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One woman refuses to be her husband’s ‘kin-keeper,’ and she makes an important point

One woman refuses to be her husband’s ‘kin-keeper,’ and she makes an important point

One mom-to-be says “no thanks” to being her husband’s spokesperson.

“So, I refuse to be the primary communicator with my husband’s side of the family,” Morgan Elisa Strickell, who is 12 weeks pregnant with her first child, said in a TikTok video. “A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law was on the phone with us and she expressed that she was a little bit hurt because she keeps finding out things about our pregnancy from her sister, who sees the posts on social media.”

Strickell, who had posted a photo of her 8-week ultrasound, was surprised to hear this.

“I thought my husband had been communicating with his mom and stepdad. I didn’t know he hadn’t been.”

The other night, Strickell reminded her husband to send his mother their latest ultrasound “so that her feelings aren’t hurt” again. He replied, “Why don’t you just send it to my mom?’”

Strickell explained in an update video that her husband was irked because he felt micromanaged; he said that if Strickell was taking the time to remind him, she may as well do it herself.

“I said, ‘No, sir, not my responsibility. I communicate with my side of the family. You communicate with your side of the family,’” she said in the video.

“Number one, I’m not his kin keeper,” Strickell pointed out in her video. “If he wants to maintain a relationship with the people in his life and have them know information about our lives, that is 100% on him.”

This woman refuses to be her husband’s ‘kin-keeper’ (Courtesy Morgan Elisa Strickell)

This woman refuses to be her husband’s ‘kin-keeper’ (Courtesy Morgan Elisa Strickell)

She added, “Number two, I think this tends to fall on women’s shoulders because it’s either assumed that they have a larger social battery or that they have more time. Neither of those things are true in our relationship. My husband has a much larger social battery than I do, and he also tends to have more free time just because I like to take on projects outside of work.”

As Strickell wrapped up, “Not a single person would look to my husband as it was his responsibility if my mom was left out of the loop. If my mom doesn’t know what’s going on, I’m a ‘bad’ daughter. If his mom doesn’t know what’s going on, I’m a ‘bad’ daughter-in-law.”

“I married a grown adult who had good communication with his mom before I met him,” she said in the video. “There’s no reason that should be shifted onto my responsibility plate now that we’re together.”

Strickell’s stance was felt deeply by other wives, sisters, adult daughters and mothers-in-law who shared their comments.

  • “I’m actually the mom of three boys who don’t communicate with me. But it is their responsibility to keep me in the loop, not their wives.”

  • “Last year my husband told me I was wrong for not including his mom in my Mother’s Day shopping and I kindly reminded him that we in fact do not share the same mom.”

  • “You are ALREADY doing more work by reminding him to tell his mother.”

  • “My mom is my dad’s kin keeper of 30 years. This resulted in my mom having to split her time between taking care of his parents (who were having issues but overall well) versus taking care of her dying mom.”

  • “I love love love this; women are standing up for themselves and not allowing everything to fall on their shoulders.”

  • “When she’s been my mother-in-law longer than she’s been your mother, then I’ll take over that relationship.”

One woman warned: “It starts at the wedding! He is responsible for sending his family invitations and thank you (cards).”

Strickell, who lives in Grass Valley, California, tells that she started feeling overwhelmed six months into her relationship with her now-husband.

“I was reaching out to his mom to schedule weekend visits while earning my MBA and had a full-time job,” she says.

Knowing Strickell’s was “drained,” her partner took over communication with his parents. Although they spoke often, he didn’t always remember to share life updates.

Strickell acknowledges that not all information is meant to be shared, nor is it incumbent on her and her husband to brief their families on every pregnancy milestone.

“Generally, communication falls to women’s shoulders and … partners need to cultivate their own relationships,” she says. “It’s better to share the mental load and have an equal division of labor” or play to each other’s strengths, she adds.

Strickell explains she has a great friendship with her mother-in-law — which is partly why she insists on this arrangement.

“If my husband can take care of those important or serious conversations with his mom,” she says, “then I can enjoy more time with my mother-in-law.”

CORRECTIONS: (May 7, 7:50 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Morgan Elisa Strickell’s name. It was previously misspelled as Stricknell.

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