A Wife’s Dilemma: Married to a mama’s boy- Mother in law trap
Married to a mama’s boy: She thought she was being just, fair, and Christian when she invited her mother in law to be a constant visitor in her home in the United States. She argued that the bible calls on children to honor their mother and father and therefore she had a duty to both her parents and her husband’s parents. Now she believes the mother in law deal was a trap that led to her divorce. “Teddy, I should never have let that woman stay with us for months every year.” She laments. What can I say, too late? The guy is over 50!
The bible has cases of mama’s boys. The most destructive liaison between a mother and son is recorded in the book of genesis, “Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then, take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.” Genesis 27:1ff
The mother colluded with her favorite son to defraud her older son. She manipulated her position as a mum and her husband’s blindness to rob off her older son’s inheritance! And she did not care about the consequences to her, her family, or her own life. In fact when her mama’s boy son Jacob objected seeing her mother’s wrong and un-ethical behavior, she responded, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.” Vs.13
My mother Harriet Muthoni Kamau was a friend of mine. I remember my brother’s desire to have her visit them often and one of them complained to me that mother does not like to stay at their house. I enquired from her why. “They have their own homes and wives and children. Am not going to go there and listen to their arguments and disagreements. I have to let them design their own homes.” She added that the bible shifts the responsibility of children to their parents when they become parents themselves. Though loving their parents remain constant.
I thought that was the most profound argument I have ever heard, “Let them build their homes now. I built mine.” She said in conclusion. The case of my friend is not isolated. There are many men in the United States who are finding themselves in this dilemma. Though the word ‘elope’ has historically meant running away with an intention of getting married, it still stands written as a state of escape. Wives have been eloping from their homes in Kenya and settling with their children in the United States. Many men are finding themselves in a dilemma of being married to two women: the wife and the mother. And wives find themselves married to both husbands and mothers in law!
In the case of my friend, her husband was married to her and her mother in law. “Teddy, they used to discuss my marriage and one time she called me to complain that my husband is not getting satisfied in the bedroom. Can you believe that? They even bought property together behind my back. And all this time she was living in my house. I should never have allowed that woman to live with us.” She states in a state of defeat. “She ruined my marriage.”
On that I agree with her. And following my mother’s wisdom, mothers should stop eloping from Kenya with an intention of settling with their daughters and sons in America. Men should resist the temptation of “marrying” their mothers! On this the bible is very clear. The man shall leave! And in this case the curse is lifted because at that time one becomes a parent and the obligation shifts to your children.
It is not to suggest that parents should not visit their children’s home. My mother who now RESTS awaiting the resurrection visited my home in the sunshine state, but just for a while before returning to her husband in Kijabe. During that time, my father cooked for himself: he called it “Guja Gutu”, a man’s ugali which is a mixed grill of unga, bosho, carrots, sukuma, and any other substances available in the Kitchen! He used to cook that for us, sit down with us and use the dinner table to indoctrinate us to believe it was perfect! I still cook that stuff! In cooking I think of him for he also RESTS waiting for the trumpets by angels as Christ returns!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
Diaspora Messenger senior columnist