“A lesson for mothers-in-law”- 2 November 2011

Today’s generation wants freedom- freedom to live their lives as they perceive it and as they want it. To exaggerate a little, they want it totally their way. This developing attitude makes the new generation unfit for living in a joint family set up. Nuclear families are the growing norm as each wants their own way. As the new generation brings in rapid changes in thought and life style the older generation find itself quite confused, lost and at cross-roads. They do not know how to comprehend the new patterns of behaviour and nor do they know what path to chose with their children. Whether they should leave the children totally free to lead their own lives and lifestyles or they should keep guiding them and protecting them.

What would you tell your son if he decides to marry a girl of another caste and religion in a court of law? How would you react if your son and his wife decide to celebrate ‘Diwali’ by flying off to an island instead of lighting lamps at home and praying to Godess Laxmi? What would you do if it pains you to see your son being introduced to non-vegetarian food by his wife?

These are just a few examples only to kindle your memory of your past experiences and your imagination of the type of dilemma’s parents can face on a day to day basis with children. They seem to be simple situations but try dealing with it and experience the trauma. The trauma comes when you will hear that whatever you say and do as a mother-in-law will be taken as a ‘domination’ and a desire to ‘control’. Today’s youth has an attitude of ‘let me decide’. ‘I’ll see what I want to do’. The sharing and caring behaviour is becoming outdated. Discussing an issue and taking a joint decision is becoming a thing of the past.

Asking questions about their (youngsters) lives can be taken as ‘being nosey and interfering’.  Giving suggestions about behaviour could be misconstrued as ‘always telling them what to do’. Life is really difficult today. Each individual has become like an island and self-centred. ‘Me, myself and my life’ is becoming the norm with the youth. That’s what I heard Salman Khan state with pride somewhere on some channel on TV! Also when Kareena Kapoor says in ‘Jab we Met’ that ‘I am my favourite person’, it clinches the mood of the generation. Self-centred and self obsessed. The all- important self and the over-confidence about their abilities to live life their way is evident.

If this is the upcoming trend in society as a whole, a daughter-in-law (DIL) is certainly no exception. Why should we blame her really is a question to ponder. A new bride with stars in her eyes and love in her heart is all set to take control over her husbands’ head heart and stomach! If she is a full time housewife the house and the most important all time functioning kitchen is her domain. She loves to take control of her darling through this domain. She wants no interference here by anyone least of all by the mother-in-law (MIL)! If she is a working woman she might appreciate the help the mother in law can give but she would like to be the undisputed boss! No way can the mother in law dictate, she can only follow the rules.

That hurts her deeply. Truly. She feels sidelined and like a captive in her son’s house. Like a slave at times. Maybe she has made a terrible mistake of thinking of her son’s house as her own house. What trauma!

I have heard many mothers-in-law state bluntly with grief and anguish that today’s ‘bahu’  does not want any interference by the mother-in-law. For a tradition bound society like ours it is a difficult proposition for many a woman. But it only means that its’ time to change with the times. Your house is yours and yours sons house is your son’s. One fine lady said it very simply and beautifully “just as you send your daughter away to her in laws home, you must send away your son too to his home”!

It sounds simpler than it is. Try it and practice it if you must have a happy future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *