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When a request becomes a burden

Through marriage, we become related to our in-laws. Most times, these in-laws prefer to reach out to us than communicate directly with their children when…

Through marriage, we become related to our in-laws. Most times, these in-laws prefer to reach out to us than communicate directly with their children when they need something. What then happens when an in-law who doesn’t always see anything good in you, reaches out to you to speak to her son and then gives you a stern warning not to let him know you asked him to? Take note, this husband is stingy and very temperamental.

Titilayo Hamzat, 39-year-old lawyer, says, “I always put myself in the shoes of people in tough situations before I make an assumption. My question is: why would I as a mother have to ask my daughter- in-law to speak to my son on my behalf, especially if it relates to my upkeep?  A responsible son will not even wait to be told about taking care of his parents. Why would I want to burden my son’s wife with that sort of responsibility?

Dianne Smith, 41-year-old civil servant, says, “I have an issue with the mother in-law asking her daughter-in-law to speak to her son on her behalf. Does she have the notion that it is the wife that’s controlling the husband and asking him not to take care of her? As a mother, she should be able to call her son to order by speaking to him directly and not asking his wife to do the difficult task of talking to him.”

However, Mariam Aliyu, 39-year-old civil servant, sees it differently as she says, “I see it from a different point of view. The mother-in-law may have a more open and robust communication with her daughter-in-law and so decided to speak to her regarding what her son was doing wrong. She understands that the wife isn’t behind his lack of taking care of her and that is why she is bringing the wife into the picture.”

Jummai Bello, 42-year-old accountant, says, “It is weird when I hear stories like this. How can a child not take care of his parents, especially his mum, when he has the means to? There must be something that went wrong with his upbringing. She trained him to be stingy. Parents need to be generous and show that generosity goes a long way, and it’s an onus on them to take care of their parents no matter what. How can one be stingy, to the extent of extending it to your parents? How?

Ngozi Nwosu, 38-year-old teacher, says “There are certain in-laws that would tell me this and I will immediately detect a red flag. She is playing on her psyche; she just wants to know what is going on in her family. Remember, she does not see any good in me and all of a sudden she wants me to talk to her son regarding her upkeep. No way! I am not that kind of woman who starts to spill when such requests are thrown my way. The best thing I would have done is to tell her that I will let her son know she wants to have a discussion with him.”

Amina Idris, 40-year-old consultant, says “I see nothing wrong in my mother-in-law asking me to speak to my husband on her behalf. It only means she sees me as her daughter and feels my words can get to him faster; maybe he doesn’t listen to her. As a responsible wife, it is my responsibility to bring her closer and let my husband see reasons why he is going against the teachings of the Holy books. My mother in-law and I have a better relationship than she has with her son. Most times, he says we gang up against him. The truth is no matter what, a man would always love his mother more, so asking her to talk to her son herself is the highest disrespect you can ever give her and her son.”


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