When you go visiting at the in-laws this festive season

Festive seasons like Christmas are for merry making. Families will travel and spend quality time with loved ones. It is not uncommon to find couples cerebrating Christmas or get-together festivities at parents’ homes, usually the husband’s. But on such occasions, while the children may look forward to enjoying their favourite dishes, and the husband catching up with dad’s recent developments, the case might completely be different for a wife. “How do I pull off a tasty dish at my in-laws?” she might wonder.

You might be contemplating the best possible way to conduct yourself before your mother-in-law or relate with the sisters and brothers-in-law. Here are some guiding principles to ease your life.

Building relationships
For Miriam Kabagenyi Ewange’s family, it is a tradition to spend at least a week in December at her husband’s parents’ home together with his sisters and brothers. Key to having what she says has annually been a cheerful family reunion is building relationships with wives of her husband’s brothers. “It helps me bond. It is a coalition of sorts where we do chores like cooking together. I never get overworked or feel lonely or isolated.” Kabagenyi notes however such relationships are not built instantly but overtime.

“You might be used to a certain kind of dressing. Maybe short skirts are nice for you and it is okay, but while at the in-laws especially in our conservative societies, certain attires are not appropriate,” says Kabagenyi.
These, of course depending on the culture of the people, include mini skirts, pants or tops that expose much of your body.

Respect for people
Like Kabagenyi, Deborah Sekamatte says, time at her in-laws has always been delightful. The secret to it, she says, is behaving respectfully. “Know this is not your home so respect the home and people you find there. Know, for example, when not to contribute to a discussion, for in some families, you will contribute to a debate and everyone will say ‘eeh, that woman’.”

Husband’s support
Ssekamatte nevertheless says a wife needs her husband’s support. The support may not be in helping out in the kitchen but erecting a tent in the compound if need be, asking children to collect water or simply not leaving her lonely.
“You need him to make you feel comfortable. Yes, you know his relatives but it is he you know very closely. So he ought to find ways of engaging you, say, in conversations, check on you when you are with other people, introduce you to them as his wife, for some might not know you are but even when they know, as a wife, you need that affirmation.”

“It is important you look at it as going home for a get-together, not to some place where you must behave in a way you are very uncomfortable with,” aises Kabagenyi noting that relieving yourself of unnecessary stress helps you enjoy the occasion like anyone else.

Go with a housemaid
For mothers, Kabagenyi aises going along with a housemaid if they have one so she can help out with the children.

Observe basic cultural norms
“Since when we get married we become one fresh, my wife does not have to be on tip-toes for fear of her mother-in-law but behaves as a daughter at home, freely but respectfully interacting with everyone,” says Stephen Mutebi. That respect involves observance of basic cultural norms like greeting, and for a Muganda that Mutebi is, kneeling while greeting his parents. He adds a wife ought to be slow at speaking. “I wouldn’t want her to create an impression of a talkative but a humble and polite woman.” While requiring his wife to dress decently, Mutebi says he would not have his wife dress in a busuit but in other nice attire like a dress that makes her young and beautiful.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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