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Would you live with your mother in-law?

20 July 2015, 19:08 Shakila Alivitsa


Nairobi - Not all of them are mean and also, not all of them are nice either. Then there are those ones that are just there-in the middle.

At the end of the day, she is the mother of your husband and you hope that the way you treat her is the way you would like any one to treat your mother when she is in their care. You also hope that if she has a daughter, she would treat you as she would like anyone to also treat her daughter.

With our generation, parents from the 90s are also considered new school in that majority of them do not have rural homes unless you are talking about the homestead their parent resides. But their own personal one? No! Most invested in buying a home in town and that was it as far as development is concerned. That is for the lucky ones meaning that at least they will not have to pay rent in their old age. Not all jobs have the best pension schemes and that NSSF, just like everything government, I would not put too much stock in it as far as they are concerned.

The other half of the 90s parents, barely managed to put you through school and so they could never have afforded to buy a home let alone build one. Meaning that they have always been paying rent, thus they technically do not own a home. So what will you do with your parents when they are old, can no longer work and barely afford their living?

You can a. continue paying rent for them b. build for them (tricky especially when you have not built for yourself) and or c. they will live with you. The c. option only applies to mothers because for some reason the fathers are usually in the village and the mother is the one tussled from one point to the other. Would you allow to live with your mother-in-law if a time came when she needed some place to stay?

Maybe she is coming to town for medical attention or maybe it is an injury and she needs along convalescence period. At times it starts as a one week stay which goes on for months and you are not going to be the bright one that asks when is she leaving? Or the one that asks why she cannot live with the other siblings because for some reason, she ended up with you guys.

It can make for an uncomfortable situation if she is the type that comes around to cause all type of drama and hefty demands. A mother-in-law that comes in and wants to dictate how you should run your household and raise your children is bound to cause tension. Or the one that runs to her son to question him about you, your lifestyle and work hours can make your husband have issues where there were none before. In such a situation, if she always comes and by the time she lives you are all strained and trying to rebuild your relationship then someone can understand why you would be hesitant but she is still coming so what will you do if it turns out to be a permanent situation.

It does happen because no African man will take his mother to some home. Ever! If you are going to be against it, you should have better reasons and be prepared to foot the bill if she has to be set up in her own place

But there are some perks especially if she is one of the good ones. At least you will have someone to watch your child with the house help. House helps cannot be trusted these days and so, a mother-in-law who is live in may come in handy but that is the only perk as far as I know.

The rest is usually not so positive. You will have to change the way you live to accommodate her. Some will not like to eat some types of food or the way you cook. She can end up talking over your household with no say from you. Her son might change, especially when it comes to communication and the way he might have been affectionate with you. To him you are number two after his mother. If she has his ear and not your best interests it can cause a mild tag of war between the three of you.

Would I live with my mother-n-law? I do not know because at times you find yourself in a situation and you just have to roll with it and know how to take control from the beginning. You can decide to be the stupid one and be a ‘mean girl’. What you need to remember is that you have a mother too and what happens if the roles are reversed and you now want her to come over. Will your husband be in support or he will give you a hard time such as the one you gave him?

In your household, what you need to know what to do, is play top dog but with sleek underhandedness no one knows what you are about. Take control of the situation before it takes control of you.

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