Mother-in-law Daughter-in-law!

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Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are both women. Only a daughter-in-law goes on to become a mother in law. Yet something happens in the transformation that changes the same woman into a totally different person!

The beginning point of this special relationship is the son/husband. Hence if there are issues in this relationship the sufferer also happens to be him!

When the daughter-in-law enters her husband’s home all she expects is mother’s love from her mother-in-law. If she gets it then it is home sweet home! There are lots of mothers-in-law who welcome their daughter-in-law into their household and shower her with love and affection as they would to their daughter. If the future mother-in-law started off on the best foot by behaving nicely towards the girls family even before the wedding, this will really elicit a favourable response from the girl and will lead to mutual respect between the two. This cultured behaviour does not come through education or social status but purely out of love. By understanding that the son’s happiness totally depends on his wife’s happiness, every mother will only try her best to keep the wife happy.

The problem starts when the mother-in-law thinks of her daughter-in-law as her competition. There is always a special bond between the mother and son and that is why when a new person enters the household to rule her son she flips! More over if she happens to begin the relationship by saying that she is the boss and her daughter-in-law is her subordinate then undoubtedly the relationship will go south! On the other hand if she treats her as a colleague and shares the responsibility and authority then the bonding begins. There is the same kind of special relationship between a father and a daughter as well. But there are not many  live in sons-in-law for the father-in-law/ son-in law relationship problems to take a front seat:)

If the daughter in law also starts loving her mother in law as she would her mother, then everything is hunky dory. Otherwise even a small problem magnifies itself. She must also make an effort to learn about the new family’s internal workings, show love and affection to her new relatives. This requires a considerable amount of time and patience. Generally when the daughter in law is more educated than the mother in law and holds a good job as well, this may lead to the mother in law feeling a little threatened and may express her inadequacy in some form of petty anger. But if the daughter in law is smart she will respect her mother in law’s worldly wisdom right from day one and by giving her the due respect put her at ease.

The responsibility lies with the son/husband to make this relationship work. But many of them lack the maturity to handle both the wife and mother. The mother complains that he is henpecked and the wife says he is a mama’s boy and he is caught between the two without satisfying either of them and wondering why in the first place did he ever decide to get married!

I am treating my daughter-in-law the same way my mother-in-law treated me, so nothing is amiss thinks the mother-in-law. This is how I lived in my parents’ home and this is the same way I will continue to live in my new home, decides the daughter in law. We do not sit as a family and discuss the cause of the family problems. It is not in our culture to do so. The sons are brought up to obey the parents and it is very difficult for them to suddenly realize that they have to correct their parents’ behaviour. They do not have the courage to do so. At the same time they do satisfy their wife’s wishes but with a sense of guilt. Both attitudes are wrong.

When parents enjoy financial independence and good health they should let the newly marrieds to start a home of their own. Familiarity breeds contempt. So it would be wise for the parents of young couple to let them live on their own and enjoy their freedom. This will actually lead to closeness between them and when help is needed eventually, say when the daughter-in-law requires somebody responsible and loving to take care of her children, and when the mother-in-law requires assistance due to some ailment relating to age, then at that point, help will be exchanged with mutual respect and dignity.
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