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I am a highly educated homemaker, and am considered worthless by my inlaws, as they had expected a well earning daughter in law. Shouldn’t it be my choice?
Matrimonial columns show a great demand for highly educated, homely brides. But this is a farce as education comes with a price. Especially if you live in a joint family, with the in laws deciding things for the family.
No one wants just an educated girl – it should be accompanied by a hefty dowry and a fixed deposit in form of a earning girl. The boy gets dividends from all sides. For him the cherry on the cake is a trophy, which can adorn the house and the work place. But it doesn’t work if the trophy is only adorning the house.
In India we have double standards, so one should be cautious and read in between the lines before getting hitched to a guy. Being gullible can throw you into a bramble bush- one should learn from others mistakes, which is why I am recounting my experience here.
I was taken for a ride though I am highly educated. My MIL was impressed by my qualifications, my demeanour, my meticulous approach to life, my parents’ education and their place in society. When my in laws chose me for their son they were thrilled and bragged about my education to relatives and friends. Their position in society had enhanced as their would-be DIL was having a higher education than their son.
The wedding was solemnised, and their house was laden with gifts. Cash, jewellery, household gadgets galore. They were on cloud nine, showing off my trousseau and gifts. Once the brouhaha had died down they were back on earth. Reality dawned that though I was well educated I did not yet have a job with a five figured salary! How to explain to people regarding an unemployed DIL? So in the garb of my wasting my talent, a hunt for a job started.
Having my own ideas for a job, I hated being dragged like a docile cow to every school in the vicinity – to apply for a teaching job. My idea was to procure a job of my liking, and not push myself into anything that they deemed suitable. But most schools rejected me due to a high education, and a brilliant academic record. I was overqualified for a school job. They felt they would not be able to do justice to me – neither could they give me a high pay nor degrade me. They asked me to join a college per my qualifications.
My in laws were frustrated at their futile attempts and started passing untoward remarks regarding my education. They started demeaning me for no fault of mine. I was a curse for them as they had to feed an extra mouth even though my husband had a good job.
I was a mute spectator, as my upbringing and education did not allow me to defy them. The prospect of living with such people all my life, filled me with consternation. The fervour which they showed at the time of my ‘bidai’ had just vanished.
Within two years of marriage, I was blessed with a baby, which was a 24 hours job. I decided to become a homemaker and a hands on mother, as my husband had a transferable job that involved a lot of touring. On hearing this decision, there was pandemonium in the house. Life became hell. Aspersions, curses, mental agony followed for a year, till my husband got transferred to a different city and a second child followed, and I moved there with him.
They believed my degree to be a piece of paper which was giving no returns. I turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to their rantings and tried to rear my children to the best of my ability.
Within no time a bride for my brother-in-law was chosen. Not highly educated but with a job. She is a graduate but working as a school teacher and also managing the house. The moolah has given her an edge over me. Though younger to me, she is treated like a princess, she can do as she wishes. The younger son and his spouse are my in-laws’ confidantes.
Though my parents gave me a good upbringing, a good education and a firm footing in society, yet I am considered as the black sheep of the family. An education without returns is considered a strict no no in the matrimonial market. So I advise all you ladies planning to take the plunge, do weigh all your pros and cons.
Look before you leap.
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housewife,working from home as proof-reader,avid reader,writing is an adrenaline booster,published
Thanks for opening up and sharing the woes. It is very true that people don’t value the emotional support a person gives and need to see everything in monetary value. But when they lose that bonding they make a hue and cry about it. But more than what others think of us it’s our own self worth and dignity which at the end of the day will help us.
Every time I come across such sad anecdotes it seems clear that we need to give our daughters the choice to get married and not force them into it just because we feel that we have to fulfill our duty. Making them financially independent and giving them good values is a must and the remaining should be their choice.
