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If you are constantly rebuked, blamed and compared with others, what do you do? You live separately with #NoRegrets. A woman’s honest advise on taking matters in your own hands.
I would be completing 5 years of marriage this November and have lived with my in-laws since then. As is the case with many new brides I was trying my best to get used to the new house and people.
I think I was doing a fair job but somehow realized that this was not enough. There was continuous comparison with my sister-in-law (brother in law’s wife) and constant reminders about how my husband had met so many prospective brides who were much better than me in something or the other by my MIL. But, the one most irksome thing was that my husband’s relationship with me would be directly proportional to how happy his parents are with me.
I took it as a mission to ensure that I keep them happy at the cost of my own happiness and there I committed the biggest mistake ever. The more I tried the more miserable I was made to feel. Continuous flaw finding, putting me down, comparison of my family with that of my sister in law’s family became the common phenomenon and surprisingly…I took it all!
This confident woman who had the perception of being a strong no-nonsense taker among friends and colleagues turned into a nervous wreck. I realized that in my MIL’s dictionary, the criteria for judging a woman is her culinary skills and the efficiency to perform household chores. Her education and accomplishments at the workplace are of no importance.
This post is one of the selected top entries of the blogathon #NoRegrets around Kaveree Bamzai’s inspiring book No Regrets: The Guilt Free Woman’s Guide to a Good Life.
You can also be a part of this blogathon by India’s leading publishing house Harper Collins. Write about the choices that have defined you as a woman. It could be your personal choices or career choices – a decision that you made and accepted with #NoRegrets, whether or not they met with the approval of everyone else. And do tell us what got you to the stage of sticking to it, with #NoRegrets as well!
A difficult pregnancy and a premie who’s now a bubbly preschooler happened in between all this. Without even letting me take care of my child, I was tagged as an incompetent mother. My MIL took it upon herself to take charge of a newborn.
I had low milk supply and my daughter was fed formula milk by my MIL. She also blamed me for not being the perfect mother since I could not breastfeed my daughter and so she believed that she would be better at looking after my angel. During this time, many time I felt that my baby is my responsibility but somehow did not dare to stand up for what I felt.
The jibes, the polite reminders of my not being good at anything continued topped with darling husband’s (pun intended) blind devotion towards his parents and convincing me every time to adjust. All of this just added to my miseries and created an emotional void within.
My parents have been my pillars of strength and would have been with me had I decided to walk out of this relationship but blame it on the Indian woman conditioning that I suffered in silence alone and felt suffocated. After trying hard to become perfect for people who hardly valued me I thought of rejoining work after a sabbatical of 2 years.
I would also term it as an escape route which I felt would be the only way I would be able to avoid these toxic people who have taken 4 years of my life but are so full of themselves that they would never acknowledge my efforts. Luckily I got a job through a reference soon. I felt appreciated and acknowledged and felt that I am still good at my job and not a useless woman as I was made to feel all the time.
I started asserting myself and found my voice coming back but still was bossed by my in-laws at home. Sometime last year, my in-laws decided to move out and stay with my husband’s younger brother but certain circumstances led them to stay back.
From that month onwards, I started thinking that I am dependant on them for looking after my daughter so I started tolerating their unreasonable behaviour under fear and again started to please them and trying to be an ideal and adarsh bahu on weekends.
As fate would have it, they again decided to move with my brother in law this year and this is when I finally decided to end this. I began to take control of the situation and decided to not panic about my daughter’s welfare. I raised my concerns with them for the very first time and this led to a major showdown between my mother in law and me. I was pleasantly surprised that my husband stood in my support during this time.
All of this led to my in-laws eventually leaving and I have # No regrets that they have moved out. I finally found the ‘lost me’. The girl who is confident and can stand up for herself.
My in-laws tried moving in with my brother and sister-in-law but their forever darling refused at the last moment, demonstrating her real shades of grey. So, at present, they are living separately.
As for me, I have taken a break again since my daughter could not adjust to a daycare facility. I know leaving my job again can have a disastrous impact on my career but I am hopeful of doing something for myself.
I have #NoRegrets about leaving my job since I have got rid of toxicity in my life. I keep on having some major tiffs these days with my husband as he wants to bring his parents back to stay with us. He is trying his best to convince me these days but I hope he understands my point of view soon.
Dear Husband, I want to tell you that you are absolutely correct in being a devoted son but please understand that I can no longer undergo the mental agony that led me to shed so many silent tears. I am tired of pretending to be happy, plaster a fake smile on my face and proclaim to be one of those lucky few to have such amazing in-laws.
I know all of your extended family consider me to be lucky enough to have them as my support system. With all due respect to the efforts that your parents have taken in managing the house, the pain of all that mental stress is more than that I could ever take.
I am not sure how many among the readers would identify to this, but if someone is going through tough family time, then do gather all your courage and speak up and stand for yourself. Trust me, there is no right time for it and the sooner you do this, the better it is for you.
Books like Kaveree Bamzai’s No Regrets: The Guilt Free Woman’s Guide to a Good Life will support you in this journey. This self-care book will teach you through experiences of other women and the choices that they have made to lead a happier life. Not everyone would deem these choices as conventionally right but they chose these nevertheless without any fear or regrets.
The author of this post would like to be known through her initials CS for personal reasons.
Image is a still from the Marathi TV show Nanda Saukhyabhare
Guest Bloggers are writers who occasionally share their interesting ideas and points of view with
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