With the changing times, many mothers-in-law want to be more supportive of their daughters-in-law, but still fear, “What will people say?”
A girl that is an acquaintance is very cool with her in-laws, so cool in fact that when she got married she decided to call them Uncle and Aunty rather than the popular norm of calling in-laws as ‘mummy ji or papa ji’.
She does not hesitate to address them this way, whether in public or private and is very clear on the subject. Her husband is also totally cool with it; understanding the discomfort or disconnect she feels. Can’t say how happy her MIL is with her decision but I guess since her son is fine with it, so must be the MIL.
Any self respecting Mother-in-law (MIL/Saas) in India would rather gag than admit that even though she calls her Daughter-in-law (DIL/Bahu) a Daughter (Beti), she also tells her that she has to behave like a Bahu and not follow the Beti of the house.
Do not wear clothes like her,
Do not shop like her;
Do not party like her;
Do not live like her;
Do not work like her;
Your work is not important enough; my daughter is doing a very important one.
The ever increasing pressure is being felt by the MIL (Mother-in-law) also and she constantly reminds her DIL (Daughter-in-law) that ‘we never had it so easy and relaxed’. As if she is trying to justify her relaxed behavior a bit grudgingly and is not totally cool with it. More often than not the MILs suffer due to the comparison and discussion with their friends and the tips they get from them. They feel guilty if they are being helpful and supportive of the DIL and angry if others point it out.
A rather popular poem has been doing rounds on the Internet and Whatsapp which propelled me to pen my thoughts……….
Mother vs. Mother-In-Law (MIL):
Mothers are upset if their call wakes you up;
MILs are upset if they find you sleeping,
Mothers ask what you’ll have for breakfast;
MILs ask what you’ll make for breakfast;
Mothers will hide your faults;
MILs will tell them to all;
Mothers will first ask about you;
MILs will ask about everything but not about you.
Mothers are great at doing things for you;
MILs are great at delegating things to you.
Mothers will appreciate the little you do;
MILS will complain about the little that’s left to do.
Mothers are happy when you buy something new;
MILS will frown at every expense you do.
Phir kehti hain, mujhe Mummy bulao… (Then they say, call me mummy.)
The time to embrace a daughter-in-law as the most important member of the house is now; the changing times and all the progress, freedom and options available to a woman can benefit us only if we strive to work together.
Often it is a woman who causes rifts and arguments in the house and it is she who can repair it. To rise above the famous, “what will people say?” and to just follow her heart. To soar to uncharted avenues, ace the difficulties and take her family along. After all she is the lady of the house and the Dil (heart) of the house.
Pic credit: Bill Dickinson (Used under a Creative Commons license)