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An easy guide for creating a gratitude journal for yourself, to learn the art of saying the good old “Thank you!” before setting expectations or demanding anything from a wife or daughter in law.
When a woman gets married into an Indian household, the burden of expectations looms large in front of her. No matter any lip service to “keeping her happy” that is done.
We don’t expect anything but we just expect you to cook once for our relatives. You have to fast for your husband because it is the tradition in the family. Touch the feet of your husband on these patriarchal festivals… it goes on.
Many women tend to normalize these things at the cost of their mental health and peace. It is the time to speak up!
While in-laws are ready with a check-list of traditional and cultural codes to be followed, here is the list of gratitude codes which in-laws must keep for handy use for their daughter in law:
Be eternally thankful to your daughter in law’s parents if the wedding expenses were borne entirely by them
In the Indian context, men and their families often have hidden expectations that wedding expenses is the responsibility of bride’s family. We live in 21st century or wait, do we?
We might have brought equality amongst brides and grooms in education and many a times in their salaries too, but patriarchal traditions remain biased towards men. As much as we dislike it, this has been a common practice with many people with higher education level too.
The groom’s family asks the bride’s family, ‘what’s your budget?’ Isn’t this question itself asking for dowry covertly?
I have heard many men saying that their wives taunt them on this throughout the life. If this passive aggression has to be curbed, it is better to tackle the root cause of this problem. Share the load, as a popular detergent advertisement says.
Be thankful your daughter in law, if she and her family agrees to marry according to your traditions.
A groom’s family usually has upper hand in a traditional wedding, but wait a second! I understand you have your traditions, but would it hurt too much for you to keep some room to understand traditions of the bride’s family? Keep a check on yourself if you do insist only on your traditions, or see that it is happening in any wedding.
Show gratitude to bride’s family if they are liberal enough to marry your way, arrange for foods you like, and never forget to say the good old Thank you.
Be thankful to your daughter in law if you expect her to change your son.
As it is said, ‘Women are not rehabilitation centres for badly raised men.’ Please do not expect your daughter in law to do the emotional labour of correcting the effects of your bad parenting. If she is doing this, you must worship her.
Women, please do not think that it is your job to treat a full-fledged man as a child. His parents need to work on him before you marry him. Respect your individuality and agree for equal partnerships.
Men, work on yourselves. You can do way better. Please do not let patriarchal traditions and expectations lower down your standards. Be a fit partner for 21st century woman.
Be thankful to your daughter in law, if she ‘produces’ a child because of your ‘coaxing’.
In this era, woman have a choice to be a mother or be child free. It is entirely a decision of the couple. Before you decide to trespass the boundary and tell her how she should be using her uterus, prepare yourself for a backlash. If she is not calling you out on this behaviour, please be eternally grateful to her.
So next time you say, ‘when am getting grandchild?’ do some research on her choices. She may want to be child free or adopt a child and not put her body through the physical labour of producing a child.
Be thankful to your daughter in law if she is learning to do cooking and household chores your way.
Patriarchy tells us that women learn the ways of husband’s family. Well, that’s a choice she makes, and if she makes one, be grateful. Ask her if she likes cooking. If not, you spend your time doing what you like to eat.
If you feel burdened with household chores and cooking, you need a domestic help and not a daughter in law. Be mindful that you had a better opportunity to pass your skills to your son. If you could not do this in years, you have very dismal chance to change your daughter in law.
Be thankful to your daughter in law if she agrees to dress up your way.
It is appalling that people expect their daughters in law to put ghoonghat, Indian attire, or loose clothes in front of the men. If you have these ‘rules’ in your family, you need to keep a check on the kind of men you are raising in the family. She should not need to be ‘protected’ by her clothes, your men need to be civilized.
Keep a gratitude journal for your daughter in law and keep finding more reasons for being thankful to her.
Image source: a still from the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha
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Priya Tripathi identifies herself as a feminist, bibliophile, survivor and a runner. She believes her
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