和奶奶生活一週後的感想 – first week with Momzilla

Some of my new readers might not noticed the fact I’m Polish and Polish people love jokes about mother-in-law. Polish mothers-in-law can be really tough on their sons’ in law, so no wonder they come up with so many jokes about monsters-in-law. Just to make you little bit more familiar with Polish sense of humor, check those out:

Mother-in-law comes to visit daughter and son-in-law. He opens the door:
image (20)-O, mommy! How long will mom stay with us?
-Until I make you bored, son.
-So you won’t even come in?

What are ‘mixed feelings’?
When mother-in-law has accident in your car.

Man comes to the police station to report his mother-in-law was missing.
-When did she disappear?
– 3 weeks ago.
– Then why you’re reporting it now?
– Because I couldn’t believe in my luck.

You just can feel that love. But someone you don’t read about Chinese mothers-in-law and they are pretty good source of in-law jokes, at least mine is. And the one that belongs to Crazy Chinese Family (click here to read some awesome posts). She is THE CRAZY. Both of us got blessed with very specific moms-in-law. I already wrote little bit about her in my post ‘Tiger mother in law‘ but never really explained why my friend and I started to call her Momzilla. She deserves the title, believe me.

She’s really hard to please. That’s the most famous story I always tell and laugh about: in Hong Kong we went to eat out. I ordered a sandwich, they had hot dishes so it was obvious their food will come later. I started to eat mine, then they joined me. You don’t really have to be a Sherlock to figure out that I finished much faster than them. She later complained to Sing that I ate too fast which caused him a loss of face (!), but she also complained he ate too slow. Now we try to finish exactly at the time she puts her chopsticks down.

image (19)Try cooking for her. She doesn’t like meat, but she likes burgers. She likes fish, but won’t buy one unless I say ‘Sing would like to eat it’ so when we go shopping I’m like ‘husband likes it,  take it!’. She wanted crackers, I put them in the cart, she takes them away. Sing joins us, does the same thing I did and now it’s perfectly fine. Same with cooking – she doesn’t like this, she doesn’t like that. Fresh veggie is too fresh, spaghetti sauce is too creamy. My favorite quote is when she got little bit sick few days ago and her comment about chicken soup was… ‘it’s too chicken’. How should it taste then? Like marshmallows?

She steals my love. And I don’t mean Sing, she will always be his mother so I know that there will be situations he has to be on her side. But trying to bribe my Biscuit with food and snacks? Oh, hell no. You stole my husband’s attention, you stole my spot on the couch, you stole my seat at the table, you did the same thing with the car – I feel like a baby being in the back – but using treats to get my cat’s love? After my dead body. Or maybe I shouldn’t blame her? Who could resist those tiny chubby cheeks and gentle meowing. Sadly, Biscuit is a traitor.

Sometimes she doesn’t know how to behave. My polite behavior to her is abnormal or simply stupid. When we cross the street and I nod my head to say ‘Thank you for stopping’ to the driver she complains to Sing ‘It’s their responsibility, why thank’. I also clean after myself when I eat out. I stack dishes together, use a napkin to clean around – I’m not a messy person, doesn’t matter if I’m at home or outside. Besides I know people working in the restaurants have already a lot to do, at least I can make it little bit easier. But I still don’t know why she once called my throwing garbage at McDonald’s stupid – maybe that’s the culture difference everyone’s talking about. I’ve been told in Asia there are people hired just for cleaning the table, but I don’t like to leave a mess behind me, not to mention now we reside in a Western country so it shouldn’t shock her so much.

She could get us into trouble, just 2nd day she came. Don’t get her wrong, she’s an older lady, she never really seen black image (18)people in her life so all her knowledge is based on movies. And movies are based on the stereotypes, so when she went to the bus in our area seeing 6 black people at once she almost freaked out. She even used a phone to tell me ‘Lots of black people, afraid’. Do I have to say what skin color had two big men sitting behind us? She slowly sees how untrue was the image she knew – personally those people are one of the nicest I’ve met, the only bad experience I had was with a white older guy. Kinda ironic?

