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Need Advise To Adjust To Joint Family From Nuclear Setup

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by traveldream, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. traveldream

    traveldream New IL'ite

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    Hi,

    I have been married for more than 15 years and we have stayed in a nuclear set up all along. Now my IL's who are having health issues , stay with us or with my BIL (they stay in the same city as us) for the last one year . My IL's stayed in home town all these years and visited us for maybe 10- 15 days at a time. So, when ever they visit we treat them as guests where we prepare food according to their liking / wishes and generally manage things in such a way that it's convenient for them.

    For example : They need purely south indian food for all the meal times and generally me and my kids want to try other cuisines frequently like atleast 3 -4 times a week (Mainly parathas, Pastas, chinese, etc) ... so If I need to make these items, it has to be in addition to the regular , sambar , rasam, kootu etc with no reduction in the number of items. In addition to the number of additional coffees and teas at various time... atleast 4+ per day . So it feels like I am in in the kitchen all day.

    Previously, I used to make the south indian meals and tiffin and also some other stuff in addition for its only for a week or fortnight and my MIL also used to help. But now the expectation still remain the same though it's for months together . I am feeling frustrated and having a cook is not an option as they have some stringent belief about brahmin cooks etc which I am finding difficult to adjust to and not easy to find such cooks where I live.

    Also meal times are a challenge where me and my family like to eat early because of school and kids need to go to bed by 9 . My FIL eats much later and is disappointed if we eat earlier without him and he is not willing to move up up his dinner time. So, if he has a long face because he needs to eat alone or make any comments then my DH is upset and tries to accommodate him and our usual schedule goes for a toss.

    Also I do like cooking and love to explore new cuisines but this daily routine of same old south indian cooking is irritating me to no end. They stayed with us for about 7 months last year and went to my BIL's place for about 3 months and now my Co sister asked me if they can come back to our place since she is traveling for about 2 weeks. So far we have had a decent relationship but I feel she is not pulling her share of work by making plans to travel during the time they are staying with them. I couldn't say no to her , anyways she wasn't asking my permission, it was more like, I have this thing to do , so Amma/ Appa will be more comfortable if they come to your place now.

    Also My IL's are not the kind of people who adjust to shuttling between 2 sons frequently and we also don't want to hurt them unintentionally.
    But it is very tough getting adjusted to this new way of life when I am used to doing things my way for so long.

    There is no escaping this way of life, I just have to make peace with it, so what I need is suggestions from you ladies on how to manage my life so that I don't feel frustrated all the time.

    BTW DH is very understanding and helpful in chores etc. but doesn't have any suggestions on managing his folks for he is a very sensitive and non confrontational personality and is affected by any off hand comments my ILs make generally. I don't have any issues with IL's but no great bond with them either. So it feels like a burden when they are staying with us for months together.

    Also considering my IL's health , they don't want to explore options of staying nearby but not together etc. So, it basically comes down to me adjusting my outlook so that I can lead my life peacefully without taking out my frustrations on my kids and DH.

    So, I seek your opinions on how to manage this transition smoothly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  2. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Yes; you have a "situation".
    The one way you can have a cook is to find a cook who would cook all the various cuisines you, and your family want (northie, chinese, pizza, chat, mutton biriyani etc etc..) it is a good thing too that you all eat dinner early and go on to mind the children's homework from schools. Until you hire that cook, you may simply have these items delivered home by one of the services like zomato, swiggy etc.. This would cut down on the amount of time you'd have to play the cook. Once the hired cook leaves, you get in the kitchen and make those sambar , rasam, kootu etc. for the late diners.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    traveldream likes this.
  3. KashmirFlower

    KashmirFlower IL Hall of Fame

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    4 times coffee/tea + 2 meals + 1 breakfast + taking care of kids + cooking separate now and then as per kids taste. It is lot of routine work for you for years ahead...
    and schedules of eating, sleeping of everybody on different timings..

    Is it possible for your MIL& FIL cook and live in side-by or upstairs portion of your house? Can you guys make that arrangement before they move-in? That way it would be like they are in the same house but cooking and sleeping separate.
    Weekends you can cook for all.
     
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  4. ashneys

    ashneys Platinum IL'ite

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    You need to find a way before it turns you bitter. So your sil is looking out for herself and isn’t doing as much as you are doing. I am assuming she isn’t willing thus the travel plans and sending them back to you sooner. Which can mean that there isn’t gona be equal time share between you both but you are going to take more responsibility instead. You seemed to be ok with it given it gets manageable for you. That’s a good start.

    Just like you adjusting, your in laws would have to as well. It’s not possible for everything to go the way they want. It’s ok if they show long faces, they will get used to it in a matter of time.

    When they are visiting it’s different but when they are living, adjustments has to be both ways. Or you have to learn to ignore a few things.

    Mealtime: it’s your Fil’s habit to eat late, not yours, you guys eat on time, which is a good habit. your dh can give company or just sit on the dining table and talk with his dad while he’s eating.

