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Even though you are a modern daughter-in-law, your in-laws expect you to completely adapt to their family. Is that fair? Think.
Before I start talking to you, there are two things you should know.
First, if your husband is someone who supports you and stands by you when you are right, then you are blessed. If he does not, then it is time you had a talk with him. If he still doesn’t understand, then you should know that you have the right to leave right away. If I were you, I would.
Next, if your in-laws understand you and respect you for what you are, then do not read further. It would not make sense to you. If not, then please go on.
You might think that I’m being silly about this whole thing. It is 2016 and there are no more issues between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Surely, all the stuff that you see in serials no longer exists! That is what I thought so too, but then I was in for a huge surprise. It made me realize that some mothers-in-law idolize the mothers-in-law shown on screen and try to be like them. Control becomes their first name and you are expected to walk on ice throughout.
Every move you make is judged and every argument will end with your parents being dragged into it for no reason. She will expect to be treated like a queen, while you must accept the position of the slave no matter what.
I do not talk here only about myself. There are a lot of other daughters-in-law I know who have been subject to a lot more atrocities. Not because they did something wrong. Just because they wanted to live their life, the way they wanted to. While there are a lot of daughters-in-law who are treated just like daughters by their in-laws – that is just a small percentage. The actual picture is shocking to say the least. But you should not succumb to it.
You are a modern day woman. And when I mean modern, I’m not referring to the clothes you wear. I mean a modern mind-set. Do not fool yourself into being a modern and a traditional woman at the same time. There is nothing like that.
Again, I’m only talking about the mind-set here. You are a modern woman with a modern lifestyle. I’m sure you are doing well at your job and love your life the way it is. Yes, accept it. People will try to bring out the non-existent traditional mind-set in you. Why, they will try to impose it on you. Do not give in. Remember what you are. And that is all that matters.
You leave twenty odd years of your life behind and walk into an unknown jungle with the man you love. That is when you realize that marriage is not only about being with the man you love. It is also about his parents. And considering the fact that you are modern, they hate you already. They also are coming up with schemes to change you.
Change is important, my friend. Or maybe adapt is the right word. You are away from your comfort zone and now is the time you learn to adapt to your new surroundings. Not to make others comfortable, but to make yourself comfortable. This is not something that happens overnight. Take your time.
No matter what happens and no matter who says what, remember that you are bound to these relationships through a man. Your husband. Had he not been there, these relationships would not have been too. He is your priority and not your in-laws.
If he has no objections with your lifestyle, then there is nothing for you to worry about. You are not a morning person? Then sleep in. Can’t cook? Let it be. He fell in love with you for all of this. There is no need to change it.
I know you do not believe in them. But participate in them only if needed. Do not force yourself to believe in something that you have your own doubts about. If your husband is not a part of this, there is no need for you to be too.
You are a working lady and that is what your first identity is. Not being someone’s wife or someone’s daughter-in-law. Give importance to your work first. If you have no time for cooking, do not feel guilty. If you do not know cooking, then order from your favourite restaurant instead. Your husband doesn’t expect you to cook, then why are you even thinking about it? He understands your stressful life, nobody else will.
From the minute you step into the unknown jungle, you will be expected to forget your parents and adopt strangers. Do not do it. Being a wife or a daughter-in-law doesn’t mean that you stop being a daughter. Do whatever you want for your parents and visit them as often as you want to.
You will tend to love them more now as you feel the pain of separation. You will also realize how wonderfully your parents have treated you all your life. Nobody else can replace them. Ever. Fingers will be pointed at them, for the way they have raised you. Because of course who raises a daughter to be modern right? Do not take it lying down. Give it back in the best way you know.
There will be a million new rules in the new house, but nobody will tell it to you. You are just expected to learn it all by yourself and adhere to it. And this must happen overnight, else you are a bad daughter-in-law. Laugh over it over a glass of wine with your husband.
Without a doubt you will be accused of stealing their son. And if you try to oppose to this, then the histrionics of the entire family will be put out on display. Just ignore it. Maybe your mother-in-law intended to steal her husband from his parents and thinks you will do the same too. After all history repeats itself, doesn’t it?
