Mudzimba with Mai Chisamba: Mother in-law drives me crazy

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.

Response

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.

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Complicated family finances are leaving a relative to die

Thank you so much for your Sunday Mail column.

Mine is not a personal problem but what is going on affects me as well. I am a married woman aged 35, my husband is 36. We get on well and are blessed with two sons.

My husband’s side of family is very organised. In this family there is a book called the Mwendamberi book, the name is derived from their totem. This was started long before I was married into this family.

Each family contributes a minimum of $20 monthly and this is used for fortunate and unfortunate times, they have some sort of a constitution and they vet each case by its merit. I have given you the picture in a nutshell so that you appreciate what I am going to say.

Only members are assisted from these funds. There is one brother-in-law, my husband’s cousin, who was against this and said a lot of trash about the whole thing. He always said hapana baba vanochengeterwa mari nemumwe munhu kuraramisa mhuri yavo muri kuda kuita chitsotsi.

He agreed with his wife to stay off this so-called family club. As I write this letter, that babamudiki is very sick, he has been in and out of the hospital. His wife is not gainfully employed and the situation is very dire. The family goes to see him and to pray with him and everyone has agreed not to assist him using the family funds.

Those who want to help can do so in their individual capacities. Mai Chisamba, medication is expensive, we can see that he is going down and wasting away but nobody wants to be bothered.

I once thought of asking my husband to personally assist but each time I think of what he used to say achidya mari dzake I just give up. His wife is not appreciative, when you help she demands more. I don’t know why they think it’s their right to be assisted. Vanobatsirika here vanhu vakadai?

Response

My answer is yes they can be assisted and they should be. The question is what is bigger, the family or the family club? He is part of the family regardless of not being a club member. What were you going to do if you did not have the Mwenadmberi club?

I appreciate the idea of having a family savings but please don’t lose focus. In my view, an organised family is not segregative. You talked about members of the family going to pray with him, I don’t want to judge them because I have no right to do that but I think they are doing this half heartedly.

How can you see a brother or relative in dire need of medication then ignore this because he does not subscribe? This is an opportunity for your family to convince him that the club is important. The fact that you have written to this column shows that you care for babamudiki, you may not be aware of it but that’s what it means.

I believe there are so many other people in the family who feel the same but vakutya vamwe kubva pasungano. Family is important and you need each other, talk about this you will be surprised by the response you get. To families and friends out there I believe when someone is sick or going through hard times, please desist from rubbing salt on old wounds kuti tamuwanira pano ukama haugezwe.

I am not saying what babamudiki did was right but this is not the time to take revenge. If he dies, the family will have lost a member for good but money can always be replaced. When you help or do good, you do it for God.

Don’t worry about people who are not appreciative, you show them the error of their ways by being exemplary. Yes, every person is encouraged to be self sufficient but when need be, it’s good to help each other. Please do the best for babamudiki now. I wish him a speedy recovery.

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