My staff has recently married after a short engagement. When I asked her about her marriage, she commented that she feels embarrassed when her mother-in-law (MIL) does her laundry.
Her MIL is a housewife and used to do her husband’s laundry when he was a bachelor. The MIL has opined, “They are working and since I’m alone in the house. So, it’s better for me to do the laundry just so I have something better to do.”
My staff is embarrassed to let her MIL literally launder her dirty laundry. In their household, she does the laundry for herself. To be honest, for many households, many women still choose to launder their own undies, bra and lingerie.
To be honest, I hate doing the laundry. I’m okay with cooking, cleaning up and doing the dishes, but ever since, I’ve always disliked doing the laundry and cleaning the toilet.
In fact, I hate it so much that I can tolerate not doing the laundry for 3 months or not cleaning the bathroom for a year.
To be honest, every guy I’ve dated could not tolerate my pigsty habits and have volunteered to launder my clothes every week.
And I let them.
But I digress.
Actually, now that I’m married, I still don’t do the laundry. My MIL does the laundry for us (gasp!). And while this information is enough to make my own mother cower in shame for not training her own daughter better, I still feel that it’s okay.
Because I know that I’d pay for my MIL doing the laundry in the future… and I am happy to be at service when she needs me.
For other people, it’s laundry. “What?!” they exclaim. “You let her do your laundry?! How shameful!”
For me, it’s strategy and a long-term play.
I know it’s not just about doing laundry. It’s in fact a long-term play for my MIL to show her affections for me, so that I will treat her and her son better.
It’s the same way of my mom cooking lunch for us every day even though we live in a different house. Every morning, she has our driver bring us lunch, and it usually contains my husband’s favorite foods like steak, shrimp and crab.
When our parents or parents-in-law does these acts of kindness, we don’t deny them the appreciation. We don’t tell them, “No, thank you. I can do it myself.” Instead, we accept these kind acts for what they are — favors that will be repaid in the future.
My mother-in-law knows that I will do whatever she asks of me. This is our silent understanding. Even if it’s something my husband would hate to do, she has my unwavering support.
This is my cost of doing laundry.
My mother knows that when she needs to ask a favor from my husband, he can never say no to her. For example, she borrowed a car from him. There’s no way he will say no to her after all the steak and shrimp he ate.
This is the real cost of in-laws being nice to us. And given that we are aware of such transactional dynamics, and understand how important it is to honor and respect parents, I look forward to payback time when it happens.
So fellow wives and mothers, it’s NOT about the laundry.
After marriage, we are constantly campaigning for our in-law’s affections. If you’re not, you should be. The Bible says to honor your parents, and even after you’re married, you should honor your spouse’s parents as well.
A lot of wives and mothers complain about their MILs. Many marriages become strained because they hate their in-laws.
They bitch and complain about their in-laws, and are surprised when their in-laws don’t like them too and try to sabotage their marriage!
I am aware how powerful in-laws can be, and how important support can be.
I know of people whose parents helped them get an annulment. Do you think that would happen if the wife worked to make their in-laws like them like a daughter?
Ladies, we need our mother-in-laws support. We need to love them like we do our own mothers. If we hate them, we do so at our own risk.
Because when we fight with their sons, you need a mother in law who would beat the shit out of her son for hurting “the only good woman you can ever have.”
We don’t want a mother-in-law who would volunteer in helping their son get a lawyer so he can divorce your ass.
Again, it’s a long-term game and we should be campaigning for our MIL’s affections. And not pit their son against them.
And if you chose to ignore my advice, do so at your own risk.