Monday, July 18, 2016

Joint Family Life thus far!


For most people, living with their In-laws would be a nightmare come true. It has been 2 months since my In-laws moved in with us, and it has been nothing less than a dream. 

Traditionally, most young newlywed couples (in India, at least) move in with the husband's parents as newlyweds, which can cause a lot of tension. There are loads of TV shows about joint family strife and drama. After getting to know my in-law's for the past 10 years and developing a solid friendship and rhythm with them, it is only now that they have moved in with usAnd you know what? I don't think I would have appreciated their help as much then, as I do now. I used to like to be an independent woman and do everything by myself...until I had kids!!! After having a child, it's impossible to do pretty much anything at all. Even the most simple tasks like going grocery shopping or using the toilet in privacy is difficult. Forget about ever having a nap during the day. Having my in-law's help, and their companionship has been incredibly comforting.


Like many mothers of young children who live in nuclear families, I have found it extremely difficult over the years to complete all my household work, prepare fresh meals for my family, work on my own passions, and find time for myself on a daily basis. Living in a joint family has alleviated ALL of that stress because I now have two extra helping hands around the house. My In-laws' unwavering support has made my life so easy, as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. 


Just as I suspected (and hoped!), as soon as my mother-in-law landed, she hijacked my kitchen. She cooks 3 fresh meals a day and could arguably be one of India's top chefs. Her spicy home-style Andhra cooking is famous in husband-ji's family. Prior to her arrival, it has been a struggle for me for YEARS to cook for my picky-eater husband. Now all that stress has gone now that she has arrived. We are all extremely happy, well fed, and definitely plumpy!

(What dinner looks like!)

Probably the most surprising thing to me is how helpful my father-in-law is around the house. I have actually never spent so much time with him, as he has only visited us for a maximum of 1-2 weeks before because he was always working. I used to think he was one of the more traditional members when it comes to gender roles, however he has equally taken charge of household tasks. He takes care of the dog, feeds him, and walks him. He walks to the grocery store twice a day and buys everything we need. He is also obsessed with keeping the sink empty so he washes all the dishes and loads the dishwasher every day. Which means that my only responsibility in the kitchen is putting the soap in the dishwasher flap and turning it on. Yes, my only responsibility is pressing a button!!!


And that's not even the best part. Now that my In-laws are living with us, husband-ji and I can go on a date night any night of the week. My mother-in-law says we don't even have to ask her if we can go out. So far, we are averaging going out about 2-3 times a week, which is such a luxury. Before, we would have to pre-book the babysitter and eagerly covet our date nights, where we would basically be $200 broker after going to dinner and a movie (plus paying the babysitter). Not only that, but it was all limited in time and rushed, since we had to be back by a certain time so the babysitter could go home. My parents have tried to help out as best as they can over the years, but they are working full-time, both not in good health, and elderly. My in-law's are 10 years younger than my parents, so it's a completely different generation and they have a lot more energy.


I also don't feel any pressure to be the ideal bahu as I have felt in previous years. In years past, I have always wanted to impress my in-law's and have exasperated myself but now I feel like just being me is enough. I genuinely feel like they like me, and they are not judging me, and I can be comfortable around them just as if they were my biological parents. I really feel as though I am their daughter.


I knew when my in-law's moved in with us, that Maya would thrive the most because grandparents and grandchildren have such a dear, special bond. But I truly had no idea how much husband-ji and I would thrive...just as much as her!

Joint family life is definitely for me! I never want to go back!

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15 comments

  1. Sounds great! Is your MIL teaching Maya any Tamil/Telegu/Hindi yet?

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  2. Sounds excellent! You are very lucky to have such wonderful in-laws.

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  3. Dear Alex,

    So glad to see your post, I was so happy to see this. You look beautiful, love the picture of Sandhya, you and Maya. Your Father in Law and Sandhya look fabulous, so glad they have made it to Canada and living with you. I am sure it has been very busy for you and Husband-Ji, but you are having such good help now. It is always nice to have a extra pair of hands in the kitchen and doing errands. This is a luxury, so glad this is working out for both of you. Dinners made by Sandhya look really yummy and love the picture of them at the grocery store. Enjoy being together and having them there. Maya really has grown! she is such a cutie. Have a great weekend.

    Love,
    Melissa

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  4. Oh! so nice to hear this, I wish I could do this, sigh! My MIL passed away 3 years ago, she was a wonderful human being. My FIL is a gem too, we want him to move in with us, but we also have a nasty SIL who is single (divorced) and emotionally blackmails her dad into staying with her. I cannot have her with us as she is poisonous. You are lucky, enjoy!

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  5. Thats great you enjoy your in laws living with you. Your next topic we will read here will be: the positive and negative points of livind with your indian in-laws! Enjoy the good time with them!

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  6. Alexandra, thanks for this! I'm 3 months away from moving in with my in laws and I have all kinds of feelings about it that I haven't processed yet. Adjusting to married life and to a different culture, while being in the presence of your in-laws is...uhhh...I'm just hoping for the best. And reading something other than horror stories makes me feel a bit better about it. So thank you. And your plates are gorgeous! :-)

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  7. I guffawed at 'plumpy!'...Its a word only we Indians use :-)....good to see u happily settled!

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  8. I'm so happy for you Alexandra! May your life with your in-laws continue as happily as it has begun!

    And as a previous commenter noted, your plates ARE gorgeous. :)

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  9. I've been waiting (not so) patiently for this post! I've often wondered over the last few weeks how the move went, how the settling in was going for your in-laws and for you, etc. Happy to hear and see that all is well thus far :-)

    I think I would love to have my in-laws living with us. My Hindi and cooking would improve for sure, along with my patience, flexibility, and capacity for love :-)

    Looking forward to more blog posts from you, Alex, and wishing you all the best!

    Katie @ ShelfishlyAddicted

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  10. So happy for you! I think it's very important to have testimonies of people who can have a happy joint family life to balance out all the negativity around it =)

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  11. sounds amazing I could only wish for this - living with my mil is not a dream more like a nightmare and unfortunately I don't have a choice to move out or I would happily end it :(

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  12. It's nice you can enjoy having them with you and they're actually helpful. I think you are lucky and this is very unusual with Indian in-laws. I lived with mine for about 15 months and they just wanted to be served all the time. My FIL would never even think of lifting a finger in the house. That life is definitely not for me and I'd never do it again!

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  13. Sounds fabulous! You are extremely fortunate to have such awesome in-laws...Thats extraordinary you make the most of your in laws living with you. Your next theme we will read here will be: the positive and negative purposes of livind with your indian in-laws! Appreciate the great time with them!..

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  14. Saw the picture of dinner. Please don't post any such pictures in future. If you don't share your food with onlookers, UNGALUKKU VAIRRU VALIKKUM (You will need your hubby's or FIL help to understand this)

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    Replies
    1. I have to say to this last person saying don't share the photo of the food! I was shocked! This is her page she can do whatever she wants! When we marry an Indian man it's hard enough without people like you always pointing something wrong. Alex is doing beyond amazing to handle all of this and I'm amazed and in awe and who cares if she's showing dinner she is proud!

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