expecting our first..........
- 08-09-2008, 03:37 AM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
expecting our first..........
I have been searching the web for answers to questions I have and ran into this forum. hopefully some of you can help me out.
I am a guy married to the First born of (3) daughters of full Chinese decent. My wife and I have been together for 4+ years now we met through one of her Chinese uncles that was born and raised here in Hawaii. Her family still lives in Canton China and i am starting to get really nervous. let me explain a little.
(I could make this really, really long but I feel that her family is using the word Tradition as an excuse.)
example: My understanding is the first born get married first. Not with her family her younger sister married 3 months before us even thought we had announced we were engaged (sister was pregnant).
Daughters marry in husbands family become part of husbands family and take care of them.
Her family is expecting us to take care of them ?now? and want to retire ?now? in America.
Now don?t go nut?z on me I am in now way expecting my wife to take care of my family other then the one we are making together. My family (mom and dad) are 65 and are doing well and not retiring.
My wife does have some extended family here in Hawaii. Some (the ones that once lived in China (Trad) and moved here; there are a hand full of them one is her fathers brother) and then there are the ones that I know and met before I even knew my wife (the ones that were born and raised here.) My wife?s uncle the "Trad" brought her over and paid for her to get her masters degree and we have honored him and paid him back in full. However our problem lies with her Ma and Ba back in Canton, all of the "Trad" relatives that live over here (Except for the uncle that helped my wife he really is well off.) live in low income housing and reap the government benefits while holding down (2) cash paying jobs that they pay no tax?s on. They then send back or go back and flaunt off all of the American money saying the US govt. gives free housing and money. My wife tries to explain to her mom and dad that this is not true and that her and I struggle every month with more bills than they can imagine. Note: my understanding from my wife is that the only bills her mom and dad have to pay is an electric bill and buy food, everything else is provided buy Govt. Even their 3 story house which is better than our little 2 bed 2 bath townhouse. So when they (her ma/ba) see my wife?s relatives coming back and flaunting American money and saying how cheap it is in America to live, they expect her to bring the entire family over. ?her parents are trying to make us bring them over to live with us.? To me this is unexcitable
We have agreed together only to bring them over on a visitor?s visa for 6Mo after the baby is born. My problem is that I know that their will be allot of stress placed on my wife as I do not speak Cantonese and her Ma & Ba only speak Cantonese. My wife says that they will help with taking care of the baby for 6 months and probably want to go back to china. But here is where I have problems. They want us to float the entire bill for them to come here. Air travel food and living expenses. Heck we just got a Mortgage and Baby on the way we can hardly pay our bills.
Some of my worries are that while over in china I saw how her father treats his other grandson; holding his middle daughters son and smoking and blowing the smoke all around the child. I am an ex-smoker who will not tolerate cigarettes anywhere near my home. How do I communicate to her Father the idea that I do not want him nor will I allow him to smoke anywhere in or around my house let alone around my child? Or the fact that I will in no way buy him cigarettes? Maybe I am over reacting but from what I saw while I was there I?m worried. Another aspect was when I held my stepsisters? son, he had never seen a white guy before and he started to cry, I tried to comfort him but he would not stop crying so my wife?s father came over took the child and smacked him on the head and yelled something in Chinese. Now you know im not going to allow that.
I feel like my title of ?Master of my domain? will be in contest from the minute they land. I want my child to be proud of his heritage and culture and I want him to know his family in China but her sister on several occasions over the phone and in email has said nasty things toward my wife that has made her cry saying the her and I are hording all of our money and being selfish. This from a woman who sold Tradition over our heads but then breaks her own countries laws buy having more than one child after her first is a son and is expecting us to send her money. My wife doesn?t even like calling home any more. This is all because they think we are rich just cause we live in America. I don?t know if I am ready or willing to take on the responsibility of working my hands to the bone to support what I consider a FIL that is totally capable of working a job he?s 53 but in stead just wants to be lazy because of his mis-placed ideas of America life..
I am sorry if this is not the right place to post this, I am just looking for some advise. From others in the Chinese culture.
- 08-09-2008, 07:39 PM #2
as a white person married to a chinese person (although, i'm the woman) i can tell you that i have had more ummmmm disagreements with my m-i-l since we had our kids than i ever had before kids. my m-i-l is great and loves our kids more than anything in the world, but we just have very different ideas as to what is an acceptable way to raise a child. (although, i keep telling myself, that she did manage to raise two wonderful men, i have a really hard time when it comes to letting my own kids away with so much).
in a sentence.... I SMELL TROUBLE....
i wish you luck! i have a feeling you're going to need it!
- 08-09-2008, 10:16 PM #3
I'm a white girl married to a Chinese guy too - and my husband's parents are not as traditional - his father is VERY non-traditional... his mother is more so, but she's lived in Australia for the past 20 years so she's not traditional compared to your in-laws!! You are definitely going to have some culture differences in your situation!!
My best suggestion is to sit with your wife and work out how you two want to deal with the situation as a TEAM... You're not a white couple - you're not a Chinese couple, you're a mixed couple - and so your choices and "way of life" would probably include some elements from BOTH of your cultures... For example, you need to talk about the money thing - and AGREE on it... I know my husband likes to give money to his mother - but his father will not allow us to give him any money (they're divorced). Work out something that works for YOU GUYS... whether it be giving them a little every now and then, or giving them a monthly "stipend", or paying for their visit - whatever works for YOU... But you'll need to work through all the "differences" with your wife - from how they treat your kids, to EVERYTHING else...
