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The mother in-law from hell

08 June 2015, 13:22 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - I figured, since we like talking about men and their man troubles, we have to include another one that we never talk about.

See how women have a problem with the men and their mother’s, we also have men who pass through hell with their wives and the mother to their wives. Their mother in law!


We have mothers who run the homes for their daughters. Daughters who do not do anything without their mother’s consent. It is cute when she is in the cradle or when she is a teenager and she needs to ask for permission before leaving the house.

What is not cute is when she is now in her own household and her husband has to get permission from the mother. Let me explain it this way!

The daughter is the agent, the man is the principal but the daughter as the agent has a conflict of interest who comes in the shape of her mother. In business terminology, it is about making money but when it comes to a marriage and the man needs something done, the wife is the one who gets to handle that part of his life for him. The problem comes in though when the daughter depends on her mother’s advice but it is taken as far as her mother’s word being the final word in everything.


You know as women, we might complain about the mother-in-law when she crosses a line and we will know how to handle the situation when it comes up. But, what about the men and them trying to handle their mother-in-law when she crosses the line. It is easy to sit a man down and tell him how he needs to grow up and stop suckling at his mother’s breast. If he wants to, he can snap out of it! On the other hand, when you are trying to cut off the cord between a daughter and her mother when they are that close (close to the extent of passing every decision through her) you have a nuclear war in the making.

A woman can go and sit her mother in law down, lay down the rules and tell her off. Let us try see a man sit his mother in law down. First of all how does he get that situation to come up without the daughter, his wife, being around?

In some African cultures, a man cannot even hug his own mother-in-law, forget what you see on the television or on some Nollywood. In my own tribe they should not be passing each other in any corridor. Her sleeping area has to be secluded when she comes to visit.She cannot sit where he sits! It is that much of a taboo.

A man expects that when he has a wife, it is a marriage, of two people not three. It can be hard when you try to do something with your wife but she cannot give you an answer because she and her mother need to marinade over your idea. It can be hard when you try to make an investment or do business with a wife who takes her mother’s say so as the ultimate final answer. A business can be flushed down the drain because her mother does not like the looks of it. When a mother manages her daughter’s finance, you have incoming trouble as the man who is married to her or who will marry her!


Let us take a tour in the homestead. If she is running to her mother to talk about your sex life, you are in trouble son! If she is just a girlfriend, run the other direction. The only people a woman should talk about your sex life to is her gynaecologist or your family doctor. If not them, a ssenga or a sexologist if you like spicing things up!

If she is telling her mother about your latest mishap, I can feel your embarrassment, all the way from here in Kajiado! It is abit off putting to sit at the same dinner table and get that knowing look from your mother-in-law. It is even trickier when it is the talk of her (mother-in-law’s)chama sessions and you meet them at the church and they all have that look!


The worst is when the both of them feel like it is the modern times. Now let me put it this way so that I do not get into any feminists nerves. When you are married, there are certain household duties that come with you being married. I am not saying anyone should be anyone’s donkey or doormat, but as a woman we all need to know how a household is run. If you have a maid, or need to call someone, there is nothing wrong with that, I will also admit I like having a maid around. It is easier knowing that you do not have to ruin your fresh manicure.

The modern mother-in-law will ask her daughter to ask you to pay them an allowance for managing the household that the daughter lives in too. I am not talking about the household money, but the extra you need to give your wife that she shares with the said mother. If you do not cooperate, the atmosphere can get a little cold in the house. From you not getting any breakfast or dinner, to you having to run your clothes yourself to the laundry. Down to your last knickers. That is how tough some men have it out here. You just do not here about it because it is much better for him to keep quiet without sounding like a fool paying too much attention to a person who seems insignificant to you. Yours may know how to mind her business but not all of them are okay in the head.


When we talk about a woman being intelligent, men need to realize we are talking about much more than her sitting down and talking to you and your cronies without being flustered. We are talking about a woman knowing herself and knowing how to handle her business without anybody’s intervention. Having enough smarts to know when a certain line can be crossed, where she is wrong or right and her knowing her place in your life. Because the truth is, there is only so much time you will spend eating, and sleeping with her. Where does the other 24hours go? You two handling various avenues of your life and you just need to know that the person you are with is normal as well. Not lead to your embarrassment, bankruptcy and the like.

That is how you avoid mother-in-law running your home. Getting a smart wife who can handle her own business.

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