Dear mother-in-law, you need to stop questioning my choices
When I decided to get married to my boyfriend, whom I dated over a decade, I had my doubts. Coming from a family where I was never raised as a ‘girl’, I had my speculations. But I was sure that my would-be husband is more than enough a reason to proceed with the marriage. Even after having an option to stay as a nuclear couple, I choose to stay with my in-laws to kindle a bond among us. Things were amazing between me and my husband and we had many excursions, travels and perfect moments together. The household was, of course, different, but manageable. I was not expected to ‘take care’ of the kitchen as such, neither I extended my help in the kitchen, as I was never fond of cooking nor was I asked often for the same.
But still, I lived in a combustive environment. A girl who leaves the comfort of her house and her parents is still not well appreciated in a modern upper-middle-class family. There were trivial issues on what to wear, how heavy the jewellery and makeup should be, etc. Though things were petty, I slowly realised the mindset of my mother- in -law. Her bickerings about being decked up all the time affected my sister-in-law way more than it affected me. I soon understood that her fashion and dressing sense was way different from me and she was never going to be satisfied with my choices of ‘heavy traditional wear’.
Though the issues can be ignored, but these little hiccups make you realise that a girl has been ignoring a lot many things at her in-laws. And when things come to shatter your self-esteem, let aside ego, you feel suffocated. You start questioning the decisions you made. I had my perfect husband, also my best friend, at my side all the time because he resonated with my decisions. Indian society isn’t and never will be ready for an independent self-sufficient working woman. They will find flaws in you no matter how perfect you are in your own family’s eyes.
I was never told’ things by my parents. They always respected my decisions about everything and considered me as a responsible and wise human being. When you come from such a family to a family where a woman is objectified based on her makeup, jewellery and attire, you are left with only one feeling—remorse. An above-average looking girl like me, with a remarkable and respectable profession, is made to feel like nobody. But all the past years you have been the apple of the eye of your parents, grandparents and almost all the relatives. Still, one person can make you question your existence on the basis of what you decided to wear for a family function.
Respected mother-in-law, I have a way more refined taste in clothes than yours, I never question you or your choices. Moreover, I always tend to appreciate and help you with your picks. You have whatsoever no right to question how heavy my dress, which I will be wearing to a function, should be. I will wear what I find comfortable, less blingy and sophisticated as per me and my husband’s choice. I genuinely feel that my dressing sense is not your prime concern but a way to vent out your true dilemmas. You, being a working officer in a reputed government firm, are overly dependent on your husband and children for almost everything. I think it’s very difficult for you to accept that how come a girl, merely just a girl like me, can be so independent. How can she carry her maiden surname after marriage and still remain friends with her husband? How could she not apply sindoor and wear ‘mangalsutra’ and look like an unmarried girl? How could she drive around the city at any time of the day and without being questioned or restricted by her husband and parents?
You just don’t understand how I have managed to change the scenario for myself. My decisions are not easy for you to accept, because they are unconventional. The support of my husband irks you the most. You don’t understand how a boy, raised by you, can treat me as his equal and not just like a wife or why your son doesn’t expect his wife to cook food for him or do his chores. He has been with me through thick and thin of school, grad school and post-grad training. Though we have completely different professions, he encourages me at every step of my ambitious career. There are layers and layers of issues you have with me which I am sure of, but you will never talk about those because you know that you will be shushed by your son, husband and daughter. In turn, you find petty issues to attack me and waste your energy, all in vain.
You have no idea how disgusted I feel by the thought of sharing the roof with you, but the sight of my husband makes me calm. The love of my other in-laws gives me a reason to continue staying with you. I wonder for how long will your meek ego cry for help. I just have one word for you—sadness. That’s what you bring to the house every time you try to seek attention by creating a scene with us. It’s high time that you acknowledge the true existence of any daughter-in-law as an individual. The only things that a mother-in-law like you are losing are the respect of the daughter-in-law and the love and support of your son.