Everything is unnecessary. Drying rack? Unnecessary. Another shoe shelf (because her little prince got too many pairs of shoes)? Unnecessary. Little pleasures like milk tea? Unnecessary. How about first aid kit? Don’t buy it, it will bring you bad luck and injury. It really bothers my everyday life because I cannot get what I want or need, I need to first think 10 times if it will cause a fight or complains.

She talks. Talks way too much. She talks so much she had a sore throat. Or maybe she did this on purpose, I wouldn’t bet she didn’t. Anyway, she can go constantly from the time she wakes up until the very end of the day. Sometimes I rest on the bed, preparing to sleep and I hear her calling Sing’s name. Even at that time she’s well prepared to talk. Now he pretends he’s asleep. One of my dear Readers suggested I should turn on the radio for her, but then she might want to concur with the radio host. What if she get’s a job and working visa, then stays with us for longer? I don’t even want to think about it!

Honestly I could go like that for hours (changing into her), but that wasn’t my point for today. I’m pretty sure I will find a lot of things to complain about during those 3 months, I won’t lie about it. But I must say that my first week with Momzilla, despite all of the above, made me closer to her. Without Sing for most of the day we spend time alone. At first it was really awkward and silent.image (21) I tip-toed around the house not to wake her up and spend less time with her. Then she noticed my books and that I study Cantonese, instead of Shanghainese now she talks to me in Cantonese, she will talk to Sing in Shanghainese but then turn to me and change right away to Cantonese. She turns on TVB or other channels she can find in Cantonese. She even started to help me with pronunciation while my husband only helped me with writing and reading. That opened both of us for a talk, well it opened her a bit too much for talking, but it’s not so silent in the room anymore. She even asked me to teach her some English, it’s pretty fun. At least for me ‘windy’ is ‘Wendy’ and Biscuit changes into Biscuits since she says ‘cat’ like ‘cats’. When we cannot understand each other there’s always Google Translate and hilarious translations. She does things she didn’t do before – allows me to take care of household, when in her mind probably she thinks she can do it better. She even lets me take care of her. It might not mean anything to you, but for me it was a big step. That means she got close enough to me and when I think about it I’m almost crying. I even saw her childish side when we went to the park and she started to play around on the playground like she was 7 again. After all she said ‘Na, I happy. But too wendy‘. We went from enemies to quite close people. It took me almost 2 years of marriage and that’s one of my biggest accomplishments in life. I knew she had trust issues to outsiders, even to some family members and I broke through the wall that was between us. And believe me or not but she even helped me to win in Mahjong. Not a tiny, itty-bitty win, but 3 winds, 3 middles and a pair of fortune. Even when we play cards she tries to be fair to Sing and me, in the past she would do absolutely anything to let Sing win. I guess I’m slowly part of the family in her eyes. I’m really curious what those 3 months will bring. Either I will go back to see my parents with tears of sadness since I have to leave her or it will be tears of joy and ‘Master has given Dobby an airplane ticket. Dobby is free‘.

Have you ever didn’t get along with a family member but later you got close? Any advice you could give me? Keep your fingers crossed for me and stay tuned because I’m pretty sure sooner or later I will make another post about Momzilla! 🙂
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46 thoughts on “和奶奶生活一週後的感想 – first week with Momzilla

  1. Based on what I’ve read, I think you are doing very well. In 3 months you both will know each other even more (hopefully for the better and not the worse). I had a small requirement from my mother-in-law. She wanted me to call her Mrs. C* or call her mom. I chose the later and she was pleased. It took a while for my wife’s brothers to accept me. Maybe because I married their baby sister. (grin)

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  2. This is hilarious, and I can totally feel you feeling proud of your achievements. But that Dobby thing really cracked me up and made me laugh so hard in the office. Good way to start my Friday 😀

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    1. I know how to say some things like know and don’t know, eat and don’t eat but I really dislike the way the dialect sounds haha 🙂 I’ve been to Shanghai once to see my husband’s mother’s family 🙂 but fort those raw fried buns I could go back again haha 🙂

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      1. You definitely should. I met my wife in Shanghai, when she was working there and while I was on my holiday. Very romantic city, totally different feel from HK.

