M-I-L (Mother in Law)

>> Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dear Little Aunties,
I have a small little issue that I need your help in. My husband is from a different city than me. When we got married, he moved to my city and brought his mother here. So, I have been living with my mother in law for the past few months and it is really getting me down. I feel like all I do is clean, clean, clean and nothing is appreciated. And she is really grumpy and always angry around me. I am just really tired. I know there really isn't a question in this letter but I need some help and no one to talk to.

tired of it all

Dear Tired of it All,
Awww, let me offer you a big hug. It sounds like you are really tired. I know that being a home maker is hard work!! It seriously is.. let alone with a mother in law, it must be harder.

The truth is, Islamically, you actually have the right to have your own house. You can’t be forced to live with your mother in law.

But wait, hold on! I'm not telling you to kick your mother in law out, though. I’m just saying that is obvious proof that it is difficult to live with in-laws. After all, our Islamic rights are given to us by Allah for a reason. IF Allah said that you can have your own separate house (without your in-laws), He must have had a wise reason to do so. He knows what is difficult for us and what is not....

With that said, though, here’s the thing. I could give you a lot of “ideal advice”- tell you your Islamic rights and that kinda thing. But would that really change the situation for the better? Or would that just ‘pump you up’ (you know what I mean?). Would that change anything? At the end of the day, no matter what your rights are, she is your husband's mother....and your fellow Muslim sister. She is your children (or future children, inshaAllah)'s grandmother.

The only thing that you can honestly ‘change/control’ is YOUR perspective….

That’s why instead, I’m going to tell you some tips/ other ways of looking at the situation, inshaAllah.

Number 1: Make your intention for Allah's sake. Things just get a lot easier when we decide that we want Allah's appreciation- that He's our goal and ultimate end. Realize also that the Shaitan's number 1 priority is breaking up marriages. I mean he seriously makes it his MISSION…to break up a couple. There’s a hadith on that. Did you know that? I just can't seem to find it, right now, lol.

But seriously, think about this.
"The most beloved deed to Allaah is making a Muslim happy." ...
When you are making your husband happy, you are making Allah happy =)

Number 2: Recognize that your MIL is a little old. She’s …what? 50? Or in her fifties? She’s used to things being her way. Now, she’s living in a city, other than her ‘own’…She probably doesn’t have any friends. I’m going to guess that she doesn’t really drive, either. She’s stuck in the house the whole day. Add to that, the fact that she probably has some sense of knowing that she’s not really welcome in your house. .

How does that sound to you? Does it make sense that she would be a bit grumpy?

And do you think that  maybe this is about HER needing her son?

Who does she have now, right? What does she have to do?

So what’s my point?

Well, you’re stuck in he house and she’s there. You can either make the best of it or suffer it through (the both of you).

  • Have you tried maybe reading Qur’an with her?
  •  Asking her to teach you some of your husband’s favorite dishes?
  • Is there any show that you can watch with her? (preferably a religious show, :P).
  • Why don’t you suggest that you go out of the house- like on a picnic? To a park? 
  • Maybe invite your own mother and some other older ladies over? That way you're not always  alone with her….you could even start like a book club / Qur’an halaqah or something, and each week, you have these ladies come over. She might make some friends and best of all, it won’t just be ‘you and her’ in the house, you get me?
  • What about going together to the masjid on Fridays? Introducing her to some people there?

Number 3: House work is hard! Divide it up :) You don't need to do everything all at once.

There's this website that is highly recommended called FlyLady.Net.

Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don't know where to start? Don't worry friend, we've been there, too.
Step through the door and follow FlyLady as she weaves her way through housecleaning and organizing tips with homespun humor, daily musings about life and love, the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE) system, and anything else that is on her mind.

You can also talk to your husband about the work that you do.You might also want to write your schedule and show him all the work you do in one day. Ask him if would be possible to at least get a maid to come in once a week? Explain to your husband in gentle terms: " I'm finding it very difficult to get everything done, and I just need a little help.

