Indian Society Daughter Marriage open letter mother-in-law daughter-in-law patriarchy orthodoxy

Dear Mother-In-Law, I Want Your Son To Be My Husband Too: I Left My World For Him

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

Dear Mother-in-law,

When I came to 'your' house, I assumed that this is my house too from now on. I thought that everyone in your family has accepted me truly. Of course I knew that I will have to adjust with you all as per your choice and preferences. My friends gave me tips on how to win your heart.

My then boyfriend and now husband, made me believe that you are a gem of a person. With all this, my family also assured me that with me, even you all will adjust your lifestyles to make me feel at home and welcomed.

You have been a good mother-in-law and I have no doubts in that. But I could never see my 'Mother' in you. There has always been this 'in-law' thingy as a thin wall in our relationship. I started helping you in household chores. I remember the very first day when you didn't tell me how many chapatis to make and later complained that I made less number of chapatis. I got up early morning to ensure that I was doing my share of work at home. But you always complained that I am not doing the task your way or how my procedure for making food was different and incorrect.

In fact on one fine day, you told me to forget the way my mom had taught me things, that too in front of our maid. I agree that my way of living or working is different but it is not incorrect for sure.

When you got married, you were just two of you (your husband and you). I am sure even you would have learnt things with time. There would have been days when you mistakenly put extra spices in the curry or less salt in the sabzi. But still you were not told to 'stop cooking' as you were unable to please everyone. Even you got many chances and thus you became the perfectionist you are today.

Like your son, even I concentrated on my studies and career only, before getting married. Even though I am 'trained enough' to complete all the household chores, I agree, that I am unable to match your speed and your perfection. Please let me have my time and chance to please you and 'your' family. 

You always tell me about the jobs of men and women based on your gender norms. Since day one, you have been trying to teach me how the men of the house (including my younger brother-in-law) should be treated with respect and utmost importance. I got long lectures when I asked my husband to get the lunch served for himself or the powerful stares I got for letting him pick up his own used plate. 

However, today I want to ask you that what makes a man more important than a woman? Is it because men go out of house to earn? Or is it because they are stronger physically? Or may be they are going to be your 'Budhhape ka Sahara'. Well let me tell you that I also earn and that too as much as your son does. With my professional life, I also try my best to do all the household work by waking up before everyone in the morning and by working and cleaning the kitchen till late night. Still I don't deserve some extra sleep even on a chhutti.

Coming to physical strength, minimum sleeping hours and maximum work time also requires a lot of physical strength (no sick leaves or rest time given here). Now about your 'Budhhape ka Sahara'. Well that would be a joint task for both of us. Of course your son alone cannot give you a happy second inning. Your daughter-in-law is required there too.

I believe that everyone should help each other when it come either to the household work or the earning and spending part. If I can go out and work to support my husband financially, he too can help in cooking or cleaning the house. This is his house too and doing his things on his own would only make him self-sufficient.

I don't want my husband to depend upon me for his daily chores just to boost my ego and feel important or to give him that fake respect based on gender. I love and respect him for the person he is, not because of his gender.

I understand that you might find this difficult to accept my presence as another important lady in your dear son's life. But you will have to agree that he is my husband as well now.

Yes, he has to play both these roles. I am definitely not here to take away your son from you. But I surely want my husband or your son as I did leave my whole world behind just for his love and company for the rest of my life. 

So let me have my moments, my decisions, my choices and my chances too in my new house. Trust me your daughter-in-law is an educated, mature and an independent woman, who knows it too.


Your dying-to-be-loved Daughter-in-law.

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