        I feel like I can get along with your husband very well, born in HK, SH parents, living in the states. There are quite a few of us like that haha.

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        1. You’re 3rd person like that I know 🙂 luckily for me only his mom is from Shanghai, father is from HK so there’s not too much shanghainese in the house haha 🙂 when I first met both of my in-laws it was funny because mom talked in her dialect father in Cantonese and my husband kept changing between depends on who he replied sometimes popping up with English to me 😀

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          1. In my immediately family, we speak Cantonese, Shanghainese, and English all interspersed. My wife speaks Mandarin. So between the all of us, we end up speaking four languages at once. I often wonder about how other people listening on our conversations would feel. I think you would know. haha

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  3. Wow – good luck 😦

    I already started feeling anxious for you, just reading this post! I’m so glad Ryosuke is not a “momma’s boy” and that his mom and dad live close enough that we can visit whenever we want, but not far enough so that they would actually have to stay with us when they visit.

    I hope your visit goes well! You can do it!

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    1. we have a joke ‘What’s mother-in-law on 102 (on 102 – literally ‘na 102’ – means better than best)? 100m away from house, 2m under the ground. very awful joke, but it’s really tiring. even thought it’s bit better between me and her I still feel like I she controls our lives. I wanted to get a milk tea, she complained. Sing tried it too but response was the same,,, I feel so tired already!

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  4. In Italy we have a lot of jokes about mothers in law too, for example
    -My mother in law got poisoned!
    -Did she eat something bad?
    -No, she bit her own tongue!
    (They always have somthing bitter to say to their children’s spouses so we somtimes call them Snakes)
    But I always tell my mum that I am happy for the man I will marry one day, because she is far from the stereotypical Italian mum, so she will probably make an awesome MIL!

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  5. Thank you for mentioning me in the article 🙂

    It seems you start to get along with her more and more but don’t forget, deep down inside she is still a MIL! I must say in certain ways she is more weird or crazy than my MIL but then again, she has her very strange sides as well. They both would definitely compliment each other very well…
    This post just reminded me of so many things I have experienced, especially during the three months MIL was with us and I had to write them quickly down on a note for future blog posts 🙂

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  6. “..from enemies..”? was it really that bad at the beginning? I don’t wanna even think about how mine and his mum will react when we reveal our rlship….sigh.

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  7. You’re really making a great effort, I’m pretty sure others would already have given up. 3 months is a long time (especially if both of you share the same space lots of the time), but like you said, it will make you understand and maybe even appreciate each other better.

    When my mother-in-law stayed with me and my husband for a few months, there was about a week’s time where during the day it was mostly me and her. She’s not too crazy, but she cares too much about my well-being (especially since I was pregnant at that time) and I’m used to more independence. The good thing is that my husband is a great mediator and whenever I needed more space, he could tell his mother in a way that would make her understand (like telling her that she should not only care about others, but also about herself).

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  8. We thank people who stop to let us cross the road or stack our plates neatly at restaurants. When I go out with my boyfriends parents they do the same. But maybe England has rubbed off on them. His Mum complains about things a lot, not to the extent it sounds like your Momzilla (Awesome name) does, but I guess it’s a typical Hong Kong Mothers thing!

    It’s really nice she is speaking Cantonese at you…even if she seems a bit crazy and controlling in all the other ways! Sounds like she likes you 🙂

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  9. No, it has nothing to do with her being a HK mum. Mine is from HK, we live in a scummy part of the UK and were it not for her I would be as rude as the chavs I grew up with. It’s an(other) unforunate stereotype that Chinese, and HK mums are rude and bitchy.

