I am a 35-year-old married woman. I have two teenage daughters and a son. I got married when I was 19. I had got admission in a renowned public engineering university of Karachi, and asked my father to let me complete my studies, but he said that he was worried about me at work all the time since I was all alone at home. You see, my mother left my father and us – me and my siblings – when I was 17. Their married life was hell and they were always fighting. Despite their differences, they brought three unlucky children in this world: myself and my two older brothers. As far as I recall, my mother was always asking for a divorce, but my maternal grandmother used to calm her down and talk sense into her. Then my nani died and there was no one else to curb my mother. My mother and father both were to be blamed: my father is very secretive and never shared anything with my mother. My mother did not know his income. My mother was very lazy and didn’t want to work and wanted servants, which my father could not provide except for the part-time maid for washing and cleaning. My mother’s family was rich and had a lavish lifestyle, so she hated the financial constraints she was under. Anyway, they got divorced and my mother re-married. I have to admit one thing, though, my father never abandoned us.
So I got married and settled down with my husband and had my kids. My life was very good, as my husband is very well-off. He is 10 years older than me and this difference did not matter before my mother’s second husband died, five years ago. Till the time she was married, she did not maintain contact with us, her children. She told us that it was not allowed by her husband. But after his death she started calling me and my brothers. To date, my brothers are cold towards her and refuse to let her meet their children. But I had always missed her so I couldn’t stay away. She often stayed with me and my husband and I started fighting because my husband did not consider her a good woman. The real problem started when my mother’s step-children won the court case and she had to vacate the house of her husband. It seems the house was bought in the name of the first wife and she obviously hates my mother. With nowhere to go, my mother asked me to let her stay in my house. I had a big fight with my husband and threatened to leave him before he agreed. To cut the long story short, now my mother lives with me and has pointed out that I am being exploited by my husband. Now the situation is that my husband has moved out of the house and my elder children have gone with him too. My mother thinks I should get a divorce and live my life. The house I live in is in my name and so is my car. In addition, there is also an apartment which is rented out that is also in my name, so financially we would be fine. Professor, I am confused. I miss my children and try to call them but they don’t talk to me. My mother says that soon my husband would be too old and would victimise me more, but I am afraid if I get a divorce, my children will be lost to me forever. What should I do?
Dear Confused Mother,
You had a traumatic childhood, but God blessed you with a good husband and children. You were living happily with your family before the re-entry of your mother in your life. Consider this carefully: you had no problems till your mother pointed out that you were being exploited. The moment she came back, she destroyed your peace and happiness. Your elder children went with their father because young as they are they still could see who was at fault. Your own brothers knew better; they don’t let her in their houses because they know she will destroy their family life as well.
My dear, don’t get swayed by your mother, she seems unstable and if possible get her professional help. She destroyed her life and thinks that by manipulating you she will be secure. Your husband is a good man. He gave you a house, an apartment and your own car. Is that how a man victimises his wife? I think you knew all this and just wanted someone else to confirm it, or you would have taken your mother’s advice. Make provisions for your mother, but she should not live with you for your sake, and your children’s. I am sure you don’t want your children traumatised the way you were. Before it’s too late you should go to your husband and seek reconciliation. Best of luck!