Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living with the In Laws

I LOVE my in laws. No, truly, I do! The great thing is we get along really well. They took me in like another daughter, did everything they could to make me feel completely comfortable with them, they try their best to communicate as best as possible and make me feel involved. For the wonderful people they are, for the beautiful son they raised, I love them.

That being said, I don't want to stay in their house forever. Just as a background, from what I have experienced and noticed, children stay in their parents homes until they get married, normally. And a lot of times, houses are built one on top of the other- apartment style. Case in point, my sister in law built an apartment with her husband on top of my in laws house. They live upstairs. And honestly, it is an incredibly smart move. She doesn't have to pay rent. She just pays her part of the light and water bill (many people seperate their utilities, but they chose not to). This frees up quite a bit of money. Who wouldn't want to live rent free??

Well for me this question is conditional. There is space still to build another apartment next to his sister. Apparently, Sidnei's older brother wanted to build one, but his wife did not. My mother in law proceeded to tell me this story today...With her obvious contempt for her other daughter in law's decision. So of course, my own planning to get out of dodge as soon as we can, I opened my mouth. And I told her that I understood my sister in law's decision. That this space would always be hers and her daughters. And that all women want a space of their own.

She proceeded to give me her opinoin of this in very rapid portuguese. So I didnt understand most of it. But I know she was talking about how it is ridiculous to pay rent and how it makes it impossible to ever buy your own lot. So I am thinking she didn't really appreciate my opinoin much.

And she is probably right, but I NEED, I CRAVE my own space. Here, truly, my sister in law will always be charge. I will never be able to do anything in the yard without her having an opinoin. Not only that, but I crave space from my in laws too. I need a little space. I need a little privacy. And honestly, if we stay here, if we built a house here, it is something we'd never have.

And to be even more completely honest. I think I'd go absolutely INSANE. I love my in laws. They are wonderful. Thankfully my husband does know this. He talked for a while about constructing one apartment. And if we go back to the United States, we will construct one so that when we come to visit we have a place to stay.

However, for now, we will move into an apartment. I don't know when that will be. We are hoping the beginning of next year, we'll be set to go. That is what I am hoping...and praying.


Jaime Wilkins said...

AMEN! I'm staying with my husband's uncle and aunt and their 3 kids. We have one bedroom to ourselves and the rest is shared space. They have been WONDERFUL to have us here for the past 3 plus months but we're getting a little stir crazy. We're hoping to move out this weekend, if all goes according to plan. I love my family but there comes a point. Good luck with everything!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Sweetie... I lived with in laws for 5 years.

I'm sure it's gonna set her on her ear, but you have GOT to have your own space. I realize it may add tension between you and your mother-in-law, but you can't let them dictate this. If you're not happy, then your marriage will suffer.

Be true to you!!!

Ballerina Girl said...

Good luck!
I know how difficult this situation is..tread lightly!
It will work out, but don't force the issue in public ;)
Tell Sidnei things privately and discuss them amongst yourselves...

Hope it all works out well!

Danielle said...

Cultural differences are always going to be an issue, especially between you and the older, less-open-minded in-laws. But you're not asking anything irrational of her. In fact, you're not asking anything of her at all. Sidnei's parents have a house, right? That probably means that they didn't live with their in-laws forever.

Maybe she's really worried that if you guys live in your own place, she won't get any time with the grandkids, or that you guys will never visit them, or that you won't take them in when they get too old to take care of themselves. Or maybe she's like my grandmother and just really needs to feel needed all the time, and it comes off as controlling.

Try to figure out exactly why the idea of you guys having your own place bothers her so much... but maybe have Sidnei do this investigating. He needs to be defending you more-- it's not like it's only your decision. Besides, if he and his mom have an argument, she'll be quicker to forgive him than she will to forgive you if you and she have an argument.

But you're not wrong, and you're not crazy! I'm surprised that your very logical argument/appeal of "every woman/wife/mother needs her own space" didn't work. In short... she'll get over it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hey,

First wanted to say that I think you are GREAT! You seem to be out in the middle of nowhere of Brazil (I don't know Minas) and I've never read you really complaining about anything, when thats all that some expats seem to do on their blogs. You go girl!

I think your MIL is just trying to watch out for her son and his wife - i.e. save money now so you can buy a patch of ground later on and "deixar um patrimonio para os filhos". To me thats typical Brazilian thinking and probably has loads to do with general low income and decades of a wonky economy. Loads of young people I know are completely fixed on buying their first piece of land as a kind of security.

Are you thinking of renting a place with Sidnei or actually buying? Anyway, good luck and keep smiling!

Ashley said...

I completely understand you. Space is a necessity. In Colombia, children don't leave the nest until they are married (which is usually at a significantly older age than most of us here in the U.S.) and even then they don't go far. Luckily, I got mine to stay here in the U.S. Haha! Are y'all working on his paperwork and trying to come back or enjoying life in Brazil for a while?

Stephanie said...

