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TROUBLESHOOTER / I doubt the decency of my daughter-in-law’s mother

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 70s who runs my own business. I live with my son and his family. Recently, his mother-in-law stayed at our home for a week. During that time, I came to doubt her decency.

She is in her 60s. I warmly accepted her. On the second day, much to my surprise, I found her underwear in our washing. I felt ashamed of her behavior as a member of the same sex. It happened every day throughout her stay.

After she left, I found the cover of the futon comforter she used during her stay in our washing. In my opinion, when we stay overnight at other people’s places, we definitely should wash what we are provided before we leave, not have others wash it. Am I the only person to think this way? For me, it is an essential thing to do for anyone.

I get up early because of my work, so I prepare breakfast for my family in addition to doing the washing. I was told I should prepare only rice, miso soup and natto fermented soy beans for her breakfast. But it turned out to be untrue. I was also offended by this.

Since that time, I’ve started to look at my daughter-in-law with a biased point of view that she must be like her mother. I’m worried about how I should deal with her from now on. I don’t dare discuss this matter, not only with my son, but also my own daughter.

F, Saga Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

Let me tell you my advice first. I suggest you keep this matter to yourself and never reveal it to anybody. You should turn a blind eye to this.

I’ll give you an example I’ve heard.

When relatives were dining together, one of them made loud noises when they were eating. As it was so embarrassing, one participant quietly advised a family member of that person out of kindness, not directly, that the behavior was bad manners. The person felt disgraced and had hard feelings against the participant later.

It’s difficult to give advice to other people about their weak points and bad habits. Very few people gratefully listen to it. It may be unreasonable for you, but you shouldn’t speak about this matter, even to your own family. In particular, you should never let your daughter-in-law know about it.

By the way, do you also do washing for your daughter-in-law? If so, I suggest you do washing separately from her family from now on by making a good excuse. By doing so, you probably won’t feel bad any more.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Dec. 20 issue)Speech

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