If you are a married woman, you know what it feels like to have a mother-in-law. Whether in India or abroad, without a doubt, most women despise the saas-bahu (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) relationship. But why?
- It takes effort on both the sides to strike a balance.
- Try being in the other person's shoes to get a little perspective.
- No one is a bad person, only bad situations.
Everything usually goes well in the household until the day the son brings his wife into the house. No sooner than later all sorts of cold disputes start occurring between the mother and daughter-in-law. And this is not just the story of one house, but mostly every house. This is especially true in case the daughter-in-law has to live with her husband’s parents.
It goes without saying that when this relationship is strained, nothing goes well in the family. It often comes down to whose side the husband should take. And whether he sides with his wife or his mother, either ways there ought to be disputes, albeit colder ones.
What happens is, in most cases, both the saas-bahu forget to see the perspective from the other side. Which is often the reason why both of them become each other’s arch nemesis.
But when I say that this relationship wasn’t meant to be that way, I mean it. Now let’s take a deeper look into why, everywhere in the world, this relationship is so fragile.
First off, call it insecurity but it is there in the minds of both the MIL and DIL. Mother-in-law knows that although her relationship with her son will be affected now that he has another woman in his life. She clearly does not want to lose the importance she once had whether in her son’s life or in the household.
As for the daughter-in-law, being the better half of her husband, she expects her MIL to not want what she wants him to do anymore. That her MIL should advise her son to consult with his wife as well on important matters. But when that doesn’t happen, the obvious happens.
Another thing to be considered is that it is somehow ingrained in our society for the daughter-in-law to treat the mother-in-law in a certain way. If that, in any way, is not achieved then the DIL is considered to be disrespectful towards her MIL.
Similarly, when a woman gets married, there is a certain level of expectation from her MIL that she brings with her. She expects her to treat her in a certain way, maybe the way she treats her daughter. But, in most cases, things are different for a daughter and a daughter-in-law.
One thing that is to be kept in mind is that everyone is raised differently. A mother-in-law raised her son in a different manner than her daughter-in-law was in her own house by her parents. So expecting things to be the same after marriage is absolutely wrong.
For the daughters-in-law, you should accept your MIL for the way she is. Do not try to change her according to your expectations. You should respect her for her age and experience if nothing else.
Do not keep yourself closed, rather have the freedom to discuss with her things you would with your own mother. This is where the burden gets taken off. Once you start to accept her as your second mother, things start to fall in place.
Also, never make comparisons. Comparisons are next to evil and destroy relationships sooner than anything else. Your parents have a different place in your heart. Make a separate place for your in-laws as well. Do not compare one with the other. Enjoy the difference and embrace the change rather than sulk about it.
As for the mothers-in-law, try to love your daughter-in-law as your own daughter. She holds a special place in your son’s life. It would mean a lot to your son if you got rid of the differences and accepted your daughter-in-law for who she is.
Do not expect her to measure up to you because it takes age and experience to be as good as you in everything.
If you want to criticize her, do it in a manner that doesn’t offend her. And just because your son has started behaving in a certain way now or saying certain things that he earlier did not, does not mean that your daughter-in-law is making him do that. Give more credit to your son for have an individual perspective on things.
In the end, I would just say that it takes two to tango, even positively. Efforts are required from both the ends to make this relationship less strained.