Chapter: Mother-in-law

Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

My mother-in-law, she’s not a bad person

My mother-in-law is a good person. She serves the family, prepare meals, make the house spotless, and is always at home to receive parcel. 

I admire that she is discipline to work around the house. If it was me, I’d sleep all day and only get up for food and toilet trips. Who cares about dried leaves on the car porch.

Living under the same roof

When we plan for our marriage, my husband insisted we stay with her mom, in the same house he grew up in. His father had passed away three years ago, he wants to take care of her. I have a 90 year old grandma, I understand. But I also warned him, if things go sour, its a one-way trip. It’ll be difficult, or maybe impossible to mend things. 

My mother-in-law (MIL) cooks dinner for me, and I only pay a small amount of money for the food. It’s healthy and readily at hand. I liked it. I told my dad I was so blessed to have meals at home waiting for me. She is not the devil mother-in-law like my friends / relative / generally all women said. 

11 months fast forward, I slowly noticed something is not right. I’m rather slow on getting vibes like this. But I am still grateful to stay in the house, everyone got what they want. My husband wants to live with his mom, I don’t have to pay expensive mortgage or decide the curtain colours. The house is 5km away from my grandma’s. There are things that I dislike and disagree, but it is insignificant and I learned to ignore.

Later, I noticed she would argue with my husband, in a language I don’t understand, and I picked up she’s scolding stuff about me. They were speaking Hakka, I speak cantonese and know some Korean. These three languages occasionally cross and shares same vocabs. I was right next to them but I can’t understand completely.

The first time it happened, the story goes: They have a wet and a dry kitchen, which you’re not suppose to wash any food with grease in the dry kitchen. She didn’t tell me anything in the face, she chose to had a row with my husband instead. 

I started to see piles of my clothes left aside unattended.

On the 12h month, they argued again. This time I asked my husband what was it about, he revealed everything to me. 

  • I have too much clothes ( I have hyperhidrolysis) 
  • My espresso machine is dirty 
  • I did not help ironing my husband’s clothes 
  • I stayed too much in the room 
  • I eat unhealthy
  • After I cook, I did not clean the way she prefers
  • I talk or smiled too little, it looks like I’m not happy living in the house

I was furious at the comments. I felt betrayed. She was treating me kind and nice on the outside, but secretly loathed me on the inside, she’s been wearing a mask for the past few months, I feel naked. I am in rage that she is pretentious all this while. 

I rented a room and moved out the next day. 

  • I was totally willing to wash my own clothes on the first day. Then my husband said we should mix, else I’ll act like I treat the MIL as an outsider
  • I did not help ironing my husband’s clothes. Why would I? I did help on and off, at least 11 times the past 11 months, but that’s only when I feel like doing it. 
  • I stayed too much in the room. That’s true. I like to yoga, piano, and watch tik Tok on my bed, that’s my me time. 
  • The kitchen, I can only say 1 kitchen fits only 1 woman owner. She owns the kitchen undoubtedly.
  • Well my espresso machine and the fact I don’t do small talk with MIL. Those are true.

Do not take it personally. 

If my husband marries Anne Hathaway, these events would still happen. Maybe not so soon in 12 months, I believe Anne would stretch it to 24 months. 

If I am the Mother-in-law, I would hate my daughter-in-law too. I hate anyone that is more skinny than me for a start.


After the event, my perspective has changed. I detested myself, I had to resume my therapist session with Thrive well. Gosh I need to talk things out.

While I used to think my MIL is an above average housewife, now I think that she’s:

  • fat and always sit ugly in front of the TV
  • Fucking hoarder
  • Fat and she deserves it
  • No wonder she has no friends 
  • Can’t fucking drive?
  • Your other son is fat too 
  • Pretentious vegetarian (she eats meat now) 
  • Your family is awful at handling Covid-19, they are the one that rush to hoard toilet rolls when the pandemic broke out
  • They got covid before us. THAT IS NICE! LET’S CELEBRATE
  • Her religion is awful. They only taught you to be selfish.
  • They are troublesome. Make fuss out of nothing. 
  • They departed too early to the airport.
  • They bring too much stuff to travel. Fucking water dispenser
  • You’re so choosy. On everything.

Yes, I had started to judge people.

I constantly have emotions break down, my behaviour is monstrous, and most importantly, I can’t seem to control and be rational when the negativity hits.

In the exact words I told my therapist. “Back then I wasn’t perfect or Mary Anne, but I certainly believe the world was up to scratch. Damn I hated this, I want to get back on how I view the world, sometimes ugly but there is hope. Now I think Satan would happily give me a premium member card.”  

My perspective changed. I started to hate stranger for no reason. I now believe there IS rotten people in the world. There IS people that can’t be saved. 

Children and Investment

I understand that its not about I changes too much clothing or I wear too little fabric in the house. If I were to put myself in the same position:

A housewife raised a son, she invested all her time and possibly money onto this project. And the son is now treating another woman nice and talk softly to her. He works his ass off and buy meaningless fresh flowers for that woman, while I got nothing. This woman roams freely in the house I spent my life to keep neat and in order.

Yes, I never like flower bouquets. But now I do! My son can’t be buying flowers just for her slutty wife, can he?

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

Well if I’m an investor this doesn’t sound good. That’s the core problem with Chinese culture, to a lot of parents, children are investment. Someone to provide back to them, when they get old and wobbly.

If my MIL is reading this, I would love to let you know:

Hi mom,

  • Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. The relationship between mother & daughter-in-law, especially in the Chinese culture, is meant to fail.
  • If it’s not today, I will hate you later either way.
  • If we’re not mother-daughter in law, we won’t be friends either. We are brought-up in different eras, we are educated differently, we both like to take control in certain things. We can be both successful individually, but still have different opinions and way to live
  • If you’re gonna act like an ass, I’m gonna treat you like an ass. No matter how close that ass is riding to the floor (quote from 2 Broke Girls)
  • We can add some distance to make things less gruesome

Author: DonaLiew

I copy and paste an article from Quora, I can’t summarise things better than this writer:

Me and my husband are in another country. So I don’t live with my in laws but i have lived with them for few months here and there. They are very nice, great and extremely supportive. However there are cons associated as well.Anonymous (Quora)

  1. Husbands divided attention: my huby is quite attached to his family. So whenever we are visiting them, hes totally into his family. So much that he would prefer to sleep with them than with me. I am 3 months pregnant and my in laws visited us last month. I must say i received no attention or care from husband during this month. When we are by ourselves, my huby is the most caring, loving and sweetest person. But he changes completely around his parents. This is a big trade off me. Husband doesnt know how to create a balance, and divided love is something i struggle to make peace with.
  2. Lets face it, in laws are not like real parents. I can say my real parents anything without offending them. Its not the same with in laws. For example, mom i am tired today, so cant do the dishes. Or mom please don’t burp loudly, or dad please use sanitizer before eating something etc etc. In laws will for sure mind it.
  3. One kitchen/house can be run smoothly by only 1 women. I want things differently, i like different decor, different crocerry but mom in law has a different taste. So obviously am not running a house according to my wish when with in laws.
  4. Privacy is always at stake with in laws. I cannot wear shorts, night suits and roam around in the house in clothes i like. Intimacy with husband is at its min with in laws around. Privacy becomes a compromise. Again a deal breaker for me.
  5. My in laws are very nice people. I dont deny that. But when we are living together, things happen. In laws and daughter in law relation is designed to fail. Its hard to adjust at times. Unfortunately, I respect and love them a lot more when we are apart

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