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Dear MIL, I Am Your Bahu But That Does Not Mean You Can Dictate Things In My Married Life!

Posted: January 13, 2017
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Respect is a two way street. Yes, I am your bahu, but if I am not given respect as an individual, how do you expect me to respect you?

Every lady has a certain set of expectations from her in-laws and  post marriage when they aren’t fulfilled, the expectations turn into a suppressed desire of controlling others. Soon, the once suppressed desire becomes overpowering and the unaware soul gets to hear – “Ajkal ki ladkiyan (especially Bahu) have no respect left for elders.”

According to me, it is not that ajkal ki ladkiyan have no respect for elders but elders too need to respect our choices, the choices of bahus. I, myself have said it in my head a million times, “If you cannot give me my due space, why did you get your son married to me?”

I am sure, every bahu must have thought of this at least once in her lifetime and a few bold ones would have said this upfront to her mother-in-law:

Your daughter in law has a place in your son’s life too!

Your son is your son. You were, you are and you will be the first lady in your son’s life but definitely not the only one. Period! He will have friends and a wife, if you are ready to give away that required space in his life to her.

I have not come with a plot to take your place, rather I intend to create my own niche in this family and a special place in your son’s heart. However if just the idea of a special lady except for yourself in your son’s life is unacceptable, then why marry him off?

I am not just a womb!

The only role of your bahu is not to produce babies (a vanshaj for you). That isn’t why I married.

Marriage is meant to be a commitment for a lifetime, to be with each other and share the joys and sorrows of life. Babies are definitely an important aspect of life but definitely not the end of life. Before having babies, it is very important to develop understanding and mutual respect for each other. Only, when we, as life-partners appreciate each other’s role in the life, would we be able to take up new responsibilities of mom and dad.

Your bahu might bring in a new perspective

Why not try them out? Maybe they are good?

You have a rich experience of 25-30 years of handling a household and have mastered the art of managing your home pretty well. Your lifestyle and standards might be the best in class. But however naive, I can bring in a disruptive idea which can prove to be more economical, beneficial and comfortable. Please criticise it with an open mind.

Your son might like something you dislike

If you don’t like it, doesn’t mean your son will also not like it. Most of the times your son’s choices are in tandem with your’s but with changing times his choices may change and every time I am not the reason behind his change.

Every human is different and let’s respect that individuality. Please don’t blame me for everything different or wrong your son does now.

Bedtime should not be the only permissible personal time

After a long, hectic day, when I am tired like a dead log and wish to sleep, I chose to chat with my husband because that is the only personal time I get with him. I do understand that with ageing you need your family’s time and especially your son’s but even I deserve to spend a nano part of that time with my husband. Once in a while, I would like just the two of us to spend a weekend away.

Also, if, somehow I manage to grab an opportunity and sit with my husband for a few minutes, please don’t create an issue out of the same. I am not here to snatch away your son. However if you don’t allow me to spend a second more than the sleep time, then I would be forced to.

Let us have a chance as the two most important women in your son’s life

My dear mother-in-law, I know you are a gem at heart with no hard feelings against me. Even I don’t have any hard feelings against you.

We might have a difference of opinion but I wholeheartedly take care of you and accept you as I do my own parents. I have accepted every relation in this new family as my own and do everything possible to do justice to it.

I hope you understand that it takes two hands to clap. So instead of just me accepting and adapting to all the changes of the new family, this family should also accept my lifestyle and the changes I bring in.

For me, every relationship in this home starts with my husband. It is only when I swore the 7 vows with your son, that I became your bahu. So, if I won’t be happy as a wife, I won’t be able to make this family happy as a bahu.

It would be worthwhile to recognize that!

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  1. Parents of married sons need to grow up and act mature, just like parents of girls have had to when they get married. The saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” comes to mind here. While parents of girls let go and sacrifice what they have lovingly bred for years, all for the happiness of the couple’s married life, why is it that boys’ parents are so incapable and unwilling to do the same? Why the discrimination? Why is parents’ selfish weakness so hard to overcome? When we parents have children it should not be with only the selfish desire to have a back up in our old age. If we love them well and treat them right and circumstances permit they will anyway be there for us in whatever way they can. But that should not be the self centred motive for raising them. After all they didn’t choose to be born to us and we do not own them -like property. We have to accept that our children will have their own companions- peers and partners and spouses who will know them better and help them grow better and be happier too even. Perhaps more than we can ever hope to -because that is the flow of life and there is only so much that a parent can be to a child once they have become adults and are independent. The wisdom is in knowing the truth of life itself- life goes not backward or tarries with yesterday as the poem below tells us…

    In the words of poet and philosopher Khalil Gibran-
    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

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