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Here's An Open Letter To All Mothers-in-Law

The relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law is a bit tricky one in India.

Parenting And Family
| Babychakra| UPDATED: August 23, 2017, 3:27 PM IST
Here's An Open Letter To All Mothers-in-Law Representative Image
Desi mothers-in-law have nasty reputations. And so it was only natural that when I got married, I was more nervous about being a ‘bahu’ than a wife. Thankfully, my mother-in-law 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 ensued. Since I was a fairly new daughter-in-law, I could not contribute to the discussion all that much. “I am lucky in this matter,” I shrugged, to which a friend chuckled, “They all start off like that. 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 never knew before began to irk me. Sometimes they would push me into foul moods and my mother-in-law would wonder why I was being such a killjoy.

Those hiccups continue but I have never had a chance to tell her how I have felt simply because I did not want to come across as rude. But today I guess all MILs need to know some things about their daughters-in-law. Better late than never. So here goes.

Dear Ma-in-law,
1) I am an individual too with my own quirks
I have been taught to think independently for the last 25-28 years of my life. I’ve developed opinions, tastes and come from a different home and culture altogether. So even things like ‘adding carrots to the pav bhaji’ are a big deal for me because I have never added carrots to mine.

2) I have dreams for my home too
I may not have changed the curtains in the house for centuries now but I have some ideas about how the house should look. And it would be wonderful if once in awhile, I am given an enthusiastic response and encouraged for them. Trust me, my choices are good. Your son is among them.

3) Your son is your baby, not mine
I understand that you worry about his well-being and so do I since he is my partner. But that doesn’t mean I should feel guilty if he looks underfed or unclean. He is an adult, fully capable of managing himself.

4) Parent with me, not against me
Yes, you have raised children too. So voice your opinion but don’t undermine the decisions I make for my kids. I have their interests at heart too. I respect the fact that you offer to care for them, so I would really appreciate it if you support my parenting rules. I do not wish to be painted as a villain in my own child’s eyes.

5) There is nothing wrong with some ‘me’ time
When you were a young mum, me-time probably meant something different or was probably non-existent. But I think a woman’s life is made up of 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 and so do you
I am not saying my parents are perfect but complaints about them doing something that was not ‘appropriate’ according to you is hurtful. After all, they have raised me and come on, who doesn’t have quirks? Don’t you?

7) I do not think you are bad
I do not harbour any evil, villainous thoughts against you unlike what the saas-bahu soaps would have us believe. I am a simple girl with a healthy mind so I would rather that we get along and become friends.
There, I said it. Now can we bond like we should for a better, more loving relationship?

Yours truly,
Daughter-in-law
First Published: August 22, 2017, 2:56 PM IST
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