Jaime, I didnt realize you were staying with in laws! Good luck with this weekend!! Do you still have your blog by the way?? I lost the address before I realized I could put them in my favorites list!

BG- I definitely DON'T say anything. I mentioned once previously before we wanted an apartment and she sounded shocked, so I havent said anything until today when she was talking about the SIL. I just felt like such a hypocrite if I didn't defend for the poor girl...because it's true! haha, but you are right, I let Sidnei take care of all that!

Danielle- I was actually kind of surprised at her reaction today, normally she is very even tempered-not that she got mad or rude- just seemed very opinoinated. But don't worry, she won't have to worry about us not coming, I do enjoy their company, and Sidnei is definitely a Momma's boy. Besides I'm sure we won't even move out of this bairro. Both of his brother's live about a 5 minute walk from his Mom's, along with 3 different aunt's and 2 uncles. We are a close, close family. *sigh* I do have an email that I need to finish for you! When the power went out, so did my internet!

Thanks so much!! You are so nice to say so. Of course if you recieved my emails (like Danielle or Robyn--thanks guys and sorry!) you'd probably retract that statement! Haha In all seriousness, I do try hard to stay positive and it is not all bad. Some days are definitely harder than others though!

Sidnei actually bought land a couple of years ago, except it's not in Minas Gerais, it is somewhere close to Sao Paulo I think. Im not exactly sure. We are thinking of selling that and using the money to buy a place here. So I'm not really sure. For now we are going to rent. Everything is up in the air because we have applied for Sidnei's paperwork to try and move back to the US. We aren't sure what the outcome will be and for now we are starting ground up, so we don't have much. But first we'll rent and work from there! Thanks for stopping by though and I really enjoy your blog as well by the way! (I promise to start commenting more!)

Marriage is the same here in Brazil, people seem to wait a little longer to get married! We are working on Sidnei's papers...they have been in for a while now. So basically it's a wait and see kind of thing! It'll be a while before we hear anything though! Keep your fingers crossed for us! By the way, that baby bump is terribly, terribly cute! :)

Lisa said...

I understand, it is much more foreign to us to have family living together. It is just so logical in some other cultures.
I agree, tread lightly and in time things will work out.

Lisa Q

Mrs. C said...

Oh my goodness, I could not live with my in laws! Or even my own dad for that matter. I don't know how you do it. I couldn't last a week! I think it would be good to get your own apartment although saving money is nice. I don't think you can take out loans for a house in Brazil, right? Can you work in Brazil? What do you do when Sidnei is at work? Thanks for all the nice comments :)

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read what you had to say today. Be glad you are the second nora to live elsewhere :) Good luck with finding a place in the coming months. We hope to do the same, though I´ll be sad to leave my mother-in-law´s house (I´m getting spoiled here).

You mentioned a mint mosquito medicine and my pharmacist didn´t know what I was talking about (my husband was with me so I know it wasn´t my Portuguese that was the problem, haha) -- can you tell me the name?

Beijos & abraços from Rio! Hey when is the birthday??

Chelle said...

I totally agree. I stayed at my inlaws for a couple of weeks and I just needed to have my own home back! I know that this will be a great decision for you :)

Tamara said...

I so understand this post!

My husband is Afrikaans and he is the only one of the three kids not living on the farm with the whole family (four generations). I think my MIL blames me for that, although it was his decision before he'd even met me. But I don't think I could live with my folks forever, nevermind his. You seem to be handling it very graciously though.

Eve said...

I completely understand! Sometimes the privacy and the ability to take control and make your own decisions is worth the additional cost of rent (especially at the beginning of your marriage)! :)

LadyFi said...

It's always difficult. Maybe an apartment very near by?

May said...

I totally agree. No matter how nice our in laws are, having a life with someone is about having "our" life. And I just need my space too.
Although customs may vary a lot since it's a gigantic country, we have a saying that goes like this: "quem casa, quer casa". Something like "one who gets married, wants his own house". Some mothers are just over-protective, but in general, I guess it's rather normal to get married and move away from our parents house. So, deep down, she knows you're not doing anything radical.

Amber said...

I totally understand needing your 'own' space. It was hard when I lived with my in-laws. We made it work because we HAD to at that time, but never again.

Lindsey said...

It's funny to read about the situation of living with in-laws (having lived it for about a year). It seems like a lot of couples are put in the same situation. I know for me it had its ups and downs - my sogra insisted that I share the housework, even though she was home all day and I worked. Tension ended up getting between me and my was trouble in paradise. It's hard to break away from the culture though, but it seems more young Brazilians are starting to move further from their parents. It seems like your idea about having an apartment close by and a home in the US would be ideal! I hope it all works out for you!!

Jim said...

Just seeing this post... Wow, from the number of responses you seem to have really struck a chord with everyone elses experience as well.

Count me (as you know) among those who both love my in-laws and often choose to do things separately from them.

It's definitely political and I take every opportunity to lavish praise and kindness on my mother-in-law.

Hang in there. Good luck.