If he still says no, my advice for you is what the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam offered Fatima and Ali when they asked him for a maid-

(This is the whole story:)
One day Fatima said to Ali: "I have ground until my hands are blistered."
"I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest," said Ali and went on to suggest to Fatimah: "God has given your father some captives of war, so go and ask him to give you a servant."
Reluctantly, she went to the Prophet who said: "What has brought you here, my little daughter?" "I came to give you greetings of peace," she said, for in awe of him she could not bring herself to ask what she had intended.
"What did you do?" asked Ali when she returned alone.
"I was ashamed to ask him," she said. So the two of them went together but the Prophet felt they were less in need than others.
"I will not give to you," he said, "and let the Ahl as-Suffah (poor Muslims who stayed in the mosque) be tormented with hunger. I have not enough for their keep..."
Ali and Fatimah returned home feeling somewhat dejected but that night, after they had gone to bed, they heard the voice of the Prophet asking permission to enter. Welcoming him, they both rose to their feet, but he told them:
"Stay where you are," and sat down beside them. "Shall I not tell you of something better than that which you asked of me?" he asked and when they said yes he said: "Words which Jibril taught me, that you should say "Subhaan Allah- Glory be to God" ten times after every Prayer, and ten times "AI hamdu lillah - Praise be to God," and ten times "Allahu Akbar - God is Great." And that when you go to bed you should say them thirty-three times each."
Ali used to say in later years: "I have never once failed to say them since the Messenger of God taught them to us."

Number 4: It also sounds like you're also a little lonely. Try talking to him about going on dates’…having some ‘alone time’…. You didn’t marry his mother lol, and it’s important you focus on your relationship, too. Just tell him “I miss you”. Allow yourself to be vulnerable- express your loneliness, your desire to be with him, hang out…..have a romantic evening/ boat ride/ whatever.

Also try and build up on the spiritual side with the hubster.

Number 5: Try and volunteer at some place or take up a hobby. Join a Muslimah forum. You need some 'me' time. Take a bath. Do something for yourself, every day.

Well sis, these are just some small suggestions. We hope things get better for you!! May Allah make your house a house of warmth and bliss and love :D :D

P.S. you should discuss with your husband exactly what his plans are regarding his mother. Is this going to be an indefinite thing? Forever? Or.....? And did you know beforehand? Did he tell you about this before you got married?

17 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Layla May 5, 2011 at 7:47 PM  

Boy, this makes me glad I'm still a teenager. If I get married, I'm going to hire all maids, LOL! I hope to become a doctor, Insh'Allah, and I won't have time to do all the housework.

Little Auntie,  May 6, 2011 at 1:48 AM  

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Layla, you're so cute! inshaAllah you'll be a successful doctor. =)

Uri Fatimah,  May 6, 2011 at 3:05 AM  

Wow, I can't believe this was written by unmarried girl:) Good work.
btw, does wife have no rights to say no when her in-laws come home and live together?

Little Auntie May 6, 2011 at 4:32 AM  

^Fatimah, do you mean does the wife have the right to refuse to live with her in-laws? She actually does have that right, Islamically. She can tell her husband that she wants her own house.

I just wasn't sure of their financial situation and how her husband would take that. But it is definitely her right to do that =)

sahar,  May 6, 2011 at 4:50 AM  

subhanallah i was just thinkign about asking this question and i how i would put it into words. i really do have the same MIL problem i cook and clean and nothing is ever appreciated its like im a hired maid or something. my MIL never wants to do anything, and she is always grumpy. she only smiles when her son comes home from work. honestly she makes me so depressed all day by the time my husband comes home from work i cant stand anyone anymore. she was supposed to come and stay here with us for 2 months tops it has now been almost a year and she always complains that she hates it here in america but never says she wants to leave

sahar,  May 6, 2011 at 5:00 AM  

btw my husband is the biggest mamas boy ever he even sees that she is rude and just laughs at her i mean shes not a 2 year old she knows that shes being mean. just the other day i had a very bad headache the whole day it started getting better by the time my husband was home i had taken a shower and it was feeling much better after dinner we were sitting and taking and she says to me out of no where wow now you look like a human being you looked like a monkey before. infront of my husband i was so embaresed and i got really angry my husband just laughed as if she said a joke and the net day when i confronted her and told her she hurt my feelings she said to me you just want to make problems

♥Maryam A,  May 6, 2011 at 5:29 AM  

InshaAllah Sahar, with hardship comes ease, be patient and dont let her get to you. Muslims arent supposed to humiliate each other, i guess Allah will deal with her how He wills, but right now i suggest you keep trying to be as nice to her as you can, i know it might be hard, but my mum's in-laws have tormented my mum emotionally and mentally for for all of the twenty + years that she has been married to my dad(and most of the memories i have of when i was a kid is when i used to sit next to her when she was crying to Allah in salah or crying by herself), since he loves his parents so much he does anything they ask of him, including hitting/accusing/insulting my mother, but she still hasn't given up because she knows that Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Loving is with her and she tries to be civil to them atleast. I guess what im trying to say is that Allah is with you and knows what you are going through, for everything bad thing that happens to you, if you stay patient and deal with it as you say you have by talking it out, then Allah will reward you immensely inshaAllah!

