Email subscribe to LLC blog updates:
Your email:


Problems with mother-in-law

Mother-in-law and daughter-in-lawIn-laws, and more specifically mothers-in-law, can be a thorn in the side. This problem is ubiquitous in all cultures and Chinese are not exception.

In China, however, it is aggravated by the fact that parents often live in proximity with their sons. After all, it’s their implied responsibility to take care of grandchildren.

Of course, most couples prefer to have their own apartments, but not everyone can afford it. In such cases, young couple and husband’s parents live under the same roof. This “cohabitation” is not always peaceful and happy. And if things get really bad, some families stop caring about face and “declare a war”.

This is exactly what happened to a Chinese girl whose story was published by her friend  on one Chinese site. Below you can find the adaptation of this story.

My colleague Song is known for having a sharp tongue. What’s more – she never bothers to disguise her opinion. She always talks straight without thinking, and this resulted in a big fight with her mother-in-law just few days after she got married.

Her mother-in-law was so enraged that she immediately demanded her son to divorce. However, he didn’t follow mother’s “order”. So she decided to bitter the newly weds life by making every effort to interfere with their sexual life. [My remark: as you can understand, Song and her husband (let’s call him Jian) lived together with his mother]

Jian’s mother was asthmatic. She claimed that the odor of her own shoes was very irritating and worsened her symptoms at nights. So, before going to sleep she was putting her shoes in the couple’s bedroom. And the bedroom’s door shouldn’t be locked, since the poor lady had a habit to get up few times during night to go to the toilet. Each time she would enter their bedroom to take the shoes and then again to put them back. The filial son didn’t object to this arrangement.

According to Song, her mother-in-law’s bladder had to be emptied exactly when the couple was in the middle of lovemaking. Quickly getting down from his wife, Jian felt as a little boy caught by parents while exercising the sin of Onan. Meanwhile, his mother would unhurriedly take her shoes and even make some angry comments before leaving the room. And if the spouses tried to get back into action, vigilant mother would break in again to return the shoes.

Song and Jian had no choice but to adjust their timetable and make love in the early mornings. This ended when one morning Jian’s mother came in, unseen by her son. Although Song noticed the spooky figure behind the door, this time she intentionally didn’t alert her husband who continued doing what he was doing unaware that his mother is standing behind him and watching the whole scene.

As soon as Jian stopped moving, his mother revealed her presence and began scolding him. “You are such a shameless bastard immersed in loving your goblin. No respect to your mother whom you forgot after getting married. Even don’t look at me when I come in to take the shoes…”

Since that time they didn’t dare to make love at home. According to Song, when they can’t bear, Jian asks his good friend to let them stay at his house for a night.

Husband, wife and mother-in-lawSure, participants of this story took the situation to extreme. But there are many other ways in which relationship with in-laws can be problematic.

Take, for example, one of my best friends, Margarette.  She is a very good-tempered person and has never quarreled with her mother-in-law. Anyway, they live in the different districts of Chongqing. But Margarette complained that she feels very stressful of constantly trying to be a “perfect” daughter-in-law.

She works as a teacher in private school and towards the weekend feels absolutely exhausted. Her only wish is to get good rest and have some private space with her husband. Meanwhile, her mother-in-law is eager to take good care of children and every Saturday will go shopping, cook a lot of food and insist that kids come for a visit.

Saying “no” would be too impolite. Thus, every Saturday they take a two hour trip by bus and spend time with his mother eating, watching TV and having a walk in the neighborhood. After that the husband’s mother who lives in a big apartment will often insist that they don’t go back home, and instead sleep in her place. Sometimes they are “required” to stay for the whole weekend. It drives my friend crazy but she has little choice.

After very lengthy and long labors, nurse brought a newborn baby to mother.
“Oh, my god, – whispered the woman – I hate her so much!”
“Lady, – said the surprised nurse – this is boy.”
“I really hate her so, so much” – repeated the woman.
Nurse thought that the woman is delirious because of the drugs. But anyway she asked: “Hate whom?”
“My future daughter-in-law”

Wish Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.

Having a good relationship with future mother-in-law, Crystal Tao
(… actually, we live in different countries)

  • ziccawei

    Chinese mothers……….

    Hell no!


  • Randy

    Sometime older parents can act like children. So, they need to be respectfully treated like children. I would make a trip to the store, get mom a new pair of shoes and a lock for the door.

  • keius

    So many Chinese sons are pansies when it comes to their mom’s. Respect for one’s mother is one thing, but sometimes a man must be a man.
    For the suffering wives, they should learn the prospective hubbies standpoint on their moms before getting married.
    Also, in regards to respect to one’s wife, a man must still be a man.

    Men hate to be caught in the middle but sometime’s he’s got to lay down the law.
    As for the mother-in-law, i guess she truly wants them to get divorced. Keeping them from screwing around reduces the chances of having a grandchild.

  • sarin

    It doesn’t matter if the mother-in-law is Chinese or not. The key is whether he is the only son! Crystal, being in different countries may help, but don’t forget Skype and email exist!

  • Caseyorourke

    I’m lucky enough to have a great mother-in-law. She absolutely loves me, knows I treat her daughter very well and even the few times she does come to visit, never interferes in our private life. From what my wife has told me he followed the same pattern with all her chidren, especially the sons.

  • Django

    This is all on the husband/son. He sounds like a complete wuss that can’t stand up to his mom. If Song was to give an ultimatum I’m not so sure Jian would choose her.

  • WR

    It’s probably cultural. All of their parents grew up during the Cultural Revolution where you would get your tongue cut out of your head if you misspoke. This type of history leads one to be somewhat ‘negative’.

  • Meng

    Wait… this woman stood there watching her son have sex? eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww :???:

    My future Chinese mother-in-law is a quandary… She has two faces: one that’s sweet, caring, and understanding, and one that’s just a nightmare. To my face she’s very nice and buys me little presents and cooks and tells me how much she likes me. Behind my back, she tells her daughter that our children will be ugly, that she must break up with me immediately, and if her daughter doesn’t care about the face she’ll lose by being with me, my girlfriend should kill herself. Since she hasn’t yet taken active steps to get involved and only balabalabalas, I can endure. The moment she sticks her nose in, I won’t be so patient with 伯母. I’m not dating her, I’m dating her daughter.

    • petit bonheur

      Dear Meng,
      You are dating your girlfriend, not her mother, right.
      But in case you may want to go further and pop the question, remember that you will not only marry your to-be wife, but also her whole family, which will become part of your own family… You can’t separate your wife from her family and you can’t ask your wife to choose between you and your family. It is just as simple as that.
      A happy marriage is the base for a happy family – right. But a happy family is also the base for a happy and long standing marriage. So, my advice to all to-be husband and wife, make sure that you are going well with your future in-laws and that they like you. If you are facing some issues regarding the ones who may become your in-laws, work on it. If you can’t find solutions, reconsider seriously the idea of a marriage with the one you love. You can not love someone and hate his/her relatives – especially father and mother – it just doesn’t work. If you love someone, you have to accept, respect and care for that individual’s family, because it is just part of her or him. And that especially true in cross-culture unions.