Palak was thirteen when once she had asked her mother,” Mumma I heard you talk about a monster in our house the other day to Sunita aunty. Which monster were you talking about? I don’t see any monster in our house”. Palak’s mother reverberated in laughter, kneeling down to her daughter, she held her by the arms and spoke softly into her ears,” There is no such monster you see in cartoons in our house. This is a secret. I was talking about your grand mom.” Palak spent the rest of the day trying to figure out which of the monster in the films does her grandma resemble to.
It’s been fifteen years and today when she remembers about that day, she knows well which monster her mother was talking about. Because she has one her in her house too. Yes, you are right. Palak is married and deals with a big monster herself.
Mother-in-law’s have been, by far the most interesting topic for all the daughter-in-law’s, especially in our Bharatiya Samaj. And why shouldn’t they be? Mother-in-law’s portray themselves as the most unique humans with the most peculiar ideas and notions about the simplest of things.
The recently turned MIL’s often find it difficult to accept the fact that their son is now married and he has another woman in his life. The same is the feeling of the newlywed bride. She finds it comfortable to talk to her husband about the simplest of things and wish he is around her while she reads and abide by the new rule book as written by her mother-in-law. The MIL should be supportive and make the daughter-in-law feel at home. Instead she starts with the first showers of her drama and emotional blackmail. Time and again, she reminds her son that he has changed and forgotten his mother. He no longer is her old lovely son whom she was proud of. These scenes create tension and affects the relationship between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law at the initial stages itself.
Mother-in-law is a very sharp being with intelligence beyond the daughter-in-law’s comprehension. The statements she made while getting her son married that she will keep the girl like her daughter suddenly makes no sense to her and losses all meaning. She will still want things to go on the way they were since the time she had stepped into the house, the house which now belongs solely to the MIL.
Not all the ‘bash’s” would agree with the above. Only those who have experienced exactly the same situations or something similar would nod their heads in agreement. Not all MIL’s are unsupportive and not understanding. . This trend was more prevalent in the olden days. If science and technology has undergone huge changes, then mother-in-law have definitely undergone significant changes. A mother-in-law is herself a daughter and above all someone’s daughter-in-law as well. So she can very well understand the position of her daughter-in-law.
MIL’s too have the “cool dude” tags associated with them today. They are educated, understanding and supportive too. Mother-in-law’s, for a fact know that their happiness lies within the happiness of her children. And that is why they have given freedom to their son and daughter-in-law to live and enjoy life according to what they think is right. They no longer interfere in the personal matters of the son and daughter-in-law.
The blunt conventional concepts of the daughter-in-law doing all the household chores has had a great deal of modification and innovation. Today, the daughter-in-law is allowed to work, both from home as well as to go the office. While MIL’s are happy and willingly take up the responsibility to baby-sit her grandchildren when the mother is away, busy at work. Also, a lot of mother-in-laws do not believe in her daughter-in-law giving birth to a boy baby. Whether it is a girl or a boy, all grandchildren are dear to their grandmothers. This extra torture that daughter-in-law’s were only meant to bring the heir of the family into this world in the form of a boy baby , is given very less importance and the daughter-in-law is not made to realize that she is of no use if she is unable to give birth to a boy child.
Most of MIL’s are modern day moms and can be spotted shopping and spending quality time with their daughter-in-law’s. There are very few restrictions put on the daughter-in-law in terms of what she can wear and what she cannot. MIL’s are themselves fashion freaks and appreciate that their daughter-in-law follows the latest fashion trends. Some of them support the daughter-in-law in following her following her passion for dance, music, painting, cooking, etc even after marriage. Finally, the mother-in-law is proud of her daughter-in-law and admits it whole-heartedly in front of other family members and in the society.
On a closing note, mother-in-law is named “monster-in-law” not because they are monsters with super unnatural powers, only because they fail to understand the importance and the identity that a daughter-in-law has. It is generally illiteracy, miscommunication, societal pressure and norms that results in mother-in-law’s always wanting to occupy the dominant position.
As the society is changing, a considerable amount of change is evidently seen and fortunately or unfortunately, very few Mother-in-law’s are named Monster-in-law’s. This should be left to the daughter-in-law to answer.