Dear mother-in-law, ‘your son is your baby, not mine’ and other things you must know
We all know the kind of a reputation desi mother-in-law has. So needless to say when I got married, I was more nervous about being the bahu than the idea of being someone’s wife.
Thankfully, you accepted me with open arms and I was a happy, blushing bride, heady with the newness of being wedded into an amazing family.
During those days, I once remember meeting my married girlfriends over coffee. As usual, spicy anti-MIL conversations were in full swing. Since I was a fairly new daughter-in-law, I couldn’t contribute much at that time. “I’m lucky in this matter,” I shrugged, to which a friend chuckled, “They all start off that way, wait till the honeymoon period is over. Always remember, two queen bees cannot live in the same hive.”
I didn’t believe her, but soon, just as she predicted, tiny irritations began to crop up. Little annoyances that I have never faced before began to irk me. Sometimes they would push me into foul moods and you would wonder why I was being such a killjoy.
Those hiccups continue to happen but I have never had a chance to tell you how I have felt, simply because I didn’t want to come across as rude. But today, I guess you need to know some things about your daughter-in-law because, better late than never.
#1 I may have weird likes and dislikes, but they do exist
I have been taught to think independently for the last 25-28 years of my life. I’ve developed opinions, tastes and come in from a different house or culture altogether. So even things like, ‘adding carrots in the pav bhaji,’ is a huge deal for me because I’ve never added carrots to my pav bhaji.
#2 I have my little desires in the house I live in
Yes, the curtains in the house may never have been changed for eons, but I’ve dreamt of having my choices in the house I live in too. So once in a while, I’d like to see some enthusiasm with regards to them, to feel encouraged. Trust me, my choices are good. Your son is one of them.
#3 Your son is your baby, not mine
I can understand that you worry about his well-being, and so do I since he is my partner. But that doesn’t mean I should be feeling guilty if he looks underfed or unclean. He is an adult who is fully capable of managing himself.
#4 Parent with me, not against me
Yes, you too have raised children, but parenting today has changed. So voice your opinion but don’t undermine the decisions I make for my kids as I make them for their good. I highly respect it that you offer to care for them, so I would really like it if you support my parenting rules.
You see ,as I do not wish to be painted as a villain in my own child’s eyes.
#5 Don’t make me feel guilty when I take my ‘me’ time
When you were a young mum, 'me' time was probably known by a different name or was non-existent. But I think a woman is more than just motherhood duties, so when I come home from the occasional shopping trip or an outing with my girlfriends, do not make it sound like my children were ‘abandoned.’
#6 My parents have their quirks, so do all of us
I’m not saying my parents are perfect, but being vocal about something they did that did not meet your approval hurts me. After all, they have raised me and come on, who doesn’t have quirks?
#7 I do not think you are bad
I do not possess any evil, villainous thoughts against you that the saas-bahu soaps so infamously portray nor do I think you do. I am a simple girl with a healthy mind, so I would rather like that we be friends.
There, I said it. Now can we bond like we should for a better, more loving relationship?
Your daughter-in-law (DIL)
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