Home CommunityCommunity Features Dear Aunty D: January 2022

Dear Aunty D: January 2022

by Aiden

Navigating familial relationships is hard, but Aunty D’s got you covered.

Maid or Maiden?

Dear Aunty D,

When I first met my son’s girlfriend, she was a very beautiful, put-together young woman that any mother-in-law would be proud to have gracing her son’s arm. A few months after the lavish wedding and honeymoon, however, she now dresses like someone twice her age. I hate to say it, but she looks very matronly, and tacky also. It’s quite embarrassing when guests come to visit us, and sometimes, they even mistake her for a nanny! How to stop this behaviour?

Dear Maid or Maiden,

Mummy-in-law, look beyond her clothes and see her for what and whom she is; a daughter who’s left her house to be a daughter-in-law in your house. For the time being, help her settle into your family habits and household routines by complimenting her whenever she makes the extra effort, not only with dressing and clothes but with whatever she’s doing to adjust into your family. Maybe it’d be nice if, with time, her husband or your daughters could be her shopping buddies and help her choose a wardrobe or trinkets that’ll bring out the best of her. But ultimately, she has to be comfortable in her own skin, and find her own footing, whatever way it might be.

Not-so-White Knight

Dear Aunty D,

My wife’s older sister has come to visit us for a few weeks, and it seems like with a lot of the new travel uncertainty, she’s planning to stay for another few months. While I’m always happy to host family, she and I don’t always see eye to eye. Recently, a point of contention between us is that she always dissects every aspect of my wife’s cooking and I can see that it’s bringing my wife down, and making her insecure. My wife tells me, however, to leave it be. How can I stand up for her without upsetting her?

Dear Not-so-White Knight

It’s very considerate of you to feel for your wife’s discomfort and the unnecessary tension around something that she has been doing and will need to do constantly, and that is cooking to feed you and the family. A guest, no matter how close a relation or friendship, has no right to critique the way the house is run or how and where the armchair should be, and least of all, how the food is cooked or served. Even though your wife seems to be taking it in stride, it’s eroding her sense of being the princess of her own castle, and your support needs to transform into action; tell the bully to back off!

Social Construct

Dear Aunty D,

My wife and I have two wonderful daughters, and we’re expecting a third child. We’ve decided early that we don’t want to know the baby’s gender ahead of time, as we want it to be a surprise, and it doesn’t matter to us – in fact both of us are against gender selection or any of the new-fangled designer baby nonsense. However, my mum is very backwards, and is already upset that we’ve had only two girls so far. How do I politely tell her that her views are wrong, and all we want is a child that’s happy and healthy?

Dear Social Construct

Your mum is sadly harbouring the common misconception of most Asian cultures, which are patriarchal, that a son is a necessity to carry on the family vansch or bloodline. Even sadder is that it’s often us women who are our worst enemies and perpetuate this ideology. It’s heart-warming to know you feel your two daughters are a blessing, which indeed it is. Be it a son or a daughter next, they both deserve an equal and unbiased share of love and education to see them stand on their own two feet. Meanwhile, bounce off mum’s negativity by sending vibrations of love and welcoming acceptance to the arriving soul, in whichever gender the Maker sends to you. 

Have an etiquette question? Send your dilemmas to aiden@masalathai.com and write “Dear Aunty D” in the subject line.

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