If you thought you could never hear the end of your mother-in-law’s demands, wait until you read my friend’s story, writes Tatiana Saina
I thought I had the most demanding mother-in-law until I heard the story of a friend whose mother-in-law is young, upbeat and can go to any mile to impress her friends. She is the type that loves a good life. My friend says she had given up trying to control her husband from promptly responding to his mother’s whimsical demands.
At the beginning, my friend said she didn’t understand why her mother-in-law was not like her own mother who worked hard to earn a living for herself even if most of her children were already employed.
My friend’s mother-in-law demanded the best clothes, the latest hairdos, a permanent and well-furnished house and the best food, yet she wasn’t willing to work. At first, my friend said she felt that her mother-in-law’s intention was to compete with her; that she felt she had as much right to her son’s provision as his wife.
Because she wanted to impress her in-laws, my friend did not withhold money during the first years of her marriage. She would promptly respond to ‘small’ needs like paying for sugar and other home utility debts accrued by her mother-in-law in the nearby kiosk and butchery.
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Whenever her mother-in-law needed a new hairdo, which was likely to be the latest weave upcountry, she would ‘please-call-me’ my friend and would instantly receive money on her phone.
No love lost
With time, however, my friend became wiser. She realised that her sacrifices did not translate to more love and acceptance from her mother-in-law and other in-laws. Her home needs were also more demanding now that she had children and she could not afford any spare cash for her mother-in-law’s pleasures.
My friend also realised that her mother-in-law made the same demands on her other daughter-in-law, her two daughters and her son (my friend’s husband). She decided she was no longer going to give her mother-in-law more money and made it clear to her husband. She also tried to control the amount her husband gave to his mother, but with many modes of sending money, especially through the phone, she realised her efforts were futile. She gave up and decided she could live with it.
However, when her mother-in-law recently asked her son for new seats because she felt that the ones she had were worn out, my friend could not take it. It was barely two months since my friend and her husband had borrowed a loan to finance a small car they had bought to supplement the family car. They, therefore, needed all the cash they could get to meet their regular family needs.
Therefore, when her husband said he was getting a small loan from a friend to buy the seats, my friend was enraged. She tried to explain to her husband that the seats were not urgent and that they could wait until they had finished paying off the car loan, but her husband was adamant. He went ahead to get the Sh100,000 loan and bought her mother the seats she wanted. My friend didn’t speak to him for more than a week.