Friday, August 11, 2017

#Adulting: The Mother-In-Law.

Hey guys! So it was National Day yesterday but I didn't make very good us of the public holiday. All I did was nothing. Which is fin...

Hey guys!

So it was National Day yesterday but I didn't make very good us of the public holiday. All I did was nothing. Which is fine. You see, my mother-in-law (henceforth known as MIL unless otherwise stated) came to stay for three weeks. And I haven't been able to do nothing in a while. But I thought it would be a waste of an entire day if I just sat around watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory so I started on my blog.
Anyway, three weeks of having my MIL around. I mean it was very fun and I am really glad she came to stay, but you do miss some very important things like having alone time and being able to walk around in your old pyjamas. I mean have you seen my sleeping shorts? No you have not. They are very comfortable but...seriously they are not the most presentable pieces of clothing I own.
(Via Buzzfeed).

Also you know, when you're spending a large amount of time with someone you don't really know that can get a bit rough. So I've put together a quick list of things that you should work out in order to make your experience as smooth as it can get.

#1 Addressing her.

So you know how you address all older women as "Auntie" or "Uncle" regardless of who they are? Well, you can't do this anymore because you know, you're the daughter-in-law. You need to call her like, "Mom". So that's for Asians in Singapore.

But I've come to understand that things are more straightforward for Angmohs. They do away with the "Auntie" and "Uncle" bit. They call them by name. And they also do away with the "Mom" and "Dad" bit after marriage. THEY CONTINUE ADDRESSING THEM BY THEIR NAMES.
(Via Giphy).

IKR! That is ridiculous. As an Asian, there is no way I am going to address my parents-in-laws by their names ok. As an Asian person raised with Confucian values, I am not comfortable with this at all. Also, I was not aware of how Asian I was until I married an angmoh. Like previously, it was like, Confucian values, what's that?

Now I'm all like, oh I learnt this is school that I must call this person a certain way because of respect for elders and all that crap that I didn't even know I possessed. Oh, I think they were called Confucian values. Okay then.
(Via Giphy).

Anyway, so while the angmoh world refers to their parents-in-law by name, I have special permission to address them by "mom" and "dad". Although I don't. Because it's a bit strange. But because James calls his mom "motherbeast", I have decided to do that as well. Because it gets around that awkward bit where you know her name is Jane and everyone calls her Jane but you just can't because you were raised Asian.
(Via Giphy).

So yes, get that bit straight before you interact with them for an extended period of time. Because otherwise you just walk in and hope that they know that you are talking to them. Which might work for some cases, but won't if they are not paying that much attention.

#2 House rules.

So you know how to address them when they turn up at your house. But you need to impress upon them your house rules. For example, the last few times his mom came around, she walked around the house with her shoes on. This is not acceptable and we do not understand why she does this.
(Via Giphy).

Before you tell me that she probably does this at home and she's used to it, she does not wear shoes in her home. We don't know why she does this when she turns up.

There was also a minor problem with her wandering around with no clothes on. It's great that she feels comfortable in our house but you know, she could be arrested and charged under Section 27A of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184, for being naked in a private place while being exposed to public view.

It's a thing okay. Just read this article from The Straits Times – "5 little-known laws of Singapore". Seriously you can get fined and jailed for that. And worse still, I may see things that I do not necessarily want to see ok.
(Via Giphy).

So this time, while we were in the lift on the way to the apartment, James made it clear to his mom...
"We have two rules in this house – Shoes off, clothes on."
It is important for your house rules to be impressed upon all your guests before they step into your home, because it won't be your fault if you get into a bitch fit later on. You did warn them.
(Via Giphy).

And most importantly, I didn't see her walk around naked this time! It's great!

#3 Dealing with awkward conversations.

So James' mother and I were having a nice time in Victoria's Secret Mandarin Gallery. She had never been to a VS store before and she was amazed at how OTT it was. And also I was dutifully explaining the VS angels and the various lines they had.

Then his mom came across this...
(Via Pinterest).

Which is fine. The first level of VS is filled with scraps of fabric being sold for a hundred times the price of whatever outfit I'm wearing. But his mother started talking about it...
MIL, "Well this is nice isn't it?"
Me, "Uhhh..."
MIL, "Who do you think buys it?"
Me, "No one."
MIL, "Maybe I can buy it for you for your birthday."
MIL, "OH I KNOW! I'll buy it for James for your anniversary present!"
(Via Giphy).

