Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tired of performing Rites upon Rites!

Good day ma. Do accept my family's condolence on your father's demise. Please, I need your wise counsel once again on an issue that just crept up in my family.
I married my wife appropriately: paid the bride price, traditional marriage ceremony, court wedding followed by marriage blessing in the church. Afterwards, she conceived and God blessed us few days ago with a bouncing baby boy.
The problem I have now is with my mother-in-law who is presently doing ''omugwo"(tending the baby). She and my father-in-law called me aside when he came to visit(we all reside in Lagos) requesting that I am expected to perform some traditional rites for them. They said that according to Imo state custom, I should officially inform them of my wife's delivery by buying a certain number of crates of beer drinks, kolanuts, etc for my father-in-law and then crates of malt, minerals, powder and other small items. I would be expected to visit their house and do these.
The issue I have with them is that these rites are becoming quite much. When they visited my parents who reside in Abia State, they asked that certain amount of money be given to them as them before they enter the house. They asked for same thing when they visited my house the first time. I have lost count of the money I do send them for upkeep since they are not well to do, and my mother-in-law's medical expenses are catered by me through my company HMO.
However, it is disturbing to say that when I married their daughter, they did not give her anything as dowry , and has never bothered to tell me why they did not do so, and when that would be done. I have always known that when she finishes omugwo, tradition requires that I buy her things before she leaves. However, is it proper, as they are demanding, that I perform rites for them as formal notification of my wife's delivery? I have spoken to my mother about this, and she told me that she is not aware of such rite. Rather, my in-laws should be the ones to visit their grandchild with gifts. My mother-in-law and I discussed this issue today, and she got angry that I complained of not going to yield to their demands when they have never even bothered doing anything for us. What they are asking me to do is below my capability; but I can not continue to be pushed into performing rites upon rites which is not even done in my own state.
Please, I need to be educated on what to do. We already raised our voices at each other because of this discussion, and I fear it may harm even the peace in my home. Please, kindly advise me.

Though some culture differ from others, in Imo State in particular and some of the eastern part of the country, when your wife puts to bed (most especially if the child is her first issue), you are expected to officially inform your inlaws of the arrival of your baby. You do that by going to her family with some tubers of yam, some drinks, powder and a token to let them know that you are now a daddy to your beautiful baby.
Note : You must not buy all the items listed in the list but you can use your discretion and wisdom to follow them on this. 
According to tradition, your father-in-law will then grant your mother-in-law the permission to prepare for the tending of your baby and your wife.
There's no tradition that says that you must continue with all these rites after getting married to your wife. I mean not as ridiculous as they have made it be to you. From first visit rites to first poo rites to first sleep rites and all the rites that their head can manufacture. 
You must be firm on your decision as the head of your home and let them know in plain terms that you are not under any obligation to fulfil all these rites that are never ending. You don't need to raise your voice with anyone or exchange words with anyone, simply be calm, and wait until she's about going back home and give them what your money can afford. 
Let her know that due to economic downturn that you won't be able to meet up with their rites. Let her know that you so much wished to give her all that they requested but the arrival of your son and other responsibilities is the reason you can't attend to their demands. 
Be calm, smart and calculative with them and do not exchange words with them. If your wife won't be firm with you, please do not tell her yet your intentions but keep it in your mind until when she's about to return to her home. 
As little as I know, those demands are strange and exploitative to say the least and should not be considered even if you have all the money in the world. Once you have fulfilled all the demands of their tradition by getting married to her and paying for her dowry, any other thing and every other thing is at your own discretion and authority. 


  1. Learn to accept them in your heart as ur parents, open up ur heart to giving to them. Those are the requirements, but it is improper for them to demand it, naturally there's no way u'll allow hwr travel back with nothing to show for it. As aunty amara said, apply discretion

    1. Read his write up again and consider editing ur comment. Its gud that ur comment is anonymous too.

  2. Bros, some parent don't know the problem they are causing for their daughters. Please don't argue with them even though you are not in a good mood because of this might bitterness between you and your wife but kindly ignore the request, be silent about, and time will make it be a thing of the past. (it will die a natural death)


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