Why Korean Mother-in-Laws Are The Best

Written by on February 18, 2014 in Worldwide Korea Bloggers

Korean mother-in-laws are by far the best mother-in-laws to have.

Okay, my title is misleading and the first sentence may or may not be entirely true. I only have experience with one mother-in-law, from here on out MIL, in particular and she just happens to be Korean because I just happened to fall in love with a man who is Korean, but she is pretty great. The tales of evil or mean MILs seem to abound, but where are the good stories? When was the last time there was a movie done with a nice MIL? Maybe MILs think they should be harsh and mean because the only stories they ever hear are of the evil and mean sort or because they had a terrible MIL themselves. Perhaps if we tell the tales of a good MIL, others will follow suit. Here are 6 reasons my Korean MIL is the best:

1. Boxes of Food

There was the box with 50 apples, side dishes and a pan. There was the box with what seemed like objects from a closet she’d recently cleaned out: cans of tuna, socks, boxers and two Kipling bags. There was the box of rice, two pots and side dishes and these are just the boxes off the top of my head. The boxes always have some assortment of fish, my MIL is from Busan a coastal city after all, and some meat. There are salty side dishes and kimchi sent up regularly. What’s not to appreciate when it comes to boxes of food?

2. A Clean House & Delicious Food

Food from my mother-in-lawMy MIL is always on the move in her ours or ours. There is always something delicious to be cooked or something to be cleaned, even if I’ve already cleaned it. There’s no talking her out of cooking or cleaning, it’s what she wants to do. I have to admit that at first this made me uncomfortable, especially when we were in my house. In her house she can obviously do what she wants, but in my house she is a guest so, wouldn’t etiquette entail that I do all of the cooking and cleaning while she looks on and silently judges? Not so with a Korean MIL. Delicious food and a clean abode, here we come!



3. Caring Calls

Speaking Korean on the phone is not my favorite thing to do, especially with my MIL because she speaks a lot of southern dialect, but I know she’s calling because she cares. I also find the conversations amusing because they always hint at what is to come.

“Are you warm? It’s cold this winter. Is your boiler working?” (I got a parka in the mail shortly after this.)

“Do you like apples?” (As mentioned above, I received a box of 50 apples that week.)

“It’s very hot this summer. Are you keeping cool?”

She seems to know what I need before I know I need it and that suits me just fine. The year I received the parka was one of the coldest winters since I’d been here and though at first I wasn’t sure how fashionable a big puffy parka was, when it became cold, I didn’t care how unfashionable or fashionable it was as long as I was warm.

4. Lessons on Strength

FamilyMy MIL is  a strong woman and she doesn’t openly display her feelings that often, which at times has caused me to question whether or not she approved of me or what I was doing. I can probably count the number of times she has smiled without thought on two hands. I, on the other hand, can’t hide my emotions at all. I laugh, I smile, I cry and I also became ferociously grumpy and moody when I’m hungry or sleepy. My husband often reminds me that this is something I should consider trying to control and when I’m with his mother I can understand why. She is thoughtful in her requests and what she expects of people, but because of the way she carries herself, this underlying strength, no one denies her. I respect this strength that she has learned over time through many highs and lows in her lifetime and I know that I have the opportunity to learn a lot from her.

To see the rest of the list head over to The Soul of Seoul.


The original post was published on The Soul of Seoul. This article cannot be republished unless authorized.

About the Author

Hallie Bradley

Hallie Bradley writes on her travels in Korea, daily life, the culture and traditions as well as on lessons learned from her Korean husband and in-laws. What was once only going to be a year abroad, has turned into seven and likely many more. She can be followed on Tumblr or Wordpress under the name The Soul of Seoul for up to date articles and pictures.