I’m afraid living with my mother-in-law may lead to unavoidable arguments

By Thu Huyen   May 14, 2024 | 03:01 pm PT
The relationship between my mother-in-law and me has not been good, partly because I got pregnant before marriage, which makes her look down on me.

My husband and I have been married for nine years, and we have two children. Despite that, I feel like my life is stagnant and really want to find a way out.

My mother-in-law and I don’t get along. We come from different regions in the country, so our cultural values are very different. Since I got a premarital pregnancy, she didn’t allow me to enter her home through the main gate on my wedding day, which made me very upset and decide that I don’t like her either.

Having recently started my career, I don’t own a house yet, and my mother-in-law openly disrespects me for that without being aware that both my education level and salary are much higher than her son’s. It’s just that I graduated recently and haven’t saved enough yet.

When I first moved in, she would nitpick about everything, even the smallest things, like how to prepare food or which vegetables go well with what. Even when I followed her instructions, she would criticize and sometimes contradict herself, which made me very frustrated.

My husband and I spent a lot of money renovating my in-laws’ house, where we’re living, before getting married. We even had to borrow from others. Since my husband’s family was very poor, and he only found a high-paying job two months before we got married, both of us contribute in paying the debts. Still, I feel like I’m just an outsider, not in my own home.

Every family gathering I have participated in since getting married revolves around my husband’s relatives, as my family lives far away. By contrast, my husband’s younger sisters often come to visit my mother-in-law. They even stay with us on all holidays, weekends, and Tet Lunar New Year.

However, when my parents come to visit, my mother-in-law always shows her discomfort and makes things difficult. My parents adore me, who has to live far away from them after getting married, so they don’t say anything, but my mother-in-law’s attitude is very obvious, which makes me dislike her a lot.

My husband and I both work office jobs, and we bear the family’s financial pressure, but my mother-in-law refuses to help with household chores. Thus, I have to take care of everything at home, from housekeeping to cooking, shopping, and taking care of the children, while my mother-in-law goes around gossiping with neighbors and other women, claiming she works hard from morning till night. In fact, the only thing she does all day is gardening in her small garden. When my husband and I suggested she stop gardening because it’s not profitable, she refused. All of her expenses are on my husband and me.

I’m expecting our third baby, but I’m very afraid and don’t want to ask my mother-in-law to take care of them. The two previous times she took care of my children, I suffered a lot.

Even when I stayed up all night to take care of the babies and got tired during the day, my mother-in-law would come up with various excuses to avoid taking care of them for me. Sometimes she doesn’t even touch them for a whole month. She cooks a whole pot of food for me to eat for three days for her convenience, while it is unhealthy for a woman postpartum.

Due to my previous two cesarean sections and the need to stay up at night taking care of my children, along with the stress, my health declined postpartum. I fear that I won’t have enough strength to take care of my newborn this time, so I am considering asking my mother to come and stay with us. But having her stay for a long time worries me because I care a lot about my mother while fearing that my mother-in-law will make things difficult for her.

I discussed with my husband about building a separate house for my mother-in-law near ours because she also wants to live independently, but she doesn’t have the money or land, and my husband keeps hesitating.

Honestly speaking, I have no affection for my mother-in-law and even dislike her. If she takes care of me after birth this time, I fear that I won’t be able to control myself against her attitude, and things might go too far. What should I do now?

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