An Open Letter to Indian Mother-in-laws

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Dear Indian mother-in-law,  You must be wondering why you are the most hated species on the earth.

Since you seem to be oblivious of why you are hated so much, allow me to make a list in the hope that it might refresh your memory.

Here is a list of things you as my mother in law did to frustrate me and alienate me.

an-open-letter-to-indian-mother-in-laws

I am sorry. But my husband loves me and you can’t do anything about it

Your son loves me and he also loves you. There is nothing either of us can do about it. You are unable to come to terms with this truth and you have made my life a living hell by constantly criticizing me and trying to make my husband and I fight. Did you ever stop to think that your own son is also unhappy because of your actions? Are you aware that you are not only alienating me but also your son and he cringes when you call him to complain about me.

My house my rules

Am I criticizing how you organize your things or what you cook or whom you entertain? Why don’t you give us the freedom to do the same. I saw your smug expression when you inspected the washed dishes. Please find fault with how I mop the floors and how dust bunnies are growing under the table and I feel like inviting you to my house more often.

Ask permission before rearranging my things

My personal belongings are off limits. Please don’t snoop through them under the pretense of reorganizing my cupboards for me. I am curious why you felt the urgency to reorganize the hidden things in my locked cupboard rather than the clutter right under your nose in the living room. If you want to help clean up the house, start there please.

Don’t make plans for my weekends

I am older and wiser now and I am not going to be bothered by the pouting and snarky remarks from you when we turned down your invitation to drop everything and spend every weekend running errands for you. I have begun to enjoy the silent treatments that you are giving me and I am looking forward to your next one so I can enjoy some peace and quiet. We both work hard to make a living and unless it is an emergency, we need a relaxing weekend.

Don’t invite yourself to all our vacations

We include you in almost every family vacation we take. When we occasionally go on one with our children, don’t throw a tantrum that your son has forgotten you or betrayed you. Calling him many times a day to complain about me while I am trying to reconnect with my husband after the crack you caused in our relationship makes me hate you. If it is not an emergency, give your son and daughter in law some space when they are on vacation. When will you stop emasculating your son by taunting him when he spends one day every year with my parents? Is it such a grave mistake that you are willing to hurt your own child? Don’t we put up with you for rest of the 364 days in the year? I had to plan a secret lunch date with my husband last month just so we both can talk uninterrupted. Had I informed you about the lunch, you would have promptly called us every 5 minutes informing us of some cooked up emergency.

Stop lecturing me to be submissive to husband

Last week’s lecture was not as painful as they usually are. What happened? Did I learn to tune you out or did your conscience prick you and made you soften the blow?. How naive of me to think that you have a conscience. I am going to give you one piece of unsolicited advice – Show me by example. It is getting very hard to control myself from laughing at your hypocrisy. If you can squabble with your husband and argue with him, so can I with my husband. Deal with it.

Keep a tab on my spending

The things I purchase are essential or else why would I buy them? There was a time when I lived like a pauper just to make you happy. You gave me lectures about asking husband’s permission before spending even for basic necessities. I shivered when I had to spend a rupee because I was afraid you will point your fingers at me when I bring the shopping bag home. Talk about invasion of privacy – will any decent person in their right mind demand that the daughter in law should show her shopping bag to her mother in law every time she comes home. This happens only in India. Then I found out about the secret stash of cash running to lakhs that you have hidden from your husband. Your excuse? You are saving for a rainy day. I hate you for robbing me of the joy of dressing well and enjoying small luxuries when I was in my 20s.

Cling to my husband every day so he and I will never bond

You make sure he never spends any time with me when you are around. You send him on a guilt trip and keep him lingering around you till the kids and I are fast asleep. But this is not as gross as the days when you grossed me out by demanding that you want to sleep between us when we were new a couple. You made sure we won’t have any physical or emotional bonding. I hate you the most for this.

Taunt me because your son does not call you often

Why don’t you ask him why he is avoiding you? Don’t you spend every evening with him when he is home and skype with him when he is out of town?. Then why do you tell me not to call my family? Don’t check my phone to see how many times I have called my family. I am wiser now and erase the call log. Hiding behind the door when I am talking to my family on the phone is disgusting. So is listening on the parallel line. Do you even think I will discuss anything private after I caught you eves dropping for the millionth time?.

 Over riding my parental authority

As a mother in law, you are entitled to access to my children but I will never put up with you when you teach my children to disobey the rules I have set for them.

I will breastfeed my children if I want and for as long as I want. Or I will give them formula if it is convenient. Their nap time, food, dress and other things will be decided by my husband and I just like you and your husband made those decisions for your children.

I underwent the long hours of labor and months of difficult pregnancy (thanks to you). So I get to choose their name. They will not be called after you or your parents. It is funny why you never suggested the names of your in-laws.

Complain and gossip about me and my family members

Why don’t you have the decency to leave my family members out of this? Are they not treating your son with utter respect and staying away from interfering in my life? What sadistic pleasure do you find in hurting me by insulting my family members? Last time when my sister had visited me, you made a ruckus about how much your son spent on her by taking her to the beach and buying bhel puri. You are disgusting. Don’t you count the amount of money we spend month after month for you and your daughter?

 Thanks for making both my pregnancies a terrible experience

Only a fool will plan to have her mother in law with her during pregnancy and I was one. You said you consider your daughter-in-law as your own daughter and wanted to take care of me during my pregnancy. You prevented me from going to my parent’s house and made me do all the work while you sat idle watching TV the whole time. You invited as many relatives as possible and made me wait on them hand and foot. When I had swollen feet after all the standing, you cried to my husband that your arthritis is acting up so he will not tend to me.

Pregnancy is supposed to be the most enjoyable time of a woman’s life and you made mine a living hell with your constant complaining, tantrums and the additional work you piled on me. You did not bother to ask me how I was after the harrowing experience at the hospital but you walked out in anger when we refused to name our child after your mother. I was the weakest at that time and you did not spare me even then. With your temper tantrum and sulking, you stole the happiness the new baby brought into our lives. It is not always about you and your sensitive skin and fragile ego.  When ever I remember the birth of my children I will remember how you behaved on that day. Is this the memory you want to leave behind?

Have a heart for your son

As much as you claim to love your son, you are the one who gives the most trouble. You pressurize him, taunt him, manipulate him, nag him for money and make his marriage unhappy. Is your insecurity and hatred for daughter in law worth all this trouble you cause your own son?

Don’t infringe on my basic human rights

Allow me to wear what I want, go where I want, talk to whomever I want and eat what I want just like parents are allowing the same for your son. They allow him to live his adult life with freedom. Why is it so hard for you to do the same for me? What makes you think that you can dictate how I should spend every second of every day? I hate you for suffocating me to death with your constant interference.

So dear Indian mother in law, this is why you are the most hated species on this earth and it is in your hands to change that image.

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2 Comments

  1. Sad wife
  2. indian bahu

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