My recent health problems lead to my husband’s panic about my life, I’m quite surprised he doesn’t hold a tiny mirror when we go to sleep just to check if I’m still breathing. It also makes me think about my mother-in-law. Every time something happens she has some ‘good advices’ or some crazy magic Chinese medicine I run away from.
I really love my mother-in-law, but for any girl dating Asian, especially Chinese man, they need to be aware that once it gets serious your lovely mommy is changing into tiger mother-in-law.
This article will be only about my personal experience and people around us, I cannot say every mother-in-law will be the same, but there’s quite big chance for that. So let me introduce you… MY 虎家婆! Or like my parents call her ‘Nafka’.
That lovely woman on the photo has never been a tiger mother to her son. There was no need – he was, is and will be number one, most handsome, not to mention the smartest, getting what’s the best in his life… And we – as we I mean any girl trying to get close to Mr. Top – are not the best. My husband told me non of the girls to Chinese mothers will be good enough. Just never.
It’s just so funny I needed to add this: last night my husband whatsapped with his mom, sent her a picture of meal I made. Their talk looked a bit like that:
SHE: Eat more
HE: I’m old, I get full easily
SHE: You old? You look like teenager, Lina must love you deep from her heart when she sees you. Eat more!
Generation of men we’re interested in is in 99% a generation of one child policy in China, but also time when people couldn’t afford more than one child in other parts of Asia. Probably you all know that, we like it or not, son was more wanted than a girl – girl is given away, it’s ‘bad investment’, but son inherits everything and gives family’s surname to his child. Since parents had only one child, they spoiled them, treated them like a treasure. In their minds no one will treat their 小寳 as good as them. 小寳 grows up, becomes 大寳 and he finds a girl he likes. It’s not that bad if she’s chosen by mother, but if he does that on his own… Suddenly in her life there’s another woman taking care of the precious Prince, she will be nice to her but when they announce they get married she will show her claws.
Some people ask me about culture differences between me and my husband. I would say ‘I have more culture and generation differences between me and mother-in-law than with my husband’. At the very beginning, when things got serious and at beggining of marriage we could fight about everything – that she folds pants in different way than I do, so we keep folding one pair of my husband’s pants for a whole afternoon, when we played Chinese poker she will lose just to make him win, that how can I put dumplings on a table when therer’s rice, why I don’t put ginger into napa – napa is cold so I should put hot ginger in it! It got so ridiculous to the point she complained I eat too fast and my husband is losing face because of that… and he got scold for eating too slow.
You think that’s bad? My tiger mother in law is like a kitty comparing to some of what I know – suggesting divorce, forbid to get married, complain about the girl 24/7: too fat, too ugly, too poor, too rich (spends too much), health problems in the family, broken family, only a pretty face, lazy etc. Marriage is little bit like business in China, they don’t want their son to make a bad investment. Even if they don’t say things out loud you might get hints like ‘What a good husband you married, you must be so happy’.
I can see those terriefied faces of girls – don’t be. Just give them time, for a white girl honestly is easier to get tiger mother appreciaton – in the end their son is seen as ‘winner‘. But time and showing them you can take care of him as good as she can is the best way – in my case she saw me first time in late May, June we got married, things happened too fast for her but time showed that I cook Chinese food for him – because of course eating Western food he would die in a month, take care of his clothes, make him happy. If you can earn money or be from good family, give him some benefits it’s even better. You need to be pretty, but of course you cannot be more gorgeous than Prince. You should be smart, holding a good degree giving good money, but not smarter than him so he doesn’t lose the face. And you should pass all the hidden tests she will have for you checking if you’re clean, willing to work, how you do housework.
You might think that attitude of your (future) mother-in-law is very harsh, but they just want the best for their best sons. And I think it’s not only Chinese culture but every mother of a son – it was same for my parents, my mom had to show my grandma that my dad made a good decision.
Mother-in-law-daughter-in-law relationships are always difficult, no matter if it’s same culture or multiculture relationship and I think non of us can understand that until we become parents. At the end I have one good advice for women dating Chinese men – obey the mother, at least in fronts of her, relationship between mother and son in Asian culture is very strong, she will be with you until her last days and it’s always better to have a friend than enemy. And believe me, once they accept you, you become their new 小寳 they will take care of.
I wish all of you could have such mom like I have. 真的愛妳 as Beyond would sing!