I’m A Slave ‘Bahu’ Who Just Becomes Her ‘Beta’ Or ‘Beti’ Whenever It Is Convenient For Her

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 16 April, 2018

I have married into a joint family. We are 13 members in all out of which 6 of them are elderly. My grandmother-in-law is the senior most person in our house. The rest of us are in our 20s and 30s. My grandmother-in-law stays with us on the ground floor.

My mother-in-law is a very nice lady. She handles everything and keeps the family together.

But she expects me to do all the household chores. Initially, this created a lot of issues. But now she has realized that beyond a certain limit she cannot push things with me.

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I just do whatever I can and leave it at that. I do my best to adjust too but there are certain things that I cannot and will not accept.

Though I am working, my salary is much lower than my husband’s and brother-in-law’s salary. Yet my mother-in-law asks me for money and often also asks me to pay the bills.

I told her that if she has issues asking her sons for money I could do so for her.

But she asks me not to do this. I don’t mind paying the bills because I know it is my family too.

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But why can’t she ask her son to be more responsible too?

She keeps saying, “Tujse nahi bolungi to kisko bolungi?” When it comes to paying the bills she considers me as a part of the family. But recently a family member bought two burgers for the family. When I asked her who they were for – she said that one was for the elder brother and the other one was for the younger brother. When one of them refused to eat it, she asked me if I wanted to eat it!

I appreciate the fact that she cooks my favourite food for me sometimes. She also doesn’t object when I eat with her son. But that does not change the other things that she does every now and then. It is at such times that I feel that I am a ‘bahu’ here – not a ‘beti’ or a ‘beta’.

I fail to understand one thing. Jin bachho ko aapne 25 – 30 sal se pala aur ab bhi paalte ho unse ap kuch bol nahi sakti par ek ladki jo 4 saal pahele aapke ghar aaye usko aap sab kuch suna sakte ho – bura bhala sab – aur usi se aap sab expect karte ho.”

I belong to a nuclear family and I have seen my father helping my mother in the kitchen, washing clothes etc.

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She has not taught her sons to even wash their own underwear. Yet she expects me to cook like a pro. She wants me to handle all the domestic challenges with élan.

My brother in law is of my age. She thinks he is not responsible enough to go to the market and buy a loaf of bread. But she expects me to be responsible enough to take care of my husband, the entire family and understand all the nuances of the family properly and quickly.

She will then say, “Tere pati ko tujhe sambhalne ko de diya. Chote ki bhi shaadi ho jaayegi to uski biwi use sambhalege. To main shanthi se baith jaungi.”

I get irritated to the core when I have to deal with this kind of thinking.

If my husband does not call his sister on her birthday it is OK but if I do the same thing she will taunt me. Why?

Her sons are not even providing any kind of financial security to the family. That is fine by her. But she doesn’t want me to take a break for even a month or two from my job.

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If the bahu does not give them a cup of tea in the morning then she is not a good bahu. Her son gorges on butter instead of eating vegetables. And when I ask him not to do this she tells me that I am not letting him eat properly. But later on, when he gets an infection in his stomach and falls sick too it is my fault because I am not taking care of his nutrition. 

My husband and I work in the same office. So she says that I should give him an apple or a fruit every day. She says he will eat it if it is cut and peeled properly.

I am paid for the work that I do in my office. I am not paid to appease the hunger pangs of her 32-year-old son.

It is the women who do all the work around the house. Yet we are not given any kind of priority in the family. She thinks that just because I am married I have to do all the things that I have never done in the past 25 years of my life.

Yet it is perfectly fine if her son remains lazy and irresponsible for his whole life just because he is a man.

If something bad happens in her son’s life, then I am responsible for it. As his wife she wants me to ensure that her son eats and sleeps on time. She wants me to ensure that all his clothes are washed and pressed on time. Even his socks, underwear and hankies should be pressed.

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I just want her to understand that maybe she feels happy when she leads this kind of a life. But that does not mean that I too will feel happy when I do the same things that she has been doing so far.

 She believes that a husband should be revered. Whether he shoulders the responsibilities of the house or not is a different matter. She thinks I too should follow the same thinking pattern.

She has cast aside her dreams and wishes to make the family happy. That does not mean I too will do the same. I have my own wishes and I will not ignore them because I know I am fulfilling all my responsibilities to the best of my ability.

I get extremely annoyed when she forces me to live my life the way she is leading her life. I am an independent responsible lady. I am not a babysitter for her 32-year-old son. And the best part of it is that I babysit her son and pay her for it.

Editor's Note:

Why do we foist our expectations and thinking patterns on others? We may have moulded our thoughts and reoriented our lifestyles to strike that happy balance in our marital lives. We may have clipped our dreams and given up our passions because we preferred nurturing the peace within the family. But what works for us will not always work for others. Let’s share this story and be magnanimous enough to allow our other family members to lead their lives their way.