When your MIL gets riled up or is grumpy, read the Ayat al-Kursi and blow it onto her, inshaAllah it works wonders for keeping the Shaytaan away. Thats what my mum does when my dad gets angry.

Your sister in Islam :)

Anonymous,  May 6, 2011 at 6:15 AM  

Nicely written..
And actually when MIL does that it's because she is afraid of losing her son.
But I encourage everyone not to neglect MIL feelings, because she is the one who educates your husband to be the lovable person he is now.
I'm not married (yet), but I learn that from my mom, my Nekno's (Nekno is my gramma cute name) fave daughter in law.

SubhanAllah, may ALlah guide us all.

Little Auntie, I would like your permission to make your profile on my blog. I found this blog very inspirational, and I would like to put it on my widget so everybody knows. I can answer questions as good as you.

Little Auntie May 6, 2011 at 9:01 AM  

Sahar, I'm very sorry to hear that you're also going through a difficult time. I know it's easy to say to bear it in patience but much harder to actually do. Have you tried talking to your husband about the situation and what his plans are for his mother? She has extended her stay for 10 extra months....There should be a plan in place...

Ria, Jazakillah khair for your very sweet words. I would be so honored/ touched/ flattered if you did that <3

I love your input here, btw :)

Little Auntie,  May 6, 2011 at 9:55 AM  

and Maryam, I'm so sorry to hear that. Hugs, ukhti.

Anonymous,  May 6, 2011 at 4:41 PM  

lol i'm sorry I meant : I can't answer questions as good as you.
yes yes thank you verymuch :D

Anonymous,  May 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM  


I just recently found your blog and I'm really amazed at how deep, comforting, and right on target your advice is, masha'Allah! Not to put down the other Islamic websites with Q & A by scholars, but their responses tend to be a bit dreary and stoic. Your responses really conform to Islamic sensibilities, and most importantly you offer ways in which the questioner can actually implement change. This question was really hard and I love the way you answered it, I'm not even married and I'm looking forward to having a mother in law just so I can utilize your fun advice. You guys have a knack for seeing other people's perspectives, which I think is one the most important skills anyone can have. May Allah swt reward you for your work!


Layla May 6, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

@Little Auntie: Thank you!

@To The Sister Who Asked This Question: May Allah Subhana Wa Taa'la make things much easier for you. Ameen! You can definitely work things out. This is really good that you are working things with your mother-in-law and taking responsible action for this. Most people, if they were in a situation like this, wouldn't really do anything about it.

I just hope your mother is proud of you for being such a mature, lovely woman! Mash'Allah!

Anonymous,  May 7, 2011 at 1:36 AM  

I read a reaaaally inspirational story once, it goes something like this:

A long time ago in China , a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all.

Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly.

Days passed, and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting.

But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-! law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it! Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs.

She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all.

Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you."

Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do."

Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving.

Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspect you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen." Li-Li was so happy.

She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother.

After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in- law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.

Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening. One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her."

Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The idea was to wash away all the ill-will by the love which you gave to her."

Little Auntie May 7, 2011 at 3:05 AM  

^Oh, thank you so much Anonymous for sharing that story! I read it once before and loved it but could never find it again. Did you type it all up yourself? :) It's a great story :D

Sameen, your comment was soooo sweet! Thank you so much. We truly appreciate it :) But as I always say "it's easier to give advice than to actually follow it". When you're not involved, it's easier to see it from other people's perspectives =)

Jazakillah khair!

sahar,  May 7, 2011 at 6:52 AM  

maryam a, thank you for your post i feel so bad for ur mom i wouldnt be able to live like this for 20 yrs. allah ye3nha ya rab
@little auntie, there isnt a plan she dosnt say she wants to leave, she just complains and my husband cant tell her to leave he acutally loves her being her. my cousin is getting married to her granddaughter and she is probably gonna stay untill the wedding we dont even know when the wedding is the girls papers didnt even go thru yet.

Anonymous,  May 8, 2011 at 5:23 AM  

@ Little Auntie

The story's here: :)


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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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