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When my husband told me you were coming to stay with us for three months after we welcomed our first child, I was sceptical about you staying for that long, but who am I to tell a woman not to come and spend time with her new grandson.
The truth is, there wasn’t really anything for you to come and help with, apart from spending time with us, we didn’t need you to do any domestic chores or do any hard work taking care of our son. I already took care of that.
I had hired a middle aged housekeeper who was coming in every morning to clean, cook, and help me with our baby. I had only three months maternity leave and I wanted to rest and bond with my husband and baby as much as I could without bothering myself with house work and stuff. I also needed time to read for the last stage of a professional exam and work on a personal project.
Well, that didn’t go down well with you and that was where our problems started.
You didn’t like that someone was cooking what your son will eat, you didn’t like that someone was washing his clothes, you didn’t like that I was not waking up early and going to bed late and filling all the hours in between with ‘taking care of your son ’. You didn’t like that I spent so much time working on my laptop and reading.
By the third day you couldn’t take it anymore so you woke me up in the morning to have a discussion with me. That day and many days, you never failed to remind me how you suffered to bring up your son. You even suggested many times that I should resign my job and stay at home to take care of my husband and son.
You once chastised your son for getting up early on a Saturday morning to attend to our son, while his wife (me) who didn’t go to work the previous day was still in bed sleeping. Again, you didn’t fail to remind him of how you suffered on him, knowing well that I could hear you from the room.
What you didn’t know was that I had stayed up all night because our baby wouldn’t sleep, so he took him in the morning and told me to try to get some sleep.
By suffering for your son you meant sacrificing your dreams to be a stay at home mom for your three sons, attending to all your husband’s and children’s needs while your husband went out to provide.
You said my husband and children should be enough for me. If that worked for you, it doesn’t work for me. I want my husband, I want my children, and I want to achieve other great things in life too.
I have never told you the full details of how my mother raised five children after our father died when I was in primary school.
She was a teacher; everyday she made snacks to sell to students at her school, everyday she opened her provision shop in front of our house, at weekends she assisted caterers to cook for extra income, everywhere she went she carried a bag of second hand clothes she was selling to women, she did all she could everyday to give us food, shelter and education.
She had no one to help her financially or emotionally, yet she raised five disciplined and now successful children all by herself. We were all well behaved and academically sound all through our schooling, and we are all doing well now.
You see, my mother suffered on me too. And she told us she was working that hard so we can do better than her in life.
My mother did not raise me so that I can sacrifice my dreams to take care of your son. She raised a confident, hardworking woman who will be able to stand beside her husband and achieve great things with him.
It is because she suffered on me that I am and will continue to pursue my dreams and run my home in the way that works best for me and my husband.
She has suffered all the suffering so I will not have to suffer again.
From your daughter-in-law