You and your wife need to be a team, supporting each other and working together. You said that you can't speak Chinese and they can't speak English - so that may mean one of two things - a) your wife might need to "get firm" with them to let them know your boundaries - or b) maybe you can do it using her (or someone else) as an interpreter... but boundaries DO need to be set and it needs to be "clear" otherwise probably you and her parents will continually misunderstand each other and end up having a really bad relationship - which is not what you want when you married their daughter!! And it may be hard for your wife to talk with them, because it's not really the way that things are done in that culture at all!!
I know even with my in-laws, I still have a hard time relating to them... it's SO different to what I'm used to... but communication goes a long way... and I think it's important to WANT to have a relationship with them... THEY are a part of the person you married after all... they are your kids' grandparents - and a part of your life, whether it's easy or not!!
Hang in there and I hope it looks up for you!! You don't have to listen to anything I said if it doesn't apply for you - but that's just things that have helped me with my relationship with my in-laws!!
- 08-09-2008, 10:20 PM #4
i also find that sometimes, my hubby feels like he's between a rock and a hard place...
his wife on one hand wanting things done one way and his mother on the other wanting them done another way.
that's not a nice place to be and it can build resentment on all sides...wife feeling not being backed up by hubby... mother feeling not being backed up by son... son feeling....leave me the heck out of it!
don't get me wrong, my m-i-l is great, BUT there are definitely A LOT of cultural things to deal with.
nicole's suggestions are spot on... you need to deal with it NOW as a couple BEFORE any in-laws descend upon you.
- 08-09-2008, 10:31 PM #5
That's us as well... sometimes I feel like I'm "stuck in the middle" between my parents (who sometimes aren't what my husband expected from in-laws) and my hubby... and vice versa too. It can really turn into a me against them kinda thing, for both of us...
We've OFTEN had to sit down and work through "This is why this is done in my culture. I really like this and I think it's important. These things are tradition but aren't as important to me and I actually prefer it done the way that YOUR culture does this other thing..."
We're currently pregnant with our first child (first grandkid for both sides of the family) so we haven't had to deal with the way the grandparents relate yet, but we've already talked about a LOT of it... we've already set some boundaries (for example, my MIL is not going to come stay with us for a month and a half to cook me all the confinement food and make sure that I don't wash my hair before I'm allowed to) - some times BOTH of us have to make sacrifices in what we want... but we need to remember to be a TEAM in the way we make these decisions - and ultimately, your relationship with your spouse is even more important than your relationship with your parents... we're our OWN family unit now... not "Chinese" or "white-Australian" but mixed, unique, individual... that's the aim of ANY marriage, to become your OWN family unit...
- 08-09-2008, 10:40 PM #6
yep, we had the conversation with my m-i-l that our children are NOT just chinese, they are also canadian, so some things will be done chinese way and some things won't
both of our kids have full english names (first & middle) and full chinese names.
we didn't chose their chinese names in the traditional manner though... we didn't use the calendar and go to the feng shui guy...my hubby did ask for input from his family on the chinese names and he and i worked together to come up with the english names...the only say i had over the chinese name was that it didn't sound like anything in english (i had a taxi driver named YU TIT MAN once and i swore i would not give my child a name like that)...
hubby has to continually remind ma-ma that we are the parents and what we say, is the final word... this is not a very traditional view of raising children. for the most part, she's ok with it, however, she does occasionally really p*ss me off, i try not to show it...and realise that she has the best of intentions and everything she does, she does from love, not malice.
however, to the OP, it seems that your in-laws view you as a meal ticket... i'd beware and set the ground rules WITH your wife long before they make landfall state-side.
- 08-10-2008, 12:26 AM #7Registered User
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Wow, you're really in a sticky situation here. My FIL just "decided" that he would come and stay with us for 6 months until the baby is born, and after that, MIL will come and stay with us for 1.5 months, just to "take care of me". I'm really stressed out and sometimes find myself crying alone in the bedroom since there's really not much we can do about that : FIL is already here and MIL's ticket is booked and confirmed.
But your situation sounds even worse, like Carang said, you're like a meal ticket to them! So you have not just the cultural thing to deal with, you need to be very careful! It's true that some (and I don't mean all) mainland Chinese have this idea that people in the West all live in nice big house with big garden, swimming pool and drive two nice cars. When I was working there, my colleague would always ask me about my salary back home, what kind of car I drove, did I have a big house, or always use branded stuff. It is very common. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't let them get any ideas or it will become a never-ending story....
- 08-11-2008, 09:55 AM #8Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
I'm not chinese nor is my husband but a good friend of mine is in a very similar situation. In the end to protect their own family they had to cut ties with his wife's (chinese) family. It wasn't easy or pleasant but her family were leeches and like your in laws, chose to follow tradition when it suited them, and to ignore it when it didn't. You have a baby on the way and i think your immediate family has to be your priority. Your in laws sound completely unreasonable and have only one goal, as others have said, to use you as their meal ticket to a better life. I don't believe your wife will be able to change their views on life in america or anything else for that matter. As they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. We all have problems with our in laws but not all of us have to deal with these type of cultural issues too.
In the interest of honesty, i have to say i just can't see how you can reach an amicable resolution so just remember that your baby is number one. Personally i would never let someone in to my house who didn't respect me or my husband and our wishes.
Good luck. You're going to need it. I hope your wife is supportive.
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