It’s the first week of 2019, and the holiday season has ended. The holidays can be a trying time for everyone, especially those who are living with their in-laws.
From my conversations with people I met, I will be sharing the good, bad and ugly side of moving in with the in-laws based on their personal experience. Some names have been changed at the request of those interviewed. (Perhaps probably out of fear of their in-laws!)
1. You can get a lot of parenting help.
The early days of parenting can be really tough. Most couples go through many problems once a baby comes in their lives.
“Having my mother-in-law around means that I can get some help,” said Jess, who welcomed her first child last July.
The 28-year-old Thai national who moved into her husband’s home in Brunei after marriage said, “As my parents are back home in Bangkok, my mother-in-law has been my rock. She knows exactly what to say when I feel the blues or whenever I feel overwhelmed with motherhood.”
2. There is always a babysitter at home.
Day care for kids can be pricey.
“Having your in-laws around means free babysitting,” said Saiful.
“I would prefer my my kids in the care of their grandparents,” the father of 2 said. “I don’t have to leave them in the care of a stranger when my wife and I go to work.”
3. You can always have someone to share the household chores with.
After marriage, especially when you are juggling between being a mother and a working professional, tackling all the household chores on your own is hard work. Having other adults around means everyone can share the load of household duties.
“There are times when I feel that there aren’t enough hours in a day for me to complete my tasks,” said Sally, a mother of 4. “My in-laws help me with the loads of laundry at home whenever my husband and I are at work.”
1. Lack of privacy.
All couples should be allowed to have their private time together. But with your in-laws constantly around, you may no longer be able to spend quality time with your spouse at home. And it is their home you are living in, you’ll have a hard time telling them to give you time alone.
2. Too much familiarity can breed contempt.
When it comes to in-laws, no matter how awesomely cool they are, it is always better to keep a safe distance. Before marriage, you might be the nice girlfriend who is such a pleasure to have around. But a few months into the marriage, you might become the lazy daughter-in-law who refuses to clean up or the wife who can’t cook. Your beautiful relationship would then go down the drain.
3. They’ll expect you to answer to them.
You might be grown-ups already but to your parents, you will still be the children.
It might be great to be treated as the little princess when you are young – but not when you have a family of your own. Acting like daddy’s little girl or a mama’s boy is not going to be good for your relationship with your spouse. Aside from this, living in your in-law’s house gives them a sense of authority over the both of you. After all, it is their house. So it has to be their rules.
Living with your in-laws won’t give you total freedom. You would have to tiptoe around them to be sure that you won’t be offending any sensibilities. However, if you don’t mind following their rules, then living with them may not be such a bad thing.
“Oh gosh! I just can’t wait to move in with my in-laws!” Says no one ever.
Women notoriously find their husband’s mother to be a destructive force, as what actresses Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh portrayed in the 2018 movie, “Crazy Rich Asians”.
“Did you know that living with the in-laws can be bad for one’s health?” said Kristen, who moved out of her in-law’s house a couple of years ago and is now living with her parents.
The mother of 3 said, “At first, my mother-in-law was unhappy that I was moving out. She even confronted me if it was something that she did that made me want to move out. I was upfront with her and told her that I needed space. A few weeks later, my mother-in-law gave me her blessings to move out with my husband and children.”
According to Kristen, she and her mother-in-law now have a closer relationship than when they were both living under the same roof.
Kristen cited a report, which suggested that women are up to three times more likely to develop serious heart disease if they live under the same roof as their extended family. The stress of acting as daughter, mother and partner can damage the heart by causing high blood pressure and even diabetes.
For the study, researchers looked at the effects of living arrangements on almost 91,000 healthy middle-aged men and women, over 14 years. Between 1990 and 2004, 671 of those surveyed in Japan were diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Meanwhile, 339 died of heart disease and 6,255 died of other causes.
A woman who lived with her parents – or those of her partner – as well as her children, was up to three times as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease as those who only lived with their partner. Living with children doubled the risk, compared to those with a child-free home. (Sources: Bonobology, Newlywed Survival)
What Do You Have To Say?
Do you have an inspirational (or horrible) in-law story you’d like to share? For example, your definition of “clean & tidy” could be different than others.
What do you think is the ‘good’, ‘bad’ & ‘ugly’ side of moving in with your in-laws?