-in-law because she is extremely nitpicking and always finds something wrong with the way I do things. I’m from another culture than her, but I do my best to respect her culture.
Ever since she moved in with me, she has been ordering me around and since she is my husband’s mother I have been doing my best to please her, but no matter what I do, I can’t.
She finds some kinda fault with everything I do! It has gotten so stressful for me that it ends up leaving me in tears. This one time she asked me to cook a dish from her homeland, but she refused to help me prepare. And she took only one bite to tell me it was awful and threw her whole plate out.
With cleaning, she’s always watching me, telling me that I’m not cleaning right and that she doesn’t understand how her son could marry someone who doesn’t even know how to be a wife.
I just feel like she’s disrespectful and when I try to ask her to treat me better she’ll go run to my husband claiming I was the one being disrespectful to her.
I’m pregnant and exhausted and can no longer cope with this, so I told my mother-in-law that enough is enough and that I’m no longer doing anything for her until she learns to treat me with respect and whether she likes it or not I’m the mother of her grandson and unborn granddaughters which makes me family.
She told me that women out here don’t know how to respect their elders, and she’s disgusted her son chose me. She ended up calling my husband, which of course my husband heard her side of the story and sympathized with his mom without even listening to me.
He’s upset and thinks I should be putting more effort into keeping the relationship with his mom, especially because she is still grieving.
But the thing is, I brought this to my husband’s attention enough times and all he did was downplay his mom’s actions and claim that she’s warmed up to me soon enough, which she hasn’t.
How people on the net responded:
Netizens came to defend the author which is understandable, here is what some of them have said:
- You have a husband problem, not a MIL problem. If your husband continues to prioritize his mom over you, this will continue. XxQueenOfSwordsXx / Reddit
- I would leave this man so quickly he’d get whiplash. He’s always going to be on his mom’s side. I recommend recording an instance where she’s being horrible and asking him to downplay that.
You’re PREGNANT. She needs to take care of herself. Give him an ultimatum. Tell him it’s either you and the kids or her. He can’t have both in the same house. yasnovak / Reddit
- You should firmly tell your husband that he needs to get on board with your plan and not allow his mom to treat the mother of his kids this way. If he disagrees and continues to ask you to serve his mother, then you should stop doing anything for him as well until he gets his mom to leave or tells her to treat you right. You are pregnant and don’t deserve this type of stress. Culture is irrelevant here.
The way she is treating you is inexcusable, and you should refuse to put up with both her actions and your husband’s enabling of her. Right now they are more of a burden to you than a help, and until that changes, you should refuse to participate in the system they created. Ki****Diva / Reddit
What psychologists may say?
If you are facing a problem with your MIL or your in-laws come from different cultural backgrounds, and you want to maintain good relationships with them, psychologists suggest doing the following:
When your mother-in-law perceives you as a challenge to her relationship with her son or daughter, she may attempt to regain her position by meddling in your family affairs. It’s important to be aware of her tactics to assume control over your family. Rather than reacting strongly out of dislike, discuss the situation with your partner and seek their input on the most effective solution. Maybe it’s even will be better for your MIL to live apart for some time, at least till the point you give birth to your babies.
Invite your mother-in-law for a casual outing over coffee or lunch and express your desire to have a conversation about the situation. Begin by clarifying that your intention isn’t rooted in anger or frustration, but rather in seeking to comprehend her perspective. Emphasize the importance of understanding the reasons behind her critical behavior, as there might be an underlying issue causing her distress. Approach the discussion as a collaborative effort, aiming to uncover the root cause and work together toward finding a resolution.
Some essential subjects may cause conflicts when differing cultural perspectives are involved. If your in-laws hold contrasting views on these matters compared to yours, consistently emphasize that these aspects are deeply personal. Stress that you and your spouse require the autonomy to make your own decisions regarding these areas of life, regardless of any differing opinions from your in-laws.
For the other woman, things got even worse, so she asked her 72-year-old mother-in-law to leave their home. Read her full story here.