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13 Absolute Freedoms I Enjoy As An Indian DIL In A Supportive Nuclear Family!

A nuclear family is an ideal set-up for a married woman to live her life on her terms if she has a supportive husband - and the benefits I find never cease to surprise me!

A nuclear family is an ideal set-up for a married woman to live her life on her terms if she has a supportive husband – and the benefits I find never cease to surprise me!

Joint families are very common in India. We have grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins all living together under one roof. Though now a days such extended families aren’t common anymore, yet there are families where parents, their married children and grandchildren live in the same house.

Generally, the son after getting married stays with his parents and invariably the daughter in law ends up living with her in laws in the same house, not a very ideal situation for her. She has to be very careful at every step, about everything she does, as there are prying eyes in the house keeping a tab on every move of hers, judging her.

On the other hand, there are nuclear families where husband, wife and children live together sans the grandparents and other extended family members. An ideal set-up for a married woman to live her life on her terms if she has a supportive husband.

In any case, in most of the metropolitan cities, it’s financial not viable for everyone to own huge  3-4 bedroom houses. Whole family has to live in 1-2 bedroom apartments which leads to space constraint. Lack of space means lack of privacy. Lack of personal space causes a lot of problems in a joint family.

Personally, I am a fan of nuclear family set up, have been living in one for over a decade and a half, managing the show perfectly well. There might be a couple of drawbacks of living in a nuclear family but the benefits far outweigh them.

Live your life on your terms, there are no prying eyes to constantly monitor your every move in the house. The way you cook, what you eat, what do you wear, when you sleep, what you watch, where you go, with whom you speak, when do you come back, how you raise your children, have your personal space, the list is exhaustive.

Let’s see the pros of living in a nuclear set-up. These are benefits from my point of view (a daughter in law’s POV), specially in Indian family system; your  point of view might be different.

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Your house

Decorate your house according to your taste and liking. Finally, you can call your house your own house, otherwise it’s in-laws house (Sasural).

Couple things

Enjoy your newly married life to the fullest. Day time quickies – not a problem. Cooking together- go for it. Binge watching Netflix – cool. (Feel free to add to the list). No one’s intruding or judging. The whole house is yours.

Meeting friends

Inviting friends over is just so easy. No need to take anyone’s permission or no need to wait for your in-laws to go out of town, either to invite your friends over or when you want to step out with them. They can stay for how much ever long they want and when you’re out you can enjoy till the time you want, no one’s staring or making a face.

Dress code

Dress up the way you like, whatever you’re comfortable in- shorts – go for it, sleeveless dress – no problem, little black dress – wow.

Rather there’s no pressure to dress up completely from the bathroom and step out as no one’s watching (Of course draping the towel before stepping out would do). Ask the women who live in joint families and do not have the luxury of having a private bathroom for themselves, how difficult it is to wear the salwar or track pants in the bathroom before stepping out?

Cook or not?

Cook as per your taste and preference. You want to try new recipes, try new cuisines, or stick to your mother’s recipe – no worries – satisfy your appetite according to your choice. Don’t want to cook- simply order in.

No need to cook a variety of dishes according to each one’s liking. In case of joint families the women are mostly occupied in the kitchen cooking umpteen number of delicacies. At times, different dish for each member.

Phone calls

Talk to your mom, your friends as much as you want, whenever you want, for hours together – vent it out. You don’t need to hide or step out of the house, or constantly look at the clock while talking to them.

Parenting kids

Raise and discipline your children as per what you deem is perfect for them. No one’s interfering. Let them paint the walls – paint with them, no one’s reprimanding. Children in nuclear families are comparatively more responsible. Communication between parents and children is much better in a nuclear family. Spend that extra time playing with your children, chores can wait.

A research suggests child abuse is more likely when children live with extended family members under the same roof. In case of nuclear family the child is much more safer.

Sanitary needs

No hush hush affair when it comes to sanitary napkins or contraceptives. Get them, store them, use them, dispose them – no hiding.

Travel plans

Plan your trips and vacations whenever you want- no need to take permission from your in laws.

Lazy mornings

Don’t feel like getting up though it’s past 9, feeling lazy to get out of the bed – stay tucked in, no one’s bothered, especially on weekends.

Sharing chores

Sharing of responsibilities among both the partners is much better in a nuclear family. His mother is not around to taunt you for making her son do the dishes or change the baby’s diapers.

Me time

The most important one – ‘Me time’. Enjoy ample ‘me time’ once the husband is at work and children at school, you are free to do what you want. Pursue your hobbies and dreams, finish reading a book, go shopping, pamper yourself – no one’s snooping. (This stands true for stay at home mothers)

Saas bahu

There is definitely peace of mind as there is no daily saas-bahu bickering and conflict. Love and compatibility is maintained in the family. Privacy and comfort top the list of benefits.

Aging in laws have a life of their own. Now that they are free from their responsibilities, they too would love to pursue their unrealised dreams. They’re not babysitters for free, they did their babysitting job with their children, now it’s our turn to do it for ours. Hiring a trustworthy nanny in case if you’re working is a much better option.

In the end, all that matters is to live a happy and peaceful life.

Image source: a still from Marathi film AAKH

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About the Author

Heena Shah

Mother to a bubbly teenager and a student of psychology, Heena is also a travel enthusiast. She loves to observe the happenings around her and weave them into beautiful stories. A writer with a passion read more...

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