By Tatiana Saina
Just like any mother, my mother-in-law loves her children and would rather carry their burdens than see them suffer. One of my sisters-in-law had a child just before she joined college and had to defer for a year. When it was time for her to go to college, it was obvious that my mother-in-law would be left with the burden of caring for the child.
For the last four years, she has cared for the little girl with little or no help from my sister-in-law who completed college last year and got a job. When I asked my husband why mother-in-law continues to care for the child yet its mother was stable enough to take responsibility, he said his sister’s pay was too little to support her child. What crap! Whose problem was that? I wondered.
I couldn’t help comparing the situation with my sister who got pregnant while in college and had to find a means to support her child. I have always admired my parents’ tough love because it taught my siblings and I to be responsible for our actions.
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Anyway, I told myself it was none of my business and I had no right to interfere with other people’s lives.
This was until recently when my mother-in-law called to ask if her granddaughter (my sister-in-law’s daughter) could stay with us during the holidays. She said the little girl had no one to stay with as my mother-in-law went about her business.
I was pissed off! How can I take care of a child whose parent was not only alive, but employed and enjoying her freedom?
This resulted in a major argument with my husband who didn’t see the big deal in the little girl staying at our house for one month. I told him it had nothing to do with the food she was going to take or even the space at our house. I just didn’t see the reason for carrying sister-in-law’s burden when she was able to do it.
My husband delivered the bad news to my mother-in-law who also didn’t understand my position. When she called me to discuss the matter, I couldn’t resist telling her how she was tolerating irresponsibility in her daughter by carrying her burden and letting her go scot-free. Of course she thought I was being inconsiderate, but I didn’t care; I had passed my message.
Meanwhile, I called my sister-in-law and gave her a piece of my mind. She stuck to the lame excuse of little pay, but I told her to grow up and take responsibility. I saw no reason for the little girl to go to a rural nursery school when her mother could sacrifice to pay for a better education.
When I asked my husband how the ‘problem’ was solved, he said his mother had taken the child to stay with a relative living nearby.