When you have a baby, no matter what culture, it’s customary to try and help the new parents out by sending them food or other necessary items. Because let’s face it: they’re exhausted. Mom is recovering from a serious bodily trauma no matter how easy the labor was. She’s bleeding. Dad is hopefully trying his best to care for her. But who’s caring for the both of them? Friends and family, if they’re lucky.
There’s no time for a new mom to entertain guests. So when one Redditor finds herself in a situation where she’s required to cook for her in-laws right after giving birth, she’s shocked.
“My husband (Asian) and I (American) welcomed our first born 4 weeks ago. The baby is healthy (Thank God) but I’m exhausted, haven’t fixed my hair, barely able to shower and can not sleep,” the OP writes, speaking for every new mother.
“My husband’s family had been pressuring us to visit to meet the baby. I tried to hold them off as much as I could but yesterday, I was surprised to find them standing on the porch. Turns out hubby invited them for dinner. I was embarrassed and felt like I wasn’t ready for visitors (judgmental ones at that) cause the house was a M.E.S.S y’all. Anyways, my husband sat with them while I fed my son then later I asked my husband if we should order take out for dinner. He said ‘NO’ because his parents would find this rude and unwelcoming. He suggested that I go inside the kitchen and prepare something, anything long as it’s ‘homemade.’ I said fine then went and made some Mac N cheese. The reason I prepared this meal is because of how easy it is.”
“Once I served the family, My husband’s mom looked at me and was appalled. I noticed something was wrong. She asked if I really found it ‘appropriate’ to serve her and the family Mac N cheese. I asked why not and she went on a rant about how disrespectful this was and that I clearly have no experience in what is right and wrong when it comes to hosting.”
“I said excuse me? Who said I signed up to host an expected visit from them and she took it as in I didn’t want them there. Her husband said they were just there to finally see the baby that I kept them from seeing for an entire month. That’s a whole month of his life they ‘missed’ out on. We had an argument and they decided to go home. My husband said that deciding to serve his family Mac N cheese was more offensive then serving them nothing at all. I told him I was too exhausted to cook their ‘traditional feasts’ that I was forced to learn from his mom. He took offense and said that I was being mean and disrespectful towards not only his family but his culture. I went inside the bedroom to stay with my son. My husband stayed on the phone with his family for an hour then kept giving me the cold shoulder and refused to eat what I cook in support of his family.”
“I understand how some guests might find it offensive especially his family. but I was just trying to make a quick homemade meal like my husband wanted. What’s wrong with Mac N cheese?”
I mean, absolutely nothing! Especially if you’re a new mom. But is there a culture clash also going on?
“This isn’t a culture clash – these people are just AHs. There isn’t an asian culture I’m aware of that doesn’t practice some form of postpartum confinement where it is expected that the new mother do nothing other than rest and bond with the baby. IF they were so ‘traditional’ they should have showed up with food, offered to clean the house, and run a load of laundry while they’re at it. NTA btw,” said Zaphod_Beeblerox.
“Hang on a second! I’m Asian and in my culture, new moms are supposed to be coddled, fed nourishing soups etc, and certainly not expected to cook a feast for guests. Your husband and in laws are definitely the AHs, and you are NTA for serving mac and cheese. On a human level, culture-schmulture, where is their caring? But one point of info, why did you wait so long to let the parents visit? It sounds like there is more history here, because that delay (edit – for immediate family only, not other visitors) would normally not be looked well upon,” said prodigal-sage.
“NTA. Tell them it’s customary for THEM to bring YOU food…that’s the unspoken tradition…someone has a baby or someone dies.. you bring the family food, or order them food, or give them gift cards for food…the last thing you should be worried about is cooking dinner,” noted Nervous_af35.
“NTA. Girl come on! The issue here is your husband. He has no right to talk to you the way he did ever. Least of all after you have just given birth to his child. You have a very long and hard road ahead of you. I strongly advise you to keep some money separate for when you need to leave. It’s very common for abusive men to really show themselves after they think they have their victim trapped. This is exactly where you both are. It will be very hard for you to leave and he’s showing his true colors. Please keep up your relationship with your own friends and family. You are going to need them. And when you do leave you will look back on this moment and wish you’d left now. It’s only going to get worse. Good luck,” said emccm.
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