Living with mother-in-law

Today I present you a new story of my crazy Chinese mother-in-law. In the past seven weeks she has been both a big help and a nightmare for us. Big help when it comes to supplying us with food (though there were some issues in the beginning) and nightmare for my wife when it comes to zuo yuezi 坐月, how to take care of the baby and in my special case due to cleaning.

I am not saying that my mother-in-law is not trying to clean up but it is the matter of how she does it and how she leaves her marks in our apartment, car and other places. First of all, it seems she uses the same oily cloth to clean the tables, ceramic cooking field and our glossy kitchen cabinets. Because she uses this same cloth everywhere, it kind of just smears the dirt all around rather than cleaning something. Now, no problem because I am responsible for cleaning the apartment which is usually a pretty easy job and furthermore because my wife told her not to try to clean anymore.

Now we come to the second point, the main issue. It used to be easy to clean the apartment, such as once a year cleaning the windows, once a month making the kitchen cabinets shiny again and basic cleaning all around once a week. In the past seven weeks I have cleaned the windows seven times, I cleaned every second day the kitchen cabinets and I am busy trying to clean everything else nearly every single day!

It basically seems she has an issue with using door knobs and handles, thus leaving rather oily hand prints everywhere, really everywhere. Have you ever watched a child pressing its face on a window to see something outside and leaving a nice facial print on the glass? Well, mother-in-law is the same, each window has on a daily basis new hand and face prints, the window where she sits in the car is one big mess, each door is full of oily hand prints. At first I did not know how every door and window can have so many hand prints each day until I went to the super market with her. There we searched for some ice cream for her and those were behind sliding doors made of glass. Now the average person uses the handle to open those doors (I know, full of nasty stuff) but she pressed her hands on the glass and opened them (looked kind of hard to do so). Well, I guess I have to just deal with it, six more weeks she will stay with us, I should be able to cope with that. Untill then I will have many more doors, windows and cabinets to clean.


Oh, before I forget, my wife can be really cruel/ mean sometimes. After I told her about my “observations” she asked her mother if her dad had already back in the day his OCD (cleaning everything three times etc.). She told her that in the first few years he was still normal but it changed shortly after they got married and moved together. My wife answered then “Now I know at least the reason why dad became so obsessed with cleaning the apartment!”. Both true and mean at the same time but apparently her mother didn’t get it…

12 thoughts on “Living with mother-in-law”

  1. Ha! Sounds like a nightmare. You seem to be coping well. I personally am in no hurry to have a mother-in-law, perhaps especially not Chinese.

    Would you say she’s worse than average or does everyone just have their quircks?

    We still must love family huh!

  2. if you want I can exchange for my MIL – she cleans like no one else but I bet she’s 10000 times more pain in the butt than yours and will never get close to any of you. I would be terrified if I see cleaning like that, it gives much more work than if she just left it there to clean for you.

    1. Oh, I am sorry that your MIL is not getting close to you. Several of my (Chinese) friends have similar MILs, they act all nice and stuff but dont get close to their daughter-in-laws.
      I am thankful that my MIL is different and thanks to her sometimes odd behavior I have some stories to write about (I bet she could write much odd stuff about me too!)

  3. Oh dear. This is a very hilarious and nightmarish situation that you are caught in! You must be tired cleaning up all the stains and smudges all day. Now that you mention your mother-in-law using the same cloth to clean practically everything, I notice my mum does the same too, using the same cloth all over the kitchen and the living room. She does rinse the cloth but, well, I still think it’s a bit unhygienic.

    Did your mother-in-law notice you cleaning?

    1. I am not sure if she noticed me cleaning but in the end it doesn’t matter. Even though I have much more work right now with her here it is also better because it means that my wife does not have to prepare food until May 🙂
      So whatever makes my wife’s life easier right now is good for me

      (btw, in the first week of her stay she used this cloth to wipe an apple to eat :D)

      1. Oh you kidding me. That must’ve been one germy apply. I’m sure your mother-in-law doesn’t mind cooking, which really is a plus for you and your wife. I’m sure it’s great home cooked food…prepared with utensils wiped by that cloth of hers 😀

      2. She doesn’t mind at all and according to her, she can make much better food than any restaurant (still waiting for her pizza though) but in reality it is quite different. But she improved alot after she got a cooking crash course by my wife 🙂

    1. Good question!
      But it is mostly from her preparing food (nice oily Chinese food and snacks) and it seems she just wipes her hands on that very oily cleaning cloth I mentioned in the article 🙂

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