My mother-in-law constantly compares me to my brother-in-law’s wife

By Phuong Nga   July 31, 2023 | 03:44 pm PT
My husband has two younger siblings, including a married brother.

We got married when both my husband and I were almost 35. I miscarried twice, so when I was pregnant with our first son, I was scared and worried about a lot of things. We moved back to my parents-in-law’s house, which they share with my brother-in-law and his wife, so that I could have someone take care of me.

My brother-in-law and his wife moved out right after I gave birth to our first son, so there have been just my parents-in-law, my husband and I living together since then.

My husband’s job is not fixed in terms of time, as he must pull all-nighters sometimes and has days off after that, during which he sleeps all day to compensate for the nights he must stay up. Because of that, my mother-in-law always volunteers to help me comfort my son if he wakes up in the middle of the night, which annoys me, since I ask my husband to help, not her.

There was one time when I got angry with my husband and could not help throwing a towel at him. Unfortunately, the towel landed on my mother-in-law’s face.

My husband immediately turned to me and shouted at me, saying: "You and your whole family are not even as good as my brother’s wife." He said it because my parents were busy when I just delivered our baby and could only drop by for a few minutes before leaving for their work again.

There was another time when our son caught a fever, and my mother-in-law said she would help, but she turned to her phone after a while. I told her to help me take care of the kid instead of using her phone, which made her mad and called my husband to tell him how upset she was. She even said I was not well-taught by my parents.

She has also constantly compared me to her other daughter-in-law, accusing me of treating her badly, unlike the other woman. I gradually grew distant from my brother-in-law’s wife because of this, despite having gotten on well with her before.

My brother-in-law’s wife has a lot of time to take care of my in-laws because she does not have a stable job and is self-employed. She has not even dropped by to do house chores since she and her husband moved out, but every time she meets my parents-in-law, she checks on them and talks as if she is worried about their health. I think she is hypocritical.

But my mother-in-law does not think so. Every time our whole family gathers, I am treated like a stranger, while all my mother-in-law’s care is spent on my brother-in-law’s wife.

It has been over seven months since I gave birth, so I returned to my work and let my mother-in-law take care of my son during the day. I drop home during lunch before returning to work in the afternoon, and then when I reach home again after work, it is the evening. I only have enough time to send my son to sleep before the end of the day.

But my mother-in-law complains that I never touch anything in the house. She says I only care about my son instead of giving her a hand to help her with the domestic work.

Meanwhile, she helps my brother-in-law’s wife take care of their kid without saying anything.

And that is not even all that makes me unhappy. My mother-in-law constantly compares my son to my brother-in-law’s kid, telling me how his kid can already drink so much milk or learn how to sit. These constant updates make me exhausted, as every kid has their own development pace.

I am a bit obsessed with hygiene, while my mother-in-law is rather careless. When my brother-in-law’s kid got infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease and had to stay home to be quarantined from other kids in the class, I told my mother-in-law not to drop by to avoid getting the virus, to which she ignored and brought the virus home, making my son catch the disease.

I don’t know what to do now. It is impossible for me to move out because I need someone to take care of my kid when I am at work. But if I stay here much longer, the discord between me and my mother-in-law will only grow deeper.

What should I do?

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