Saturday, July 19, 2008

Here's the story I've heard repeatedly from different women:

When I got married, I moved from my hometown to Sokcho, because my husband is from Sokcho. I didn't know anyone here except for my husband's family. My mother-in-law made my life miserable by criticizing everything I do.

One beautiful, educated woman, while recovering in the hospital from the birth of her first child, was told by her mother-in-law, "Next time, have a boy."

Another woman was told that she should have her 19-month-old son toilet trained. The same MIL wouldn't allow this pregnant daughter-in-law to order chicken at a restaurant because of AI (the avian influenza scare). Boiled chicken is safe, incidentally.

The whole situation seems to be a form of hazing. When a woman gets married, she leaves her family, her hometown, and essentially becomes part of her husband's family. Women who were treated horribly by their own mothers-in-law, in turn treat their daughters-in-law horribly, because that's just how it's done.

Matthew's Chinese co-worker says things are similar in China. She just has one daughter and has gotten a lot of grief from her mother-in-law because of that.

I feel a bit guilty when women ask me about my own mother-in-law. No, she doesn't criticize everything I do. After raising two sons, she's delighted to have two daughters-in-law. Some of my friends in the States have issues with their mothers-in-law, but those are individual personality differences, not a cultural institution.


One response to “mothers-in-law”
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and this is exactly why I refuse to marry:
1. the oldest son of the family
2. the only son of the family
3. Anyone who has a mother that expects these traditional values to continue on today....

My poor sister lives with her mother in law and deng...she can never seem to get a break from her either!

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