    A cook seems necessary at this point, you can’t be standing in the kitchen through out the day. You can hire a help to chop, n prep n all that, n you just toss and cook. Buy a coffee machine, heater n required powders n sugars n set it in the dining area. They can have it even 10 times a day. Or find someone from the same village n their community who can come as a live in help. They can focus entirely on your in laws n you do whatever you normally do. Or you hire someone to do all your family work and you take care of only your in laws. You basically find a way. Yes, it’s going to be of some inconvenience to your in laws as they might not like someone else doing it. But they will get adjusted and won’t have a frustrated and bitter daughter in law in hand.

    If help is not an option, you need to cut down on doing, make tea / coffee once a day, it can be heated and had. For food, breakfast: Idli n chutney. Lunch n dinner: same, rice, veg, one gravy. Keep it simple, so you have some time to do what you like as well. Time yourself n get out of the kitchen. Changeover might be hard in the beginning, but it gets easier.
     
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  5. MalStrom

    MalStrom Platinum IL'ite

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    You have to get your husband in the same page and then slowly start adjusting your in-laws into your lifestyle. Otherwise the situation as you have described will soon become untenable. I have seen it happen firsthand.
    Try to find a cook that fits their criteria and then go ahead and appoint him/her. If you ask around you will be able to find someone suitable. It can be hard because most cooks these days prefer daily work such as cooking for functions because they get much more money than a monthly job, but it is possible.
    You and your husband should slowly start introducing the new normal. Otherwise you will soon become crazy trying to please everyone and your stress levels will soar. People can change when they have to, make sure you don’t martyr yourself.
     
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  6. yellowmango

    yellowmango IL Hall of Fame

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    As for dinner. You feed the kids early and eat with them .Then you go and put them to sleep and the rest of the stuff that needs to be done.

    Ask husband to eat with inlaws and then manage the after dinner sorting out.

    You can all eat dinner together during the weekend . Keep the time between the two dinner time.

    Ignore the long face. Let husband deal with it.

    If not a full time cook,atleast get someone to cook one major meal .
    You can also repeat some items for dinner ...fresh tadka and garnish will make it feel fresh.

    Start experimenting by serving kids favorite for weekend breakfast . Paranthas or other stuff . See how it goes . Tell them the kids love it.

    You can also order small quantity of kids favorite stuff from outside .

    If you can't get a cook to help out, keep maid for all the other work .

    Keeping 3 generations happy is a tough ask . Don't try to be a superwoman.
    Don't try to keep everyone happy at the same time .

    Make weekends and tiffins for kids, lunch for inlaws ( or whichever is their main meal) and dinners for you and your husband .
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  7. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    Taking care of your in-laws for as long as you do is not "her share of work." The care of your in-laws and figuring out how to make that happen as in-laws' health starts to decline is the responsibility of their two sons. Don't blame your co-sister. It is your husband's job to balance the care his parents need and what you both can provide without totally exhausting yourselves. Being understanding and helpful in chores but sensitive, non-confrontational and easily affected by off hand comments or long faces from his parents is effectively placing the entire burden of his parents' care and handling their tantrums on you. His parents move in and stay for 7 months and he has no suggestions on managing his folks is not how such big life changes are approached.
    Unless you make some changes in the lifestyle, you will be frustrated and it will tell on the kids. The daily routine that you have described with no outside help for cooking is not sustainable. This was their first long stint of stay with you or your BIL. The brothers need to have a heart-to-heart about the care of their parents. And, you and your husband need to similarly have a calm discussion about the future.

    The transition cannot be smooth and you cannot simply "adjust" your outlook when you are making yourself responsible for satisfying the whims and wants of so many people: long-face from FIL, south Indian meals for MIL-FIL, brahmin cook requirement, other cuisine for your kids, husband who doesn't like confrontation, co-sister whom you can't say no to.

    The other option is run away. : ) I would. : ) Since that is not practicable, a job or volunteer work that will take you out of the house for a 10-12 hours a week will give you some respite even if your hours at home become more hectic due to stepping out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  8. radv

    radv Gold IL'ite

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    OP hypothetically speaking if the tables are turned- if its your parents how far your husband will go to accept and accommodate them. I am in no way suggesting to start arguing with your husband on this angle. Just think on this and talk to your husband in calm manner that this is not a matter of adjustment, its about living.

    Your in-laws have been living independently after their sons marriage. It may not be easy for them also to come in a joint family set up and shifting from one son to another. So as others suggested, both brothers have to talk and decide clear time frame.

    And you definitely need an extra pair of hands with kitchen work.

    Tea/coffee you can make in one go and keep in thermos for them to have whenever they want.

    One thing I must say - you definitely are very patient and accommodating person.
     
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  9. traveldream

    traveldream New IL'ite

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    Thanks for ur reply @Amulet, I am still in the lookout for a cook who can satisfy our family's needs but haven't had too much luck in finding one... But haven't given up the search yet for I feel this is a major stressor.

    We did try the swiggy / zomato route but unfortunately my kids and DH are sensitive to outside food and can't tolerate outside food more than once a month or so :BangHead: .. when we did this during their last stay they ended up with frequent stomach upsets. But we do go this route when I am tapped out and not in a mood to do more.
     
  10. traveldream

    traveldream New IL'ite

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    Yes, the constant grind is what is getting to me. We live in an apartment and my Il's staying separately is ruled out because of their health. Also we live in a big community kind of apartment and they are not used this way of life.
     

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