There is no need for your in-laws to know how much money you are making and how much money are you giving your parents. If they ask, politely tell them that it is none of their business.
Relationships are a two way street. It needs an investment from both ends. If you see that the other person is not making any effort, feel free to turn back and walk away. You married the man, not his family.
You will hear a lot of complaints about yourself and your parents. I know you will be tempted to give it back to them. But then again, you do not want to stoop down to their level. Ignore it as much as you can, but if a certain line is crossed do not hold back.
No matter what you do, you will always be an outsider to them. This will be mentioned out and loud enough number of times and in front of as any people as possible. Do not take it to your heart. If you are an outsider to them, that makes them outsiders to you as well. And random people talking nonsense shouldn’t matter to you.
There will be an unsaid competition between the two women of the house. First in the kitchen and then everywhere else. Do not underplay. You did not ask for the competition anyway. But while you are in it, play to win.
There clearly will be a generation gap. Sometimes in decades and sometimes in light years. Instead of trying to bridge it, learn what sort of a mother-in-law you should not become.
They will order you around and expect you to do things for them. If you want to do it, do it in the best way possible. If you do not, then say so. They will make a face but you will not see it because you will already have walked away.
You are a working lady and she is not. She will never understand what it feels like. So do not feel bad about not being able to cook and clean or anything else. You do not have to live up to everyone’s expectations. Remember you and your work come first. Next, your husband.
If things begin to turn real bad, feel free to separate out with your husband. There will be unsolicited tears about how you are separating a mother from her son. But then again, you were separated from your mother in the name of marriage. Nobody will realize this apart from you and your husband. Ignore the drama and start a new life.
These things are not easy and is not something that you have to do, but at times this is the best you can do. You are a daughter and a wife and you should be accepted wholeheartedly in both these relationships. You do not owe anything to anybody. You were not someone picked off from the streets to be taken to a new house. You have come from a wonderful house, fallen in love with a man and married him in front of the whole world. Nobody owns you because of this. You are what you were before marriage and nobody can take that away from you. Do not cave in to pressure. Do not feel the need to please. Love yourself and your husband. Nothing else matters after that.
All the best!
Another modern daughter-in-law.
Image source: writing a letter by Shutterstock.
A bibliophile with a quest for writing, I'm a techie by day. An eternal
Very nice article! Such an honest description of what daughter in laws are facing these days. I went through somewhat similar circumstances, only my husband didn’t support me and added emotional and physical abuse. It boils my blood when I read anything similar. I chose to walk away! Head held high! Proud of my choice!
Thank you Priyanka!
I’m really sorry for the things you had to face, but let me tell you that I’m proud of you for choosing to walk away. When your husband doesn’t support you, the whole meaning of marriage is void. I’m happy for you and wishing you a wonderful life ahead.
Very nice article but what if husband says my mother n father are important to me and will not come separately….. and even bother to call and ask about wife and daughter
Well, such a husband does not deserve to have a wife.
Great post and advise you got there Soumya. I am in that small percentage of women who have adorable in-laws but I have heard many conversations at work on how nasty things get. Glad you wrote about them.
Thanks for reading Parul!
This is the best article I have ever read on this topic.Fabulous!!! I have been thro every bit when I lived in a joint family as a newly married.And I too got married thinking that inlaw dramas are only on TV.Was in for a shock..Only thing I would add is that husband’s support would never be there if its an arranged marriage.They would want their stranger wife to give in to every tantrum of their family.So the girl may have to deal with everyone alone.I was too scared then to walk out of a marriage as everyone convinces you that this will pass.It doesn’t pass.You give in to abuse …you only get more.Very glad that you wrote such a fantastic article on this Soumya.
Thank you Wilma. Arrange marriage or not, a man must always stand up for this woman. That’s what a marriage is all about. Equal partnership.
Loved it!! Need more write ups like this…
Thanks for reading Anjali.
Great! First step to spoil Indian culture. You will come to know the value of elders once you cross certain age. After all you work and earn to keep your family happy. Family also includes inlaws. When you become mother of a child then you you need inlaws to take care of your children.wow what a post.
Of course it is the Indian culture that the in-laws would be unpaid nannys for your children. Wow, what a comment.
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