by Ha Nguyen
These days, being a daughter-in-law is much easier than it used to be. Many modern mothers-in-law have voluntarily devoted themselves to helping their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. But their tendency to pamper their daughters-in-law to the extreme have made the latter become quite cheeky.
Widow Nguyen Thi Lanh was very happy when her only son brought home his girlfriend Tran Thu Ha to introduce her. She thought she would love her daughter-in-law as much as she did her son, so she gave Ha the keys to her home and was ready to help her with anything.
After their wedding, Lanh tried to take care of Ha. She did not ask her to do any household chores including preparing the daily meals.
"I love my son, so I love my daughter-in-law. I often wake up early to make breakfast for them before they leave for work," said Lanh, adding that she is still healthy and has plenty of time to help them.
"I also told them they did not have to contribute any money for their another expenses, meals, because their monthly salary is small. I have a high pension and have saved enough to spend on the three of us," added Lanh.
Ha thought nothing of welcoming her mother-in-law's help until she gave birth to her first child. At first, her mother-in-law continued to devote herself to taking care of her grandchild, buying him milk and many other necessities.
But Ha found that her mother-in-law's methods of raising her child were not efficient. The old woman does things so slowly that Ha often shouts at her.
"I'm very angry with Ha because I like to hold my grandchild, but she does not let me do. Instead, she asks me to wash the clothes and clean the house," Lanh complained.
Ha is also very angry. She tells her husband to shout at his mother, which forced her to consider renting a house to live alone.
"My neighbours had advised me not to pamper my daughter-in-law so much when she arrived at my house, but I didn't heed their advice. Now I regret it very much. How can I live this way for the rest of my life ?" lamented Lanh.
Bui Thi Canh, 60, has a similar story. She tries to please her husband, son, and daughter-in-law Lai Minh Huong by doing all the work.
Canh said that she tried to show love to Huong by helping her do all the household chores. When she was pregnant, Canh cooked nutritious dishes for her.
"I tried to take care of my grandchild and take him to kindergarten every day, until one day, I was diagnosed with diabetes. I feel very tired throughout the day, so I can't do too many household chores.
"I asked my daughter-in-law for help, but she is unwilling since she returns home very late after work. Now I'm no longer happy since Huong never says anything to me other than two phrases of greeting when she goes to work and when she returns," Canh stated.
Huong is unaware of the impact of her behaviour on the health of her mother-in-law, who suffers from heart disease in addition to diabetes.
While undergoing treatment at the hospital, Canh said mothers-in-law should not pamper their daughters-in-law too much if they want to avoid falling into a similar situation.
Psychologist Trinh Trung Hoa of the Ha Noi Centre for Marriage and Family noted that the elderly have already devoted themselves to their family.
"Those who are independent should let their son and his wife live in their own house to help them live independently too. In this way, the relationships between parents-in-law and their daughter-in-law will be good and stable," Hoa noted.
If this is not possible, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law should respect and understand and be ready to help each other. The son's role is the most important: He should bridge the gap between the two women, said Hoa, adding that when there is a misunderstanding between them, he should try his best to resolve it as soon as possible. — VNS