My daughter-in-law’s real thoughts revealed as she wants to move out

By Ngoc Ha   May 6, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
I once believed my daughter-in-law to be obedient, but when she started insisting on living separately, I realized what she truly thought.

Recently, my son and daughter-in-law announced their decision to move out, which made me very sad. They have been living with us since they got married, but now they said their five-year-old child is about to start first grade, so they want to have their own house to choose the child’s school. They plan to build their new home a few kilometers away from us, closer to my daughter-in-law’s workplace.

This decision left my husband and me wondering why they were so intent on moving out when we had not treated them poorly. After feeling frustrated for a few days, I called my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild to discuss their reasoning. I clearly expressed that we wanted their family to stay here, to which my son and daughter-in-law responded with things I had never thought about.

Over the years, during holidays and festivals, my daughter-in-law would go to the market, buy groceries, and meticulously handle all the cooking. During family memorial services, she would go to the market a day in advance and wake up early the next morning to cook. I greatly appreciated this because before she joined the family, I had to handle everything, and my daughters did not help much.

In the first year of their marriage, my daughter-in-law was still unfamiliar with household chores. On that year’s seventh lunar month’s full moon festival, when I returned from the market at 7 a.m. and noticed no one had prepared the chicken for the offering, I scolded both my son and daughter-in-law. Since that day, my daughter-in-law has remembered every memorial service and festival in our family.

Now, when I return from the market, she has nearly finished cooking. While my two daughters sleep until 9 or 10 a.m., my daughter-in-law never disturbs them or shows any envy. She says finishing her work early allows her to rest sooner and reduce fatigue, so she quietly wakes up early to complete all the tasks.

My elderly mother lives in Northern Vietnam while we are in the South, so I spend about a month each year back in my hometown caring for her. Now that my daughter-in-law is here, I don’t have to worry about anything while staying with my mother. Despite working six days a week, sometimes with overtime, my daughter-in-law still handles the meals and household chores for my husband.

So, I want my son’s family to continue to stay with us to help with meals, household chores, and watching over the house when I have to spend extended periods with my mother. Among our three children, only my son’s family lives close to us and can be counted on in this matter. Both of my daughters live 20 kilometers away.

I suggested to my daughter-in-law that if she wanted privacy, she could set up a separate kitchen, and we would maintain our personal space while still living together. However, she refused, arguing that now, in their 30s, if she and my son don’t strive to have their own house, they risk losing the chance forever. She believes that while their money may run out, a property like a house will remain forever and will also serve as an example of independence for their grandchildren.

She added that owning a house is their ideal and that living together with us prevents them from expressing some of their thoughts. She said that separate meals within the family would cause unnecessary gossip and weren’t her motivation for moving out.

We also brought up the topic that my husband has a hot temper. Once, he scolded our daughter-in-law and even cursed her parents because my grandchild cried when the TV was turned off. My husband dislikes crying children, so every time our grandchild cries, he yells. My daughter-in-law said she couldn’t handle it anymore, so she and my son found land, took out a bank loan, and bought it after that incident.

They have since paid off the land debt and now plan to borrow more to build a house. I don’t want them to borrow, as it will take several more years to pay off.

I advised my son and his wife to have another child soon, as they might struggle to conceive in a few years. Part of me also believes that if they have another child, they won’t have the money to build a house, which would keep them with us. However, they refused, saying that building a house is their priority, and having children depends on fate.

They complained that living with us makes it hard to see their friends. They feel embarrassed when their friends or my in-laws visit, as we often lock our house gate at 7 p.m. If my son and daughter-in-law want to go out on weekends, my husband and I have to wait by the door since it can only be locked from the inside. As a result, my children feel reluctant to go out and have little time for social relationships.

However, we have no issue with them inviting friends over whenever they want. Our house rarely has visitors because my husband doesn’t socialize, and I find guests a hassle to cook and clean for, not because we prevent them from inviting their friends over.

My daughter-in-law also mentioned that sometimes my son wishes for a Sunday where he can sleep in, but he always gets woken up early at 6 or 7 a.m. to look after the house. As a mother, I had never noticed this.

Because of these reasons, my son and his wife said the fact that they move out would allow everyone in the family to see their responsibilities more clearly and not place all burdens on them. In the coming years, there will be no more instances where my daughters sleep until noon while my daughter-in-law and I handle cooking and ancestral worship preparations.

My daughter-in-law assured me that moving out doesn’t mean they won’t let us see their child. They will still rely on us, and since their new house will only be a few kilometers away, they can visit anytime. She said I could return to the North to take care of my mother anytime I want and that she would manage everything at home.

The discussion made me understand my daughter-in-law’s deep thoughts. Before, I saw her as obedient.

I want to add that my son is my husband’s child from a previous marriage, but I have raised him since he was 10 and treated him like my own. My husband and I are still young and have our own income, so we don’t need to rely on our children yet.

Our house is large, and we plan to divide it among our children in the future. If my son stays with us, he will receive a larger share than my two daughters, but my daughter-in-law doesn’t seem to understand this. I even cried in front of her, but she remained resolute.

What do you think about my situation?

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