Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A little note on Brazilian Mother in Laws
So I forgot a very simple Brazilian Mother in Law rule last night. My MIL called to ask if I wanted her to come stay with me these last couple of days Daniel is away. I told her of course but if she didn´t want to or had things to do, she should feel obligated.
Wrong answer! The right thing would have been to insist that she comes. She will question you 3 times and you must insist 3 times! That´s the game people.
It´s really quite funny and I know I´ve offended my poor MIL a couple of times because I´m not very good at games, even in English. But it´s a cultural fact here. It´s the daughter/son in law´s job to make the MIL feel wanted.
And don´t get me wrong, I´d love for her to stay here for a couple of days. I mean, we´re talking good company and help with the kids. At the same time, I´m fine and I don´t want her to stay because she feels obligated but to stay because she wants to.
That is wrong as well. It´s not bad to be obligated in Brazil. You are supposed to be obligated. You are obligated to help the MIL, the Grandma, the Aunt, the Uncle, the Cousin, the Cousin´s boyfriend, the Cousin´s boyfriend´s doorman, the Cousin´s boyfriend´s doorman´s cousin... you get the picture.
It´s the beauty of Brazil and it´s best not to rock the boat doing what our culture considers polite, denying help. No no no, here you accept help with open arms and a big old kiss.
I know I just did!