Okay, I think she must have been kidding. But...I can't be certain. My approach was to go "No". And walk over to the cosmetics section where everything was about covering your bare skin, and not putting something on with the intention of getting someone to take it off.

But I recognise that this approach can be improved. So my other tactic is to distract her with things that she likes. For example, she likes cats and trinkets. So there was once we went off to Daiso and she came out happy and satisfied and $40 poorer. But totally worth it. She was happy, I was happy, and we got out of that awkward conversation of...I can't remember what. Which is good. Some things are better forgotten.

#4 Imparting Instructions.

So I'm a very passive person. If it were up to me I would hole up in my home and not step out. My favourite past time? Sleeping. This is why my nephew and I get along well – we have similar interests.
Sadly, this cannot always be the case when you have you MIL over to stay. You must be alert and on the watch always. One of James favourite stories is about the time his mother drank the hand-washing liquid in a Chinese restaurant (long story).

So we were coming back from Malacca and his mother got stuck at Customs because she couldn't go through the automated gates. Which is fine. But when she finally came out she started telling us about the time she spent in the queue...
"The problem with the customs is there aren't any toilets around now is there? I met this lovely couple in the queue, Malaysian man and Taiwanese lady. And the Taiwanese lady had gone to look for a toilet. But she couldn't find one. But they were a very nice couple. They offered to look after my things and save my place in the line if I wanted to go off to have a look."
My fellow Singaporeans. What would you do?
(Via Imgur).

Anyway, I usually let James tell him mother how things are done in Singapore. But this one ah. CANNOT LEH. So I immediately went on a lecture on how she cannot possibly have thought of leaving her stuff alone with strangers, if authorities find drugs in your possession you face the death penalty ("Surely not. The death penalty?!"), how you may be the scapegoat when some major drug operation is going on somewhere else. CB, I almost died hearing that you know. I mean later on she said she would never do such a thing but AIYAH. THIS KIND OF THING YOU CANNOT ANYHOW JOKE OK. Also if someone offered to look after your stuff, you don't start with "nice couple". You start with, "THESE STUPID IDIOTS OF A COUPLE". Omg. I almost had a heart attack.
(Via Giphy).

Later on she said something along the lines of "Surely not in Singapore. It's so safe". TMD CB. I felt like sending her for some Total Defence educations and some Civics and Moral Education lessons okay. Please ah.

So you know, you should leave the general nagging to your husband. Like the minor things. When it's very important, like MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY, then you can step in and be the bad guy. If you do the nagging all the time then you just become annoying and it loses it's effect.

#5 Spousal Therapy.

Okay this sounds wrong but it's like 2:58am and I can't think of a better header. So, everyone likes their fair share of personal space and you get a bit edgy if you're not used to having someone that you're not familiar with being there all the time.
(Via Giphy).

But that's just you. You know who will be even more stressed out than you? It's your spouse, whose mother is in the house. Mothers have this uncanny ability to push all the right buttons. My mother, she can sometimes drive me insane because she can spend 15 minutes talking to me about this wonderful cake that someone bought her when I'm like over there with my offering of cake thinking "Excuse me ah, just say thank you can or not." But James sees this as endearing.
(Via Giphy).

Likewise, I think it's quite funny when his mother decides to hitchhike with random lorry drivers, or secretly goes back to a restaurant where she left her $40 change 5 hours before. But, James doesn't find it amusing at all.
And you must be there to provide emotional support. Agree and nod. Say nice things. Tell him he looks handsome. Whatever works. Just understand that your husband can get wound up something chronic if his mother asks him if he knows what she ate at a particular restaurant which she can't recall more than a year ago.

And the correct response to that is, "Oh! That's where you get it from! Drink?"

Anyway! I've come to the end of my list – not for the lack of stories or examples, but as I said earlier, it's past 3 am and I've got to go to sleep. Old me does not have the vigour or ability to stay up like Jac of younger days. But that being said, I really enjoyed having my MIL over, and I'm a bit sad that she's gone. BUT at the same's nice to sprawl on the couch and walk around the house in my pyjamas.

Anyway! Here's a song for you to remind you to love your moms!

❤ Jac.

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