My attempt is to share with you a complex phenomena of the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship that has wreaked and stolen peace from many marriages. While the society portrays the mother-in-law as rude, who cared to hear her side of the story? Here’s my attempt. A letter from the Indian Mother-in-law to all the daughter-in-laws.
You might have heard the society talk about me. You might have heard about my passive-aggressive behavior. You might have watched the television soap-operas where I am portrayed as intrusive, unfair and notoriously adamant.
I am the Indian Mother in law.
But before you judge me any further, please hear my story!
I was a daughter-in-law too, married when I was barely 20. Tiny little pleasures like going on an evening walk with my husband, shopping my favorite stuff, wearing whatever I like, public display of affection from my husband, were denied to me.
Elder’s word was the law in my days. Sacrifice came coupled with marriage. I never had the satisfaction of spending a good amount of time with my own parents and siblings after my wedding day. I have sacrificed my career, independence and countless desires. I spent about 2 decades doing the same old house-hold chores and raising children..! My whole world and only source of strength are my children.
You may be a little uneasy of facing your mother in law i.e; me. But dear child, understand that I have my fears just as you do…
- To the world, I may appear a little jealous; but deep down, I am only scared and insecure.
- To the world, I may appear as dominating; but deep down, I only take hold of things only to lessen your burden.
- To the world, I may appear as intrusive; but deep down, I am actually protective and concerned for you.
- To the world, I may appear as stiff and stubborn; but please don’t judge a book by its cover. I am willing to adapt.
- To the world, I may give the as an emotional bomb; but I am in my fifties and suffering from menopause.
- To the world, I may appear obsessive of your husband; but deep down, its the motherly instinct that nature gave me.
- To the world, I may appear as a nagging old woman; but I want you to help you with things around.
- I may spoil your kids a little bit with chocolate and toys; but its my expression of affection to kids.
I am doing it all out of love.
But my dear, if you find anything irksome, please tell me. I know you have your own way of running things. If you don’t like anything I do, let me know. Although we both are from different backgrounds, I will put my all possible effort to understand you and take care of you. It may take a little time, so please be a little patient. It takes time to grow into a level of mutual understanding and friendship. But I am not an irresponsible mother-in-law.
My child, please don’t think I am competing with you for my son. Trust me, I am not the terrible 1960’s mother-in-law. I want to see you all blooming and happy.
I’m so excited for you to experience the overwhelming feelings of love, the bond of marriage and the joy of uniting with your beloved. Love is a powerful thing. You are about to start a great journey together with your husband. You have given me the pleasure of becoming a mother-in-law, (and eventually) a grand mother. You have taken the responsibility of loving my son unconditionally. I can’t me more thankful to you!
My dear child, as a last word of the letter, I want to tell you that my son is my biggest weakness and my biggest strength. Being away from him is my biggest misery.
I know you are the most important woman of his life now, but please… be considerate of the fact that I am still his mother.
The Indian Mother-in-Law.