All mothers-in-law,

World over.



A daughter-in-law


Dear Mothers-in-law,

milEnough and more has been written and said about mothers-in-law, movies, especially the ones made in India, portray your tribe to be evil, scheming, conniving, and outright deceitful. I would like to think otherwise. You have raised such a wonderful man in your son, so I would like to believe that deep down you are as wonderful as wonderful can be.

Change is the only constant. If every mother-in-law remembers this, what a wonderful world it could be out there. Yes, your son was very fond of that dish you used to make for him, but he isn’t its biggest fan today. Yes, your son hated eating that vegetable, but maybe, just maybe he likes the way I make it. Yes, your son loved his bed coffee, but there are other things that occupy his mornings now.  Yes, the middle hair parting suited your son when he was 11 years old, but he is triple that age now, and no, the middle parting is not cool. Yes, your son loved potatoes deep fried and soaking in oil, but the rising cholesterol levels tell a different tale. Yes, your son loved to sleep through his Sundays, but other responsibilities beckon him now. Yes, your son loved the comedy genre of movies, but he also enjoys some heavy duty drama. It’s time to let go of that invisible cord, dear mother-in-law.

What was it about the kitchen that made the blood boil, I wondered. If someone were to offer to cook for me, I would happily open my kitchen to them or so I thought before I was married and managed my own house. Post-marriage, I seem to have become rather territorial about it. Usually a rather late riser, I ensure I wake up well before the household is abuzz just so that I get into my kitchen and start the day. Perhaps there is some magnetic pull that does this. Being told how, when, and at what temperature the son would like his coffee isn’t a pleasant morning conversation and yet mothers-in-law seem to do just that. Dear mother-in-law, in the few years of living with your son, I think I have managed to get atleast this right. So please stop telling me how to serve coffee. You have your space dear mother-in-law, let the daughter-in-law have hers.

Yes, I agree that raising a child is an art. But given that you have mastered the art, don’t you think you should let your daughter-in-law dabble in the art herself, without much intervention. Running behind the child with a bowl of food isn’t always the most effective way of feeding. Giving in to all their demands when they howl isn’t a good parenting technique. Letting them stay up way past their bedtime doesn’t help them the next morning in any way. Indulging them with ice-creams and other treats on a regular basis will just lead to a bad tummy and decaying teeth. Not giving in to all their demands does not make me a bad mother, dear mother-in-law. Having a routine and following it doesn’t make me an army general. You’ve been there done that, dear mother-in-law, give your daughter-in-law a chance to say the same.

You’ve lived the life of a wife, daughter-in-law, and mother, and no one better than you would know what all you felt as you handled each role. Now is the chance for your daughter-in-law to live it the way you would have ideally wanted it to be. Give her a chance to be half as good as you are.

Yours’ truly,

A daughter-in-law