During the past eight months I was able to see first hand the major differences between a Chinese and a Finnish grandmother. My mother-in-law stayed in the beginning of the year for three months with us to help with our little baby and right now we live already nearly two months in Germany in my parents apartment. Of course here my own mother is also playing a major role when it comes to take care of Nathan.
During all these months I was able to witness many amusing occurrences my both MIL and my mother. Believe it or not but even though both grandmothers couldn’t be more different they still share many similarities.
How to spend the day
While MIL enjoys sleeping into the day, going to dancing class or shopping during midday and leading her dancing group in the evening my mother handles things a bit different. She wakes up sharp 6 am and starts with all kind of housework. When the main work is done it is time for grocery shopping and preparing lunch for the family. Even though this might sound much it is just about 11am by now and you would guess that her productivity would continue as so much of the day is still ahead but no, after lunch and coffee time nothing happens anymore. She loves to watch German soap opera or other useless things on television and thus spends every work day from 2pm till 10pm in her sofa spot to watch TV. On the one hand you have the bit lazy but still sporty Chinese grandmother and on the other hand you have a very work focused but also a TV addicted Finnish grandma.
What to eat
When it comes to food my mother is very simple. For breakfast a slice of bread and a cup of coffee, for lunch some quickly prepared German or Finnish food and after that either cake or cookies with coffee. There is no real dinner except perhaps another slice of bread as she stops eating after 6pm. This does not sound like a food lover right? You are right! My mother hates to try out new things, salt and pepper are already exotic spices and going out with her to eat is nearly impossible. My dear mother-in-law is the total opposite. Breakfast is mostly some soup, porridge and whatnot bought from the many vendors downstairs. Lunch is yet again either bought at one of the street kitchens or eaten in one of the many restaurants in the area. Dinner is the main part of the day and needs much preparation/ calling friends who wants to go out to eat with her. During night-time the occasional instant noodle pack is prepared or some of the leftovers from the eating battles are warmed up again. Yes, she is a food lover. She just loves to try out new things, nothing is too spicy and eating less than three times a day some warm food is a no go. Sometimes I have the feeling that she spends her entire free time with eating and of course she is not gaining any weight…
How to take care of Nathan
While the one person is overly crazy, wants to carry her grandson non stop and wouldn’t let go, the other person tries to make the child as independent as possible. As so many Chinese grandmas MIL is also totally crazy about her grandson. She would do everything for that little monster (if my wife would let her…). During her three months at our place there were a few fights between her and my wife as she was not allowed to carry the baby around all the time and so on. Here in Germany my mother is the complete opposite. Sure, she enjoys spending time with her grandson and for unknown reasons he has to laugh nearly all the time when he sees her but she also tries that her daughter-in-law is doing most things with the baby. A mix between those two would be perfect!
You probably wonder now how there can be still any similarities between these two different grannies. It is actually very easy as the main similarities is very plain and simple: They can be so annoying! I can’t really say why but my father has the theory that all women after some certain age become just naturally annoying for their children. My wife is already afraid that Nathan will be as annoyed by her later as she is with her mother and my mother…
Even though they can be really annoying we still love them. They are both people who lived completely different lives but they also try to help their children whenever they can. In the end it does not matter where someone comes from, what background they have, or what weird things they do, because as long as they love their family, what can be bad about them?