Your in-laws don’t like you. That’s an understatement, they hate you! They hated you the first time they met you – at least that is what you have grown to believe 6 years into your marriage. At first, you were sure it was the unfamiliarity, the fact that they had not experienced your charm and sweetness because let’s face it, everyone who has ever had the chance to bask in your charm always ends up falling hopelessly in love with you. But 6 years is a long time for your in-laws – who are now your family – not to love you. Okay, maybe love is pushing it too far, but at least show some form of affection, even appreciation, or just a little recognition would suffice.
It’s always like this despite your best efforts to bridge the rift that widens during Christmas. The first year was subtle. You had just gotten married and your hubby did not want to spend too much time with his family, and why would he do that? He had just found his family- You. So that year, you made a technical appearance that lasted 2 hours and jetted off to the Jinja falls in Uganda, it was your second honeymoon and nothing was going to ruin it! The second year, you spent a week at home. Your firstborn had been born in October and he needed his first hair cut from his grandmother before his teeth sprouted. Tradition is tradition and it cannot be broken especially by a “comer” like you. The third, fourth and fifth year provided extended holidays with the in–laws mainly because as a true Goat wife you had insisted on having your home in the village to stamp your presence and authority as the official wife.
The need for a guarantee was expedited when you stumbled on sexy photos of his secretary on his phone. Given the number of out of town workshops he had been attending that year, you needed security. As we all know, nothing beats brick and mortar for a guarantee – ask any banker. In hindsight, you are not very sure it was really a good idea to put up a house in the village because now you not only spend longer holidays with your in-laws, you have no reason not to travel with the children to the village during the festivities any day after 12th December. Meanwhile, he only joins the family on 24th December in the evening or 25th December in the morning. Last year he arrived on 25th December at lunchtime smelling like cocoa butter, claiming that he had car problems that morning… but I digress.
Yes, the house may have stamped your presence but it has since become the source of hostility, conflict, and unhappiness. It seems now that your in-laws hate you afresh every Christmas. Here are 7 reasons why your in-laws will hate you this Christmas – Again!
- Baby Shower
When your first child was born, you were over the moon. You wanted to put out a radio announcement and rollup a billboard on Mombasa road reading “cutest baby on earth – Mine”, with a photo of you gazing into your child’s eyes lovingly like those Johnson &Johnson advertisements. In all your excitement, it skipped your notice that your in-laws did not come to “greet” the baby until he was 8 months old. It didn’t seem odd to you. What did you know you were a new inexperienced mother? But when your sister-in-law had her 5th child,9 months later it seemed as if Jesus had been sighted in Bethlehem all the roads led to her home. That’s when it hit you that you had not gotten the full welcome to motherhood. In reflection, you realized that it took your mother-in-law 4 months to send that nutritious wimbi flour. That’s when it hit you. They hated you! How dare you hold a baby shower and fail to invite representation from your new family? How difficult was it for you to send a text message about the baby shower? Was it really necessary to post-baby shower photos on your WhatsApp status and on Facebook for the world to see the independent modern woman that will bear the mighty prince without in-law involvement? That is sure to anger anyone! Unknown to your in-laws, it was not your mistake. You did not organize the baby shower, your girlfriends did. Ordinarily, baby showers aren’t important events that warrant representation from far and wide. Besides your girlfriends have not met any of your in-laws, which made the slight oversight possible. Anyway, this was a gesture of love from your girls. Why should anyone hate you for that? That, Sweetheart, was your mistake numero uno. Unfortunately, no amount of explaining will get you out of that debt nor prevent the amount of hatred coming to you this Christmas – Again!
Your in-law’s family has a very strict rule against women wearing trousers. This rule has a biblical backing – Deuteronomy 22: 5. Trousers for women are not just disrespectful and obscene, they are sinful. Women should only wear ankle-length dresses or skirts with petticoats underneath, and while they run around the compound, they must wear a Leso around the waist. The clothes must always be a size bigger. The first time you visited your future family in law you were on your way from the field. You were not even dating their son; you were colleagues based in Nairobi but you were working in his home county and as good manners dictate you accompanied your now-husband to visit his family. They were very welcoming and kind. Even though you were in your sexiest jeans. They showed you around and seemed unperturbed by your outfit. 3 years later when you were introduced as the future daughter-in-law you noticed a snare on your mother-in-law’s face as she pointed towards your jeans. Yes, she hated how you dress. After you got married you went on with your life unchanged. Wearing jeans and trousers as you pleased. They hate you for that. This Christmas you intend to pack all your jeans. It’s the rainy season in the village and what better outfit to protect your body from cold than your warm jeans? They shall hate you Again!
