Monday, May 16, 2011

Joint Families - Separate or Together?

The first thing that typically comes to mind when thinking about a joint family is that they are all working together. Everybody has a job and all things are shared but this is not what I'm seeing. Our three families live in one house but we couldn't be more separate. Sometimes I even feel lonelier here than I did living alone in America. Let me explain.

Everyone does their own laundry and dishes (except me). Everyone has their own life going on inside and outside of the house. They have their own TV's, their own washing machines, their own forms of entertainment, etc. They prepare their own meals, eat with their own families and go out on their own outings. They go about their day as if they are the only one's living here for the most part.

When they want to talk to someone they visit each others rooms. Now that we have AC they will all pile up in our room sometimes to cool off. When one of the ladies is going out, the other will go sometimes. It's like we are neighbors in an apartment complex really, this just happens to be a more open apartment complex. There's not a lot of interfering with each others lives.

Unless of course you count that most things in the house are community property if they want them to be. Like the cleaner I bought so I can scrub this place down (and just FYI - no the dirt in Punjab does not come off no matter how much you scrub, you are just wasting your time) which has now wound up in my MIL's cabinets somewhere and I can't find it. I don't mind that, by all means let her clean! Things also get moved around without your knowledge or concern for if you can find it again. My poor hubby's flip flops were removed from our room every single day and he always had to steal mine until I bought a second pair so I wasn't trapped while he had them lol. (I'm not walking on these floors barefoot!)

I've given up keeping them out of my stuff that isn't locked up so now I just keep almost everything locked up, including my clothes. Most of my stuff they don't tend to bother but occasionally things just disappear never to be seen or heard from again. That really takes some getting used to and I'm not sure I ever will. For now I'm just going to continue blowing up about it because that's what works best for me lol. I will never get used to having my belongings stolen, moved or invaded because I was raised to believe it is wrong.

For those of you who want to know what it's like living in a joint family that is what it is like for me. We are separate for all intensive purposes until someone needs something and then magically we are together. A friend in need is a friend know how it goes. ;)


  1. trust me...I know!!! We live with my husband's family...and...sometimes it's hard.

    Like, they hardly go out at all (my mother-in-law and father-in-law are in their 70's...) and I go out quite a bit. If I go out with friends, sometimes my mother-in-law pitches a fit, but not often. It is what it is.

    I have problems mostly because my tastes are much different than everyone else. I want to cook my own food, but I feel the kitchen is our Cook's area, and I don't venture in. Also, because I'm not sure how to cook any Indian food...anyways, life goes on.

    I hope we move soon. :-)

  2. cnc- that's my issues too...I'm so much different than them and I know hubby says different but I swear his mom doesn't care for half of my cooking. Anything I make without oil and grease she steers clear of unless she has to lol. His dad loves it because he's kind of a health nut though. My biggest problem is the things I know how to cook I can't find the ingredients for in this country. Ugh. I'll figure it out somehow, I don't really have a choice lol.

    I like to cook for everyone and I did this in America too, I just can't seem to get with the program here. I think I'm hindering my own progress.

    I tried to read that book "Who moved my cheese?" but I got bored before the first page was over so I quit. I'm thinking right now someone stole my cheese and ate it lol. I'm trying to let it go but I just can' was MY cheese hahahaha....(that will only make sense if you at least read a review of the book)

  3. I was raised to believe it's wrong, too. My mom deeply inculcated in our heads that using/stealing someone's stuff, even if they're family, is a big disrespect. I'm sure I will never get used to such practice either. I'm glad you learned to lock your things up. lol!

    offbeat marriage

  4. Yeah, the important stuff anyway. And in the spirit of accepting change I'm not stressing over the small stuff. I'm going with the flow. It's just taking a little more work on my part. On the other hand, they are also working with me and not touching certain things that I have requested them not to, like my computer. It's great to compromise.