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  10. Great post sweetie! Seems like you have gotten closer to your “momzilla” thats great, I’m happy for youuu~ And the “Na, I happy. But too wendy” is so cute haha. It reminds me of when ChenChen and I skype with he’s parents. They don’t speak English, but they are trying to learn and then my MIL always says something like “Oda.. Wo yao baby” !! haha

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    1. nah, she knows when my face is unhappy – same I can tell when she complains about me even though I don’t speak Shanghainese. I mean sometimes I think they argue but they just talk and start laughing but in 99% of the cases I can tell when she complains I did something not the way she wanted 😀 and even she knows she’s hard to please when it goes to eating!

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  11. Loved those jokes at the beginning. So happy you are getting closer to your mother-in-law, mine is a hopeless case. It really says something about her when her own kids don’t want to be around her. It’s sad for her, missing out on wonderful grandchildren:) Good luck!

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  12. Oh my, you are really one brave girl to start winning over your Momzilla! Hang in there for the next months, and we hope that in the end you two are even closer and she will happily go back home and give you and your husband your space and freedom back 😉

    I actually get along pretty good with my MIL, I think it’s much to do that she is a person that is quite easy to be in good terms with. She knows I like my alone time a lot and doesn’t come over all the time, even though we leave almost next to them now (after living together with the parents for one year).

    Of course she still cares and does things for us a lot more than my own mother does, as we are much more independent in Finland. She buys eggs and beef and puts it to our fridge. Sometimes she or the FIL move furniture or flowers from one place to another, but we have tried to get them to stop this.

    It’s much harder for me to get along with my FIL, as he is a strong-willed man who thinks he is always right!

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  13. Man, I know what you mean. You are a true warrior for hosting your MIL at home for months, I could never do that.

    Dealing with Chinese mother-in-laws is HARD in my own experience. All the girls I know that are in a relationship with a Chinese guy have somehow a hard time with the MIL. The cultural clash is often very strong, especially when it comes about the role of mothers in the family. In my case my boyfriend’s mom thinks to have a right to decide on our life, criticize anything we do, get mad if we don’t follow what she wants us to do, treat her 30-years-old son like a toddler and so on. She is also quite mean-spirited, arrogant and immature. As you said, the list may be never ending.

    Frankly dealing with the Chinese MIL is the biggest challenge in my mixed relationship and I am still trying to figure it out. Hopefully one day I will get to your level of patience and understanding and things will be easier!

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  14. Awwww, the part where you said she started to speak to you in Cantonese, and find programs etc brought a tear to my eye. ❤ In her own way she's really making an effort, and I'm sure that's thanks to your hard work and monumental patience. She may certainly never reach "not crazy", but I think you've helped her become "less crazy".
    Also kudos to you for being able to deal with all that!! I consider myself very lucky as my fiancé's mother takes my side more than her own son's, haha! 😀

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  15. Boy, you really did have a Momzilla week! I didn’t get along with my mother-in-law for YEARS! She was awful. But after her husband died, she became more mellow and easier to get along with. I’m so glad, because she made my life miserable for a while.

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  16. I’ve recently met a Polish gal married to a Pakistani guy, they have an adorable baby-gal and she was happy with her in-laws… an exception to the rule! 🙂 good luck! 😉

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  17. I laughed so hard over the “What should it taste like? Marshmallows?” Oh, and the, “I love this food and so I will deny myself this food,” thing — I can’t decide if it’s martyrdom or fatalism. You captured the essence of the relationship. Also, I love the mother-in-law jokes. Loved the post, sorry I am late to the party.

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    1. I sometimes don’t know how to follow her logic – like with last piece of food in the other post: I eat it, I’m selfish, I give it to her – I don’t love Sing enough, I give it to Sing – why I give him the leftover?! no one eats it – why do I waste food 😀

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