You are sure they hate your guts because of the baby shower thing. But they hate you more because of your children. How do you ask? It’s a mixed bag. It all starts with the fact that your children do not speak their mother tongue and their Swahili is terrible. Your Little Angels think in English and then speak in Swahili when they have to – that is when they are talking to their Auntie (Nanny). So, when they get to the village, they are considered snobbish, arrogant, and disobedient. Mostly because mother tongue is the language of instruction and any child who does not act on instruction is disrespectful regardless of the circumstance. Of course, this is your fault. How dare you fail to teach your children the language of instruction? The truth is, it’s not really your doing because that is also not your mother tongue. You don’t even speak the language! Which begs the question; 6 years later you still have not learned your-in-laws’ tongue? You probably deserve to be hated – Again!
Your hosting skills are impeccable! Your friends in the city never miss your parties, because who wants to miss the delicious Pilau and Chapatis you serve on all your lunches? But you have a secret. Chef Paul. He’s been your secret for 8 years now. You have trusted Chef Paul with all your major occasions and he has never disappointed. He’s discreet, neat, and precise. He comes to your house cooks, cleans after himself, and leaves the food simmering on the burners. However, Chef Paul is married and during Christmas, he must be with his family and can therefore not help you hide your flaw. You cannot cook! Unfortunately, your in-laws found out and now they use it against you. Last year they tricked you into cooking Ugali. They brought water to boil on the traditional stove, brought you the flour and the cooking stick, and vanished only to appear 20 minutes later after you had made a disaster of the ingredients. The laughter and mockery it elicited made you hibernate in your house for 3 days. The truth is that this has been a busy year, between COVID-19 pandemic and zoom meetings you barely had a chance to learn how to cook much less on a traditional stove. Clearly, your in-laws shall hate you this Christmas – Again!
Every year you make a resolution to call your mother-in-law at least once a week. You even diarize it on your calendar, every Monday at 1 pm during your lunch break because Mondays are your fasting days. The first Monday is good, you get a quick update of the weather and the cows, the second Monday is less eventful, how often can change really happen. The third Monday, you make a mental note to call at 5.30 pm on your way from work but there is so much traffic in the evening and you must focus on the road if you are going to escape those rowdy Matatu’s and by the time you get home, it’s too late. You plan to call the next day. Then things happen and you don’t ever call until you learn that a relative has died, or a family member is sick. Before you know it, it’s Christmas. The first words that come out of your Mother-In-Law’s mouth when you ask her how she is doing are: “why do you ask you never call me! It’s a disheartening welcome. But she is right you don’t call, text, or visit as often as you should. In your mind, this is not an isolated case. You cannot even remember the last time you called your own Mother! Why do people have to build mountains out of molehills? Undoubtedly this is another Christmas when your in-laws will hate you- Again!
6. Too much shopping
You would imagine that if you spent Kshs.10,000 on Christmas shopping they would be elated. That’s only the case if you are the only child in the family. Every time you show up at your in-laws’ home with your 10k worth of shopping you elicit resentment from the children of that home. What exactly are you trying to prove? That you are rich? That you know how to shop? That you are better than the rest of us who shopped for 2 kilograms of sugar? Even your most sincere actions and motives can and will be used against you to suit the ego of a person that loathes you. The situation will be no different if you don’t bring the shopping worth 10k. Whichever way you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Inadvertently there is no way you are escaping hatred from your in-laws this Christmas – Again!
7. The power you wield over their son
This should probably be at the top of the list. Your in-laws know their son very well. He is definitely a great man; he is also the most stubborn, difficult, and arrogant man on the face of the earth. His family fears him; they scarcely confront him even when he’s outrightly wrong. He’s known for his fierce temper and anger when he’s in their company. However, as soon as you enter the room he turns into a calm, subtle, loving, and caring man. He suddenly becomes considerate and logical and will keep constant eye contact with you because if he starts to lose his direction it only takes a look from you and he’s back to the straight and narrow path. The problem is that his family does not understand how you do it. What’s your secret? Have you cast a spell on him? There is nothing they would love more than to find out you managed to tame that tiger. And since you won’t share the secret, because it does not exist, they will undoubtedly, continue to hate you this Christmas – Again!
No doubt this is going to be another excruciating Christmas for you. Whatever happens don’t take it personally because based on previous years, your in-laws will hate you next Christmas – Again!