Monday, October 25, 2010

Living together and Loneliness

This isn't going to be about common-law relationships but about other set-ups. After watching Sister Wives (never get to see islamic polygamy close up so might as well rubber neck the Christians, ahem), I realised that one of the main reasons these women can put up with the situation is that being together with all the other wives eases their loneliness. Back in the olden days (cough 1950's) women stayed home and had coffee mornings or so I've been told as that's way before my time. Nowadays with the majority of women working I think a lot of women work because that's one of the only ways you can get adult interaction during the day. But there's something else at play that's changed over the years. In the really olden days let's say turn of the century, ahh, last century, people lived in extended families. After reading about a family that decided to live that way again in Reader's Digest it really hit a nerve. Most of us would hate to be in such a situation as we've always been told how awful it is but what about the benefits? Actually growing up to know your grandparents intimately, babysitters on hand, shared chores, help in your old age and yes a salve for loneliness. The article also talks about how much money you save. I know a lot of people in the GTA are living together just in order to afford a house; multiple generations, siblings, friends. At what cost has this relatively  new way of living affected us? I remember when my granny lived on the same property as us in her little house. I cherish those days so much. In Malaysia people may not live together anymore but sometimes do but they do live in the same neighbourhood; the kampung. I miss walking past my neighbours house and being invited in for tea because hey that's my in-law. Its a special feeling. Sometimes I long to live in the olden days when your neighbours were your relatives and woman got together for coffee and quilting bees and potlucks. I have more money here in Canada but yes my Malaysian readers I also have something I didn't have in Malaysia; loneliness. Yes a woman with 10 kids can feel lonely, it takes more than your relationship with your kids to keep you company. Alhumdullilah.


  1. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Living with others and not living with others- both have upsides and downsides, you can never win eh? I don't think everyone in Malaysia has the blessing of having their family all nearby though.. and I bet there are people here in Canada who enjoy the blessing of having their family as neighbours.. it really all depends on where their work takes them. I pray that you're able to move inshaAllah and live close to both your family and friends, Ameen ;)

  2. Wa alaikum Salaam

    I was just watching a real estate show and they were saying they were going to buy a house that was close to their parents. Now to get my kids to say that! If only all our jobs were in the same place...sigh.

  3. Asalaamu alaikum,
    I'd love it (to live w/my Dad or him with us)! Though my Dad would not love it all. I think he'd hate loosing his privacy, and his alone time to be grumpy-which I can totally appreciate. If you are not expecting to live or move in with your children I suppose it can be really hard---one: to downsize a house to a room or in-laws unit, and two: hard to emotionally adjust to being in someone else's household--your nafs has to go from self focus to group focus, and you may not be the head of house anymore (depending on the family dynamic). My husband is ready to go--oh yes, we'll be living with my daughters who will be supporting us in old age--horrors! I can't think of imposing like that. I can imagine spending time, even months to help with kids (oh really?who am I kidding!) but I would want my own place and schedule, and privacy--like my Dad, when moody, I don't want people around...
    Being neighbors or on the same property-like a bunch of yurts or cabins--that would be ideal.
    If Morocco happens I want to be within walking distance (kids distance) for staying social, but NOT in the same house-she's a lovely lady, but she has been the boss/matriarch since her Mom passed on. It is very hard to go back to being a "daughter" under rule(yes, she's my sister-in-law, but it feels like MOM)--right now I answer to no one, except my husband.

  4. Oh, polygamy sounds great in theory. I would love to have a sister wife, on good terms. I think it would be lovely. In theory.
    The loneliness is bad. Tea with neighbors help. Play dates help. Someday I will be able to attend a real live book club or some other event, Inshallah. I love being at my Dad's especially when my Brothers show up. There is no expectation to socialize or entertain, but it is nice to meet in the kitchen over coffee and toast, and share meals. It's just nice to have other adults around, even if you are not directly engaged with them.

  5. A big property with all your family and friends living on it eh? Throw in some islamic stores and before you know it we have our own village. Ok I'll let you be the librarian.