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How Do You Deal With A Mother In-Law Who Is Also Your Landlord?

How Do You Deal With A Mother In-Law Who Is Also Your Landlord?

My wife was living with her mother before we got married. Her father died and left them houses. My wife is the only child of her parents so it was hard for her to leave her mom when we got married. Her mother wanted us to live with her but I objected. She said, “My mom is not troublesome. We’ll be free and happy. We wouldn’t have to worry about anything.” I told her, “I know. She has been awesome since we met but I don’t want us to continue living under her shadow. Let’s find a place where we can be alone. We need that space for our own growth.”

After marriage we searched far and near, we didn’t get any accommodation suitable to our taste. One day my wife said, “My dad has a three-bedroom house we rented out. Three months from now, the rent of those living there would expire. My mom said I should ask if we would like to live there.” I asked the location and she said Tantra Hill. I said, “Great location. It’s closer to my workplace and yours. Tell her we will take it.”

At first, I thought we were going to live there rent-free but as time went on, her mother made it clear that she was renting it to us. I asked how much and she said, GHc1,200 per month. That was way beyond my budget. I told her mom, “I would have loved for us to live there but the price is way beyond what I budgeted for. She asked, “How much is your budget? I said, “I was looking at something around GHc800.” She said, “Wherever you go, you’ll have to pay two years advance and that will be a lot. Let me make it easy for you. Pay six months advance and take it. Six months from now, you might have raised enough to pay for the next six months.”

She made a lot of sense so I paid for six months and later moved into the house with my wife. 

From the day we moved into the house, her mother came there every Saturday and Sunday. We are both workers. It’s only Saturdays and Sundays that we get to be together but this woman will come around and dictate to us what we should do and how we should live our lives. She would be home with us early Saturday morning, cook, eat, sleep, watch movies and later leave in the evening. I had a word with my wife; “Can’t you do something about how often your mother comes around here? We can’t do anything for ourselves just because of her. I love her and I know you love her too. I’d rather we don’t see her often like we do now.”

I don’t know what my wife told her but she stopped coming around for a while. 

She started coming again, this time with a new strategy. Early one Saturday morning I heard a knock on our door. I went to open it and it was her.  She asked me, “It’s everything alright around here?” I thought she was talking about me and my wife so I answered, “Mom we are good. We are doing very well by the grace of God.” She said, “I’m talking about the house. It’s everything functioning just as you met it?” I said, “Yeah, the house is awesome. We haven’t had any problem since we got here.” 

She walked around the house inspecting everything at all that she could lay her eyes on. She met me in front of the house and asked. “How about water and light? Ain’t you guys facing any challenges with them?” I said, “No we are not. We get constant supply all the time.” She looked around as if she was inspecting something unseen. She asked, “Is Dorcas around? Hasn’t she heard that I’m in?” My wife came out to see her and that was it. She went in with her, cooked, ate, watched movies, and slept. It was around 7pm when she got up. She asked, “You’ll go to church tomorrow?” My wife said, “Yes we will go.” She said, “Good. I brought my church clothes. I’m too tired. I’m sleeping here so we go to church together tomorrow.”

If my wife had to cook for me, she’ll be in the kitchen with her. I love to cook with my wife. It gives me the opportunity to learn what I didn’t learn whiles growing up. If my in-law is in the kitchen and I go there, she’ll scream, “No, a man shouldn’t be in the kitchen with women. That’s why your beard isn’t growing. Stay out and relax. We’ll serve you very soon.” No matter what my wife would say, she won’t listen. She will wash with her. Cook with her and sometimes go ahead and determine what we should eat and what we should not. 

I didn’t complain again but my wife said something to her. Again, she stopped coming for a while. One evening I overheard my wife talking to her on the phone. My wife said, “This weekend we would not be home. My husband’s childhood friend died in their village so we’ll travel to the village.” On Saturday afternoon, we heard the creeping sound of the main gate. I opened the window to see who it was and guess what…It was my in-law. I told my wife, “Your mother is here.” She said, “What is she doing here? Didn’t I tell her that we would be traveling this weekend?” She didn’t even knock. She came right in. She said, “I knew you two were lying. Why are you here?” I told her, “We changed our minds at the 11th hour because I developed a runny stomach.”

She didn’t say anything. She turned back and left. I told my wife, ”She’s angry.” She said, “If that will stop her from coming here every day, then it’s good. She should stay angry.”

Our rent expired a few weeks ago. I didn’t even remember until she called to remind us. She asked, “You haven’t bothered to renew your rent. Do you intend to leave the house?” The next day we went to see her. She said, “If you intend to renew, then it’s GHC1,700 per month. I will take two years this time. And it’s not open to negotiation. If you can’t, let me know so I start looking for a new tenant.” The whole thing sounded like a joke. Her face was indifferent, her lips were stiff. My wife said, “We don’t have that money. We’ll pay exactly the amount we paid last six months and you’ll take it.” She said, “It’s my house. My husband built it for me. Until I die, it’s mine so you can’t determine the amount I should charge on my own property.” 

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It turned into family issues so I backed off a little. Later I called her on phone trying to reason with her. Her first questing was, “Are you going to pay the money or you’re coming to tell me you won’t take it again?” I said, “Kindly bear with us. I’m with your daughter. Currently, we are not in a position to move out. At least, allow us to pay the same amount for another year, then the following year, you can increase it.” She was blunt, “I’ve said what I’ve said. Take it or leave it.”

Currently, my wife is fighting her own mother over rent. A week ago, my in-law came home early in the morning asking us about our decision. She’s becoming our nightmare. I told my wife; “Let’s move out.” She said, “We are not moving an inch. If she can, she should come and drive us away. She can’t.” Every person who has heard our story finds it very strange that a mother will rent a family property to her own daughter. Not to talk of trying to extort money from them. 

I’m a disturbed person right now. The whole issue is getting me sick. My wife can stay on the phone for hours, fighting with her mother. I don’t want that. I want peace to prevail. My wife invited external families into the issue. After several hours of family meetings, her mother still didn’t change her mind. What options are available to us? I’m very confused. The tussle between my wife and her mother is killing me slowly. What should I do?     

–Cassius 

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Source: CelebritiesbuzzGh | How Do You Deal With A Mother In-Law Who Is Also Your Landlord?