Hi Preeti, I am sorry to hear about your plight. But I do not agree with you about ‘not working being your choice’. It has to be your husband’s choice too. I mean, is he OK with being the sole earner of the family? If your husband stops working, saying it is his choice, then what? I am not saying being a homemaker makes you less of a person than your husband. What I mean is, financial independence is important. You’re highly educated after all. Even tif you are no in a position to go out and work, you can look for freelance options
You dont have to give a damn about what your in-laws think anyway. These people will always find something or the other to put you down.whether you’re earning or not. The important thing is to have that self-assurance and respect for yourself.
to pen down what i feel is its totally upto the her if she wants to or not. Her husband is equally responsible to take care of her if she has to take care of the kid. These days we cant rely on maids and what happens with the child after mother goes to work. She is responsible for the child first, at least at this stage. Every women after marriage will go through this and most women have given up their profession due to child. Thats the controversy topic these days. Most of women are raised well , educated but what happens then after marriage with her profession. And why should she be anyway judged by in-laws. Her husband and she has to take equal responsibility on this.
It is heartening to see how many people feel about this,my problem is not work or money but self respect and when you enter a new family it is not your degree or finances but your own behaviour that will help to gel with them. I am of the opinion that we all deserve to be treated with dignity .
Preeti your story is not an isolated case. In olden times when the role of husband and wife in a marriage was separate and clearly defined – man earned livelihood and woman took care of home and kitchen. There was nothing wrong with this so long as both roles are given equal dignity and respect as they should. Both roles are vital for smooth functioning of family and on a macro level -for smooth functioning of society itself. However, the problem begins with patriarchy slowly trying to claim superiority while simultaneously devaluing the wife’s role. Over time women were groomed to be more presentable/beautiful/talented in the house or in modern times they are educated (with consent of patriarchy)often not with the intention of helping them achieve independence or better status by empowering them with the capacity to earn equally, but rather to make them out to be a bigger/better or more attractive trophy for the husband to show off and further enhance his status. So we must understand the underlying meaning of what otherwise doesn’t seem so obvious. So being educated alone doesn’t enhance your status, if your education is still going to be used only to enhance the status of your husband. For any significant change to happen, first of all, it is we women who are educated who must unravel the subtle sinister plot of the patriarchy which has deliberately devalued us as props only around to apparently boost their conveniences and ego. The next step is to start voicing the truth about inequalities in gender that have led to exploitation and power imbalance. Housewives/homemakers play a very critical role in keeping the family unit together and secure (emotionally and psychologically) thus fulfilling an obligation to larger society. Wives and mothers provide crucial care of young offspring and often other family members eg. the old, sick, etc. the long term goal is to provide society with mentally healthy and physically strong individuals who will ultimately grow up to work and form part of the crucial labour market of a society. Society has happily got away cheap by not paying wives and mothers for their service to society of being the support or spine of its work force. But times are changing. This imbalance of power, authority and status has caused a lot of strife in marriage and family and women are waking up to demand their rights and share of rewards for their effort and work at home. (they expect and demand holidays, gifts, love, respect and old age support) Many working women have reduced the imbalance further and many more are refusing to marry or even have children. The time is not far away when educated women are going refuse to perform traditional roles which have been taken for granted or not rewarded (the increasing rate of divorce and single older women is proof) and if they do perform them they will demand conveniences and support systems from husbands, families and society itself to fulfil these add on responsibilities. Finally, its all about power balance between groups- when there is imbalance for too long there will be uprising and disturbance till the weight begins to shift. That has already begun. You on your part please do not under value your immense contributions to family and society. Learn yoga and meditation and you will slowly experience your inner core strength – from there it is no turning back. The saying the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world is already ours for the taking. Rise up and feel your own power- whether home makers or working women we are already expected to rule the world, why shy away from it.
Dear Sonia,thanks for your encouraging and positive words we should all join hands and fight for our rights.Hope there are more people like your mindset.
I can completely understand your life as I have been in similar situations. Many a times, education, job and money of a daughter in law is considered by the in laws just to brag in society and among relatives. It is ultimately the dignity and self respect we women should have in life, whether working or not, whatever be the profession. Your article is an inspiration for many many women who face various types of unreasonable people in their daily life. Wish you all the best in life!
Dear Divya,at least people like us have experienced this,hope people don’t commit this mistake of accepting insults instead they should fight for self respect,we are not being educated to keep mum.
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