Dear Daughter In Law, Welcome To Your New Life, But Here’s What You Are Doing Wrong!

That evening, I had an intense discussion with my husband. I told him how unhappy I was, and that I needed to make changes to my life. Our life. 

Dear Daughter-in-law,

Today, you enter our home with new dreams and hope. In you, I see my reflection from a long time ago. The wedding festivities have prompted me to take a trip down memory lane. A marriage is a fresh start where bonds are forged, and love flourishes. I wish you all the happiness and abundance in the world. May your cup always overflow with contentment and love, for your husband and your family…but most importantly, for yourself.

When I came to this home as a new bride

I married at twenty-one. My husband’s side was considered progressive for those times. ‘Progressive’ meaning, I was ‘permitted’ to work as long as I could manage the chores and the family. You must be rolling your eyes at the ‘permitted’. A naïve me was thrilled. I had hit the jackpot! And so, I juggled work and home, embarking on a tightrope walk. Waking up at five, cooking, catching the local, slogging at the office, and then returning home to cook dinner.

All in a day’s work.

I was the epitome of excellence, the one who braved the grind with a smile. The good wife and the good daughter-in-law. I basked in my laurels. We bought a house with our combined incomes- mine and my husband’s. Yet, my family labeled my home, my husband’s.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Then, my sons were born

Things got harder, exponentially. I told myself that my blessings were overflowing. But my existence? It had become mechanical. When voluntary acts of love become compulsions, the suffocation sets in. Unable to cope with the pressure of raising two children, I quit my job and became a stay-at-home mom.

Everyone assumed that I was being the ‘good mother’ and commended me for it.

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I was dying inside, like a fragile creeper in the wind, drifting along the direction the gales blew. One morning, I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked at the premature greys and my wrinkled forehead. I looked at my hands that still reeked of the lemon from the dishwashing liquid, and the messy saree with the turmeric stains from the kitchen. I had aged years and fallen victim to routine, losing my zest for life. I wondered where I had gone wrong. And then it struck me! In a quest to earn validation from others, I had forgotten the most important person. Me. 

I wanted to re-claim myself

The me within me was dying. I had forgotten to love her, and she sulked in a corner, forgotten, and abandoned. How could I love others if I wasn’t capable of loving myself?

That evening, I had an intense discussion with my husband. I told him how unhappy I was, and that I needed to make changes to my life. Our life.

He agreed. We were financially stable and could afford to hire help. I started teaching at a school. The boys found it hard at first, but they soon adjusted. They grew independent and started doing chores rather than only occasionally helping. I started taking care of myself and my appearance. For the first time in months, I tied up my unruly tresses and ironed my sarees. It felt wonderful!

The ‘woman who had it all’?!

However, the whispers started again.

Look at her! Feminism has gotten into her head. She wants to become a career woman. What is the need to work at this age?

I ignored them because I was at peace with myself. The result? I was happier, and confident, and could take on any challenge that life threw at me. You must be wondering why I am sharing all of this with you, and that too on your wedding day. At the engagement ceremony, I overheard you talking to your friends. You said you deeply admired me, and you wanted to be like me. You called me, ‘a woman who has it all’. 

I admit it felt wonderful that you were placing me on a pedestal. But that’s when I realized you were falling into the same trap. I was setting you up for failure!  You need to know the reality of my mantle and what I had to do to reach here.

Learn to love yourself, no matter what people say

For every wonderful thing you do, there is going to be one person who finds faults.

You can’t win them all. 

Today, I entrust you with a piece of my heart, my son. No, I’m not the dramatic mother-in-law who tasks the new bride with taking care of her diamond. My son is a fully functioning adult. I have taught him to take care of himself and to contribute to the household. In him, you will find an equal partner.

I am proud of your achievements and hope that I can be as supportive as you need me to be. Because if you give up, in it lies my failure too.

Self-love starts with you, and so does happiness. 

Welcome to the family! I will not insist that you call me Mummy. I hope to earn that title with time.

Lots of Love,

Aunty

This was first published on the Momspresso app which is no longer available.

Image source: by Ankur Kumar from Pexels Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

53 Posts | 72,506 Views

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