It would appear that China is experiencing an unforeseen side-effect of a one child-policy: overbearing parents. Thankfully, this isn’t quite at the embarrassing level of Japan’s monster parents making demands of all unfortunate souls who come in contact with their children.
No, in China it seems it’s just the wives who are bearing the brunt of their in-laws suffocating ways. It’s believed that the number of divorces filed due to irreconcilable differences between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are on the rise, but this book, which is packed with real-life wife-versus-mother-in-law accounts, might help.
■ “Maybe our son should come live with us.”
Early on in her marriage, Ms. Guo had trouble with the amount of doting her parents-in-law did on her husband, but she learned to deal with it during the first five years of her marriage. However, things began to reach the breaking point when Ms. Guo got pregnant. Naturally when a woman is pregnant she needs lots of attention and support from those around her. Luckily her in-laws would check in on her every day.
“Are you making our son’s meals the right way?” they would ask, along with, “Don’t forget to keep taking care of our son properly too!”
Then when the baby was born, Ms. Guo’s mother-in-law had the perfect idea: “Maybe our son should come and live with us for a while. It would be good for your body. But don’t worry I can help you raise the child.”
To which Ms. Guo snapped and replied, “Lots of fathers change diapers and give milk. Why can’t he?!”
The Guos’ marital status is currently unknown, but chances are it might not be in the best of shape.
■ Stolen kisses in the night
Submitted for your approval is one Ms. Geng who was told by her husband beforehand that marriage would involve living with his widowed mother. She thought nothing of it at the time.
Filial piety is the concept of honoring and supporting one’s parents. It is practiced all over Asia but probably nowhere quite as earnestly as in China where grown children go to great lengths to look after their aging parents. So Ms. Geng had no reason to be alarmed at that marriage condition.
Even two years into the marriage, Ms. Geng’s mother-in-law would insist on doing her son’s laundry. While that might seem like a good thing, it dented Ms. Geng’s pride somewhat as the chief home-maker. Even when her mother-in-law would only cook her son’s favorite foods Ms. Geng wasn’t thrilled but didn’t feel it was enough to rock the boat.
However, her limit was reached one late night when she just happened to awaken from a deep sleep. Looking up from her pillow she saw her mother-in-law leaning over the bed kissing her husband while he slept.
The next day she decided to confront the mother-in-law about it, who denied any midnight kissing saying, “I was just straightening out the blankets.” Ms. Geng then went to her husband who was surprised but played it down saying, “We used to sleep together a long time ago… Don’t you think you’re blowing this out of proportion?”
Seething, Ms. Geng responded “Even if she is your mother, does that give her the right to invade the privacy of a couple in their own bedroom late at night!?”
She is currently considering divorce.
Do the daughters-in-law need to lighten up and respect the paternal bond more? Or is it the in-laws need to lay off and cut the cord?
In matters such as these I often refer to the wise judgment of the immortal bard, the Fresh Prince William of Bel Air who perhaps said it best: “So to you all the kids all across the land; Take it from me, parents just don’t understand.” By which I believe Sir Smith is saying that the husbands are really the ones who should put their big-boy pants on and get their families in order.