Mai Chisamba staying with my in-laws has become one of my worst experiences. My mother-in-law is a typical bully, at least baba vanomboita kakunyara. My husband is an only son in a family of three, they are all married. After our wedding I thought we would move out as was the agreement I made with my husband before we tied the knot.
At times I think my mother-in-law thinks she has two husbands. Baba is still alive but she wants to plan everything with my husband. We have a one-year-old baby, vanotora mwana against my wish and goes with him for hours to visit her friend. I am a working mother and the weekend is when I have ample time to spare for my husband and baby but I am deprived of spending time with them.
The reason why I am writing in to you is they want to put up a cottage at the house and my mother-in-law has suggested that we do this as a joint project. I am against this because it’s not for our benefit, she is already talking about putting a tenant even before the structure is finished. I spoke to my husband but he said you know how forceful amai is, I had no choice but to agree.
We have a combined budget but if he wants to jointly partake in this project then he can forget about any contribution from me. This is not our place, why should we put our hard earned money into that? Amai does not want us to leave the house but we are treated as vanhu vakaitirwa favour. She is always boasting about that. We should be independent, I don’t know how my hubby misses such a point.
There is a lot of tension between us and it’s killing us. Amai occupies the front seat when in our car and I am expected to sit at the back, why? Kana vari kwababa she sits in the front but havaone kuipa kwazvo when she does that to us. I can write a book about this terrible mother-in-law, havaite. Please help, should we be part and parcel of the cottage project? If she wants us to stay here for good then they should put the house in my husband’s name.
MAI CHISAMBA RESPONDS
The arrangement of staying with in-laws has proven from time to time to be one of the worst living arrangements out there. I have addressed it so many times on this column but it keeps coming and I can’t ignore it. I repeat even in our culture, muroora haagarwe naye, anobikiswa.
This arrangement may seem convenient but it’s usually short lived, it destroys relationships and marriages. You are a very young couple but already there is a lot of tension between you and your in-laws. It deprives you of the much needed space. You want to be a wife and a mother sokuda kwako without anyone crossing your path. I don’t know how your amwene fails to see this, she too is a wife to baba, she must know these things. In their car she takes the front seat, why can’t she let you do exactly the same in your husband’s car.
The fights over the baby are not necessary, why don’t you tell her the truth that during weekends you want to spend more time with the child since you are a working mother. If this is said in good faith there is nothing wrong and I don’t think she would get offended.
Kuita mashoko ekuhwandirana mumhuri zvinokonzera kusawirirana. I have discovered that people with similar living arrangements as yours half the time are at each other’s throats. Such arrangements breed more fights than harmony. It seems amai is forgetting that her son is now married. You are talking about a combined budget which is important in any marriage. There is no way your hubby can do a building project without your involvement.
Your in-laws should approach you guys knowing you are one. You say they should transfer the property into your hubby’s name if they want you to permanently stay there. Please don’t entertain selfish conditions, remember they have other children and grandchildren and no one knows their plans.
My advice is for you to go and talk to vana tete and mbuyas kuti makura makuda kubikiswa, this is acceptable culturally. Your husband should be man enough to decide what he wants for his family, kwete kungotinhwa sheepishly.
The best in your case is to look for alternative accommodation so that you keep your relationship intact. Don’t let the cottage project tear you apart. Sit down as family and agree on what is best for you. Mothers are usually the backbones of most family units so the two of you should help in the building of this family please. Prayer can move mountains do, likewise for your family. All the best.