I Was Shocked When My Husband’s Family Suggested I Needed to Be a “Traditional” Wife

Family & kids
3 weeks ago

Nothing could have prepared today's woman for the day her husband's family suggested she needed to embrace the role of a "traditional" wife. The shock she felt was overwhelming, and it forced her to confront deep-seated expectations and cultural norms that she had never fully considered.

She explained what happened.

My husband comes from a traditional family where his mother is a stay-at-home wife and his father is the sole provider. In stark contrast, my mother instilled in me from a young age the importance of never being financially dependent on a man.

My husband has worked hard to unlearn the values he grew up with. He pulls his weight at home, is an engaged father, and a genuine partner. However, he places an excessive amount of importance on his family's opinions. I understand the desire to make one's parents proud, but this often goes too far.

Currently, my in-laws are staying with us for two weeks. Normally, I prepare breakfast, we all have lunch at work or school, and my husband cooks dinner. We have a cleaner, but she's on holiday, so we're all pitching in with the cleaning. This system has always worked for us.

My in-laws, however, despise my "modern" approach to life. They dislike that I work, that I don't find my sole purpose in being a wife and mother, and that my husband shares household responsibilities. We had a frank discussion early on, where I set my boundaries and made it clear that I wouldn't tolerate criticism about how I live my life in my own home. When I'm a guest in their home, I respect their ways and act as the daughter-in-law they wish I was. They've mostly respected this arrangement.

Yesterday, I came home from work exhausted and hungry. I usually arrive around 6:15 or 6:30 PM, and we eat at 7 PM. After greeting everyone, I took a quick shower before dinner. When I came downstairs, I found that nothing had been prepared.

I asked my husband about it, but he wouldn't look at me. His mother answered instead, saying he hadn't cooked anything because I needed to fulfill my duty as a wife and cook for my family. My husband still avoided eye contact.

Frustrated, I ordered takeout, served myself and our children, and we sat down to eat. My husband and his parents joined us after serving themselves.

My mother-in-law continued to criticize me, calling me a failure. I asked my husband if he had anything to say. He sided with his mother, suggesting that it wouldn't hurt if I acted "more like a proper woman" and "took better care of my home and children." He added that tradition exists for a reason, and it was insulting that I thought I was too good for the way he was raised.

At this point, I might have crossed a line. I told him that tradition wouldn't allow a man earning 35k to support a family of five and that he was too broke to be so sexist. He looked hurt, with tears welling up in his eyes, and excused himself from the table.

I regret saying this in front of our children, but dealing with his parents' criticism and cleaning up his mess was too much for me.

People stood on her side.

  • "Should have ordered only enough food for you and the kids." WhyCommentQueasy / Reddit
  • "Next time the in-laws show up, just take the kids & leave. Let him deal with his parent’s stupidity." Shutupandplayball / Reddit
  • "What you said might have been hurtful and cutting, but it was the truth and only came out because he said - also in front of your children - that you weren't a proper woman and didn't take adequate care of your home and children." owls_and_cardinals / Reddit
  • "This is all on him. He decided it was better for him and easier for him to risk your feelings than stand up to his parents. He chose to upset you versus upsetting his mother." judgeeveryonesbiznes / Reddit
  • "You know... Normally I think you shouldn't bring up dirt in front of the kids, but kids learn to normalize what their parents tolerate. She needed to say something in front of them, so their new mother-in-law's insult and Daddy's weakness were not normal or right. Maybe not what was said, but something." CatlinM / Reddit
  • "The first thing to do is tell the ILs they are no longer welcome in your home. If the husband wants to see them, he can go visit them. I'd put strict rules in place about contact with the children. Your children should not have to listen to them denigrate their mother." squirrelsareevil2479 / Reddit

This experience has highlighted the importance of open communication and mutual understanding in a marriage. It's clear that they need to have a serious conversation about boundaries, expectations, and the pressures they face from their families.

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