Dear Mother-in-law: I Do Not Have To Prove Anything To You

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A working daughter in law writes a letter to her mother in law, who is unable to comprehend that this independent young woman will not be pushed.

Dear Mother-in-law,

There is so much I want to tell you, but I hold myself back because I do not want to hurt and disrespect you. But I think I cannot hold back any longer, so here is an open letter for you.

I do not know how you have raised your children – I was not around remember? But I am living with one of them, and trust me he needs a lot of improvement! You might have spoon fed your children, you might have told them what to do and what not to do. They probably ask you which shirt is where and which toothpaste to use, but my parents have raised me to be an independent young girl with views and opinions of my own. I will definitely ask you for advice when I feel the need to, and I do respect you and your experiences, but that does not give you the right to taunt and comment on literally everything I say or do. Trust me, if I start arguing logically you will not have an answer, so I am saying this for your benefit, let go.

Do not teach me how to raise my child. Of course you are experienced, and I value your suggestions. Be assured I hear you, but if I still choose to do my thing, please respect my choice. You raised your child like you wished, let me raise mine as per my wish. I will ask you for suggestions and advice, like I ask my mother. Be a guardian do not be a dictator.

You think the staff in the house respects only you, you talk ill about me to them. I hear you, I hear them, please be more inaudible next time, because your words hurt. They come and tell me everything. They come and tell me what you said. They say they are fed up of your continuous nagging, but I gently explain that they should respect you and not talk like that in front of me. I wish you did the same, I really do.

I wish you spoke to me the way you do when your son is around. I wish you cared for me, the way you do when my husband is around. He is your son – why do you pretend in front of him? That is exactly where you win, because I am who I am in front of you and him. I cannot manipulate him with tears and anger and I hate it when you do. Because I love him, and wish I loved you.

You talk to me about your daughter, and ask me for advice. I genuinely say what my heart feels and I say it in the best of her interests. Then I realize you asked me only to make me realize something, or to compare me and her. I am sorry to break your bubble but there are a lot of things I can do and she cannot. So stop looking at only the other side of the issue.

You might have been perfect in household chores, and I am sure you know way more than me on cooking as a subject, I appreciate it. Please understand I know more than you when it comes to my job, my area of interest and my subjects. You love household jobs and I love my field job. We are both professionals; let’s not compare.

I love your son; he loves me. I do not have to prove my love for him to you. Cooking his favourite food or keeping his clothes ready are not my ways of showing my love to him. You should have got him married to a maid, but excuse me from the same.

I can go on and on, but I guess you get my point. It’s simple.

Live and Let live.


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  1. I guess you are voicing out the story of many households in India. Nicely put.

  2. Yep! This pretty much sums up a certain stereotype mother in law that sadly is a reality too!! I feel so sorry for all the people involved. Its mostly because marriage is viewed in certain cultures as a convenient way to live life. Men marry not for companionship but for the convenience of sex, progeny and housekeeping it is expected to provide them. Women often marry out of social pressure to do so, for false romantic notions of courting and perhaps to enhance their financial security ( at least that used to be the presumption on which dowry was based) Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that no relationship that has an ulterior motive, strictly for convenience of those involved, can be sustained on a pleasant note for a long time. It will inevitably lead to pain and anguish and a lot of disappointment. Brides are not maids, just as bridegrooms aren’t insurance plans. This fact must be understood by society and its individuals who create false hopes and expectations of a partnership that in modern times must be based on mutual respect and a deep need for companionship above all else. Maids can be hired and financial security can be achieved even without marrying these days. So if people do not want their children to enjoy the joy of a companionship based on love and respect, they should just let them remain unmarried and secure their needs the proper way rather than marry them off and heap their need based expectations on unsuspecting individuals. We must rethink our basic understanding of how long term partnerships like marriage may be sustained in a fair and equitable manner so that it is not an uphill task to stay happy in marriage and life.

  3. Kudos. …very truly said …mn I really liked d choice of words

  4. Thank you so much for writing this.

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