Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My wife has gone back to India as she is pregnant (5 months) with our first child.
Does she have to stay in our house (with my mom) or in her parents house?
My mom lives alone (with relatives nearby) and is not expecting her to serve her (cook, clean etc.) Can you advise?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
In most cases, it would be far more comfortable for a new mother to rest in her parents’ home, and not her mother-in-law’s. Pregnancy and postpartum are emotional times, and in most cases, living with one’s mother-in-law could add on a layer of unnecessary stress.
Have you spoken to your wife about this? What does she want? Please work together as a team to come up with a workable solution.
Even though your mother does not expect your wife to cook or clean for her, that does not guarantee a comfortable household for your wife or your mother. Communication is often difficult between different generations and different personalities.
Please refer to: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws
However, if your wife is able to balance being polite, respectful, and assert boundaries with your mother, then it is possible for them to live harmoniously, especially after the birth of your child.
It is important for your wife to accept that she will most likely fall short of your mother’s expectations. Your wife can still choose to treat your mother with kindness, in spite of that, and be amply rewarded for her patience. Those Pesky Unappreciative Eastern MILs.
Where do you fit in this scenario? Will you be going back to India soon? It may be easier for your wife to live with your mother if you are there too.
1) Please continue to read the dua for ease.
2) Perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and ask Allah for an answer.
3) Perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward, and watch what unfolds.
4) Contented In-Laws is an excellent resource for your wife, should she decide to stay with your mother.
5) Your wife can trial staying with your mother for a period of time.
6) Your wife can divide up her week – perhaps she can stay for a few days at your mother’s home, and the rest of the week at her parents’ home.
7) Keep lines of communication open with your wife and mother so you know how they are feeling about their living arrangement.
I pray that Allah make things easier for all of you.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.