Chinese Mother vs. Jewish Mother In Law-The Good, The Bad and the Guilty!
Interracial marriages are on the rise, so how are modern day families mixing cultures and making it work? I’m Chinese and my husband is Jewish. We have a lot in common; our values, our interests, our personalities, but what about our families?
Let’s just say when we all get together we have a lot of Chinese food. I know this is a stereotype, but it’s true, my husband and my mother-in-law love Chinese food. But bonding as a family is more than just about the food. Or is it? And what about the relationship with and between me, my mom and my mother-in-law?
You would think this would be a culture clash, but I consider myself and my kids pretty fortunate to have both grandmothers and different cultures in our lives, but it does make for some interesting stories and holidays.
I love that my son can speak Mandarin (when he wants to) and have a slight Jewish New York accent sometimes. During the holidays we celebrate Hanukkah, light candles, have latkes and then my parents will bring over lots of Chinese food and we’ll gather around the decorated Christmas tree. While we don’t go to temple I believe it’s important we honor many of the Jewish traditions.
Believe it or not I actually get along with my mother in law when it comes to my kids, more than my mom in many cases. My mom raised me, so she thinks she always knows what’s best for my kids and while she trusts me, we do seem to clash if we’re together for more than two days. I guess it’s a mother-daughter thing, since she’s my mom she feels she has the “right” to tell me what to do.
My mom wasn’t necessarily a “Tiger Mom”, but she was very traditional and strict. She will always do anything for her kids and her family, but can also be self-sacrificing to a fault. I was raised with a lot of guilt and nagging and I’m still trying to deprogram myself from some of the more authoritarian Chinese ways that don’t serve me now as a mother, but there are a lot of traditions that have rubbed off on me in a good way. Coming from an immigrant family I was always taught to work hard and be grateful for everything I have, and I know my family will always be there for me.
My mother-in-law on the other hand is not so traditional, she is a free spirit, a rebel and speaks her mind. My husband was raised to be independent, open, and adventurous. They are very close and talk everyday.
So when the grandmas hang out it’s actually a good yin and yang. They may not always do things the same way or come from the same backgrounds and both can drive me equally as crazy, but we bond because we are family and my kids will get the best of both worlds. Let’s just leave out the guilt part.
Is there a culture clash in your family? How do you make it work? Who do you get along better with your mom or your mother in law?
More mothers and daughters:
- Like Mother, Like Daughter
- When Roles Are Reversed: Caring For a Parent
- Why Your Kid Doesn't Need a Middle-Aged Friend