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Do you accept living with your mothers-in-law and why?

January 20, 20190 Comments

After asking 50 Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti women (who insisted to remain anonymous) if they accept to live with their mothers-in-law, I received the same answer from 48 women: “A BIG FAT NO!!!” As for the remaining two women, one is a mother-of-four – she and her husband work two jobs and have very bad experiences with nannies, so she decided that the best solution is to live with her mother-in-law, who takes care of the kids; the other woman said yes because her mother-in-law was standing next to her. (I’m sure it was out of courtesy.)

I’m lucky that I have a very good mother-in-law, but still, when I asked myself if I accept to live with her, my answer wasn’t different from the 48 women who said no. I’m a woman who adores my privacy and independence. Even if the mother-in-law is a woman that doesn’t poke her nose in other people’s business, whether we accept it or not, she may have a tendency to criticize her son’s wife – it’s only human nature.

A lot of working women prefer not to hire a helper or nanny to live and assist in the house and choose to clean and cook by themselves (I’m one of them). So you cannot expect the house to be clean and tidy 24/7. Sometimes you tidy it as much as you can during the week and on weekends, you deep-clean it. If you are living with your mother-in-law, imagine what will happen if she sees dirty spots, untidy rooms or creased clothes?!

Do you think she will keep silent and mind her own business and understand that you are a working woman and don’t have the time, or will she criticize you? The first thing that will cross her mind is that you are incompetent, untidy and don’t take care of your home, and will look with disgust at how filthy your place is. This will definitely cause a lot of tension between you and her, which will lead to a definite war.

CCTV camera
In Kuwait, it is normal that when a man gets married to live with his parents in the same house, usually the parents give the newlywed couple the upper floor, or the father will build several apartments in the same building and give it to his sons to avoid paying rent. If the wife is lucky, there will be a different entrance to her apartment or the floor she is residing in. If not, she will be obliged to pass by her in-laws and go out through the same entrance, and will be monitored every time she leaves or enters the house.

Most women hate it and feel uncomfortable. It’s like there is a CCTV camera in the house that is watching all their moves 24/7. This situation definitely increases tension in the house, especially if the mother-in-law is the detective type and gets pleasure in informing the husband about every teeny-weeny detail of his wife’s moves. In this situation, the house will be like a warzone between the wife and the mother-in-law, because she will feel that her privacy is being invaded, which will probably lead to divorce, especially if the husband is not supportive and is a “mama’s boy”.

Moreover, every time she wants to go outside the house, she will be obliged to greet her husband’s family and their friends, and their friends’ friends and people she doesn’t even know. No one has the energy to socialize all the time. What makes the situation even worse is that she feels obliged to have dinner, breakfast or lunch with them at the weekends because she doesn’t have any excuse not to, since they live in the same house! While all she wants to do on her weekends is to stay home, rest and simply do nothing.

One must never generalize an idea, but when I asked these 48 women about the reasons that make them refuse to live with their mothers-in-law, they gave me a list of types about their mothers-in-law:

1) The detective/nosy mother-in-law
2) The pretender mother-in-law
3) The two faced mother-in-law
4) The troublemaker mother-in-law’
5) The jealous mother-in-law
6) The pathological lying mother-in-law
7) The manipulator mother-in-law
8 ) The pretending sick mother-in-law ( to receive sympathy)
9) The malicious/mean mother-in-law
10) The dictatorial mother-in-law
11) Malign and powerful mother-in-law
12) The vindictive/ spiteful/ grudge-holding and punishing mother-in-law

No wonder these women insisted their names to be anonymous! Nowadays, women are different and more liberated than previous generations and are not ready to compromise their freedom or privacy to please their husbands or mothers-in-law, unless they have no choice due to financial problems or if the wife knows for a fact that it would be for a short period of time until she has a place of her own. In-law relationships are very tricky. You should be very smart when dealing with them and never let your guard down. Of course there are exceptions, but for those who are suffering from their mothers-in-law, my humble opinion is you move out ASAP if you really want to save your marriage.

By Sahar Moussa

What about you, do you accept living with your mothers-in-law and why?

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