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Why are women expected to act as the mediators holding families together? Aren’t other members responsible for maintaining relationships too?
I have often heard this, ‘Women are the bridge that can mend broken relations between two people or families.’
When a girl gets married, she is supposed to take care of all the relations in the husband’s family. Similarly, a daughter is supposed to maintain good relations with her parents and siblings.
But my point always has been that a relationship works only when two people want it to work. A woman cannot always act as a mediator. The society and family expect her to be the peacemaker and the ‘glue’ that holds relationships.
When there is a tussle between the father and children, why is the mother or wife supposed to act as the bridge? It’s the father who needs to work on his relationship with the children. Until he does, what can a mother do?
When two grown-up siblings are at loggerheads with each other, the mother can try to help to an extent. But what if those two adults refuse to mend their relations? When a daughter-in-law comes into a new family, it is the entire family’s job to make sure that the relationships are healthy, not just the daughter-in-law’s.
I have seen women from my mother’s generation and even my generation getting tired in the process of maintaining relationships. Ironically, most of the women who try to mend these relationships are the ones who are often blamed for not trying ‘hard enough’ to keep the family together.
Stop expecting your mothers, daughters and your daughter-in-law to be the ones holding the family and relationships together. It the responsibility of each member of the family to work on these relationships.
How many times have we heard fathers blaming their wives of having ‘poisoned the mind of the kids’? But the truth here is that the father has barely invested any time or emotions in the kids or their thoughts.
How often have you heard in-laws or the sister-in-law blame the DIL for ‘stealing’ the son or brother from them? Isn’t it possible that they, too, were at fault here?
It’s time we stop expecting women to mend broken relationships or ‘fix’ dysfunctional families when the other members don’t want to do the same. We need to remember that maintaining good relationships is person-specific and definitely not gender-specific.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Two States
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