My mother-in-law is 82 years of age. My husband is planning to have his mother come live with us because he feels, she is becoming too old to be entrusted to the care of strangers.
All along, she has lived in a place my husband rented for her. He also got her a helper who tends to her but he said, from the look of things the woman isn’t doing a good job because there is no one to supervise her.
For this reason, he wants both of them to move in with us to ensure that his mother is getting all the care she deserves.
Knowing how close my husband is to his mother, I cannot openly oppose this plan of his as it would lead to a terrible row between the two of us. In my five years of being his wife, I have come to realize anything that has to do with his mother; could make or mar my relationship with him.
This has to do with the fact that his mother had him when she was 42, when she had given up every hope of being a mother. His only brother and sibling came almost immediately. Their father died shortly after they were born so it was the mother who struggled against all odds to see them through school. My husband and his brother feel their accomplishment in life is through the undying love and dedication of their mother.
I really have no problem with that as long as they also realize that I have my own life to live. I don’t think it is fair of my husband to want to turn me into his mother’s nanny when there is the option of having her youngest sister who recently became a widow come stay with her. Between them, they can ensure that the house-help does a better job of tending to them.
There is also the other option of my brother-in-law taking her in since his wife dots on mama. She actually wishes for it from the conversation I had with her on it. But my husband insists, it is his responsibility and mine to care for her.
I don’t know how to handle this matter without causing problem in my home. A very good friend of mine is of the opinion I should allow her come and make life miserable for her so that she will be forced to go to her younger son’s house.
She thinks that is better than me trying to argue my feelings with my husband. What do you think? Please your response is urgently needed since he plans to bring her any moment from now.
I guess you are a mother, desirous to be old someday and enjoy the benefits of your investment on your children. How would you feel if your daughter-in-law prevents you from enjoying the proceeds of your sacrifices on your son?
In this old woman’s shoes, how would you react to being treated so shabbily by a woman who swore before God and man to love your son till death? Have you stopped to consider the possibility of your mother also desiring this kind of care your husband is asking you to give to his mother one day? How would you feel if your husband responds to your mother the way you plan doing to his?
The world gives back to us what we invest into it. Today you are young and capable of doing things on your own. A time will come when you would need the support, care and love of your children to get by. Your husband isn’t asking you to be the one tending to her entire needs; all he is asking is for her to come and live in the house so you can keep an eye on her and ensure the help giver is doing her job properly. What is so difficult about that?
If she gave birth to your husband at 42, you can imagine what she went through before having him and the kinds of sacrifices she made to ensure he and his brother had good education. Bringing them up alone at the age most women have finished with nappies, sleepless nights, school fees, school runs and worries of where money for the fees of the next school term would come from, couldn’t have been a tea party for her. She started having children when the toll of old age had started to set in, when her peers were looking forward to retirement.
That they turned out successfully despite the odds against her underscores her love and sacrifice for her children. It would be wicked and unforgiveable if you deny her the little time she has left to enjoy being looked after by the children she gave her entire life to.
Don’t stand against the desire of your husband to repay his mother for some of those moments she gave to him. Believe me when I say, no child can ever repay a good mother for her sacrifices. Denying this woman the token of her labour, would make nonsense of your claim of love for your husband.
This is because she is the reason you have a man to call yours. Without her, you will not see those compelling qualities that made you settle for him out of all the men that came for your hand in marriage.
The least you can do is to open your heart to her because you are the major recipient of her years of toil. Where were you when she wept over him when he was a baby and couldn’t say what was wrong with him… When she had to play the role of a doctor, psychologist, comedian, nurse, teacher, house-help, cook and care giver, all rolled into one, ensuring he was happy and healthy? Where were you when this same woman had to put up with long hours of labour to ensure she put food on his table, as well as pay his school fees?
You weren’t there. She is his foundation hence you cannot deny her the right to enjoy the benevolence of her son.
That friend of yours doesn’t in any way mean well for you, because if you take time out to think of how you want to be treated when you are her age, you would know that the best gift to give your mother-in-law is your love and respect for giving you a wonderful man to love.
I appreciate that it isn’t always easy tending to an old person, but if you learn to overlook those tiny irritations and focus on the grace to look after her, you will not only like the feelings of being with her but also, earn the love and respect of your husband.
Don’t wait for your husband to bring her, go and bring her yourself because it is the right thing to do for any woman wishing to have children who will love and care for her when it is her turn to depend on the strength of the younger ones.
No matter the age of a man, he can always start afresh but not so for a woman. She would after a certain age, need her children and their spouses to care for her. I pray the point here isn’t lost on you.