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The good Indian daughter-in-law is always on duty; the result? She can never get peaceful or even sufficient sleep.
After I got married, getting a good night of sleep became nearly impossible. In the name of tradition, whether for taking care of guests or sometimes for taking care of my husband and kids, I had to always sacrifice my sleep for the sake of others. Somehow, it was only my problem, one that wasn’t noticed by others.
Original in Hindi | Translation by Nishtha Pandey
We all know how essential sleep is to keep our minds and bodies healthy. Getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep is considered a must for every individual. But somehow, this philosophy is not applied to the daughters-in-law of the house.
A DIL is always expected to be on her toes 24/7. Her sleep schedule is given the least importance. The same thing happened to me too when I got married.
When I was not married, I used to sleep on my own terms. I always used to get late for school because I used to get up late. To prevent the same thing happening during college, my mother started waking me up at 7 o’clock so that I could reach college at 9 o’clock. Still, I would lazily get up at 8 o’clock and go to college.
Then, after coming back from college I used to eat and sleep again from 2 in the afternoon to 5 in the evening. Now if you think this is too much sleep already, then let me tell you that with despite all this sleep, at night I used to head to bed at 10 o’clock. Moral of the story: my sleeping schedule was very peaceful when I was not married!
Sometimes, my mother would get very angry and say, “What will you do when you get married? Let me tell you once you get married, you’ll be on your toes 24/7 and yearn for some peaceful sleep, better get used to that from now onwards.” I always used to take my mom’s scolding lightly. Sadly, all that she said came true.
After marriage, my sleep schedule was affected the very second day itself. In the name of custom, sometimes for taking care of guests or for spending time with my husband, I was the one who had to sacrifice her sleep.
But all of this was somehow only my problem. My in-laws were least bothered about the fact that I had to sacrifice my sleep for being the ‘good daughter-in-law’.
I thought that after some time, everything would be fine, but I was wrong!
I was going to be a mother. Just the thought of being pregnant didn’t let me sleep peacefully for quite some time.
Since I gave birth to my princess I am always on duty. From waking her up to changing her diapers and feeding her, I have no time for myself to sleep peacefully. Even if I get time to sleep, there is always the thought of whether my baby is fine. No matter how much I love my sleep, the mother inside me is always awake for her kid.
Somedays, I feel so sleep deprived that whenever my husband says, “Let’s go out or let’s take the kids around, take them to the park”, I say, “You go with the kids and I’ll finish my chores.” After they leave I just attempt to complete my sleep. But yeah, even that doesn’t work out because remember, a DIL is on her toes 24/7! Every time someone or the other has some work they need from me and I am left longing for some peaceful sleep.
Now, the only ray of hope in my life to get some peaceful sleep is by visiting my parents. At my parents’ house, everyone knows how much I love to sleep and hence they just don’t disturb me. The moment I reach my parents’ home, my mother goes, “Aa gai meri laddo apni neend puri karne” (Here comes my darling, to get some sleep!). I get my peace of mind when I visit my parents.
It’s strange how a DIL is just not allowed to sleep and ends up having to take care of everyone without complaining.
Image credits Wakebreak Media/Getty Images via Canva Pro
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The incident took place ten years ago.
Smita could visit her mother only in summers when her daughter had school holidays. Her daughter also enjoyed meeting her Nani, and both of them had done their reservations for a week. A month before their visit, her husband told her, “My mom is coming for 4-5 months!”
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