Those of you who feel that I tend to be repetitive remember that I AM AGEING!!
I keep worrying about the kind of mother in law I’d make. Oh, yes I am already mother in law to two fine young men but mother in lawing a daughter in law would be different or so I am led to believe. Long back my mother’s friend told her in my presence that it was easy to deal with a son in law. The retired husband could be at his service, talk about politics and other such stuff while all one needed to do was to supply regular doses of coffee speak of a few sentences from behind the curtain and depute the daughter to take care of things. She of course talks of the 1960’s scenario. Things have changed now to the extent that we MILs do not address the sons in law from behind curtains and doors but we still cannot take things for granted the way one can with a daughter in law.
‘Really??’ I can almost hear my daughter number one ask. ‘High hopes mummy!’
I suppose the ‘Tu, tu, main, main’ of Sachin’s brilliant tele - serial is meant to be laughed off and forgotten. I loved the serial and adored the MIL – DIL duo. I truly wish to have a DIL like her to make life spicy. I promise to add more spice to it. Okay, okay I’ll try to do my best. So here are some of my specifications-
My daughter in law should be a third daughter to me. She has my permission to gang up with my daughters to pull my legs and tease me to death if she wants to. I wouldn’t be able to deal with too much politeness and formality. I am just not used to it.
She can feel free to cook any kind of exotic dishes as long as they are vegetarian. I am game to all forms of trial and error being tried out in my kitchen. My own mother in law was an excellent house - keeper and cook. I learnt a lot from her and now I plan to learn more from my daughter in law too. So dear unknown daughter in law - simply go ahead you have my support!
I’d love it if my DIL loved books. We could have lively discussions on the plot and characters. And hopefully she’d be sensitive to social issues. I have a group of friends who are just that.
I would feel very uncomfortable if I got a decked up doll for a daughter in law. The kind that keep worrying about make up and matching accessories. She’d be equally disappointed with my casual dress sense. We may end up complaining to our respective husbands who would not know how to deal with the situation and support the wrong person. I can bet on the fact that my husband would do just that and it is quite possible that my son would take after him. It was a mutual agreement with my own MIL that we’d pull out each other’s hair if need be, but never involve our husbands.
But wait; are not these liberties the priority of a daughter? So I suppose that I am actually looking out for a daughter in my daughter in law and hope that she tries to see her mother in me.
Okay that was meant to be funny. A look around me tells a different tale. I see quite a few daughters in law who has become part of the family they married into and the affection they shower on their parents in law is often extended to me. Not all of them are part of a joint family but I can see that a bond has been struck and the comfort level in the relationship is good. Money, or the lack of it, hardly seems to matter. In fact I have often seen that a certain amount of interdependence actually helps people bond.
There are other families where the daughter in law has been married for 30 years but is yet to consider her mother in law an important member of the family. A lady I know is financially sound and in reasonably good health. She is well read and at the age of 80 she passes her time reading the day’s newspaper and solving cross - word puzzles. She is mild mannered and cannot harm a fly let alone other fellow human beings. Her only fault is perhaps the fact that she is far too self respecting and insists on paying a fixed amount every month for her upkeep. She feels that since she is in a position to pay she would not want to burden her children. Is it any wonder that she is treated like a tenant in their homes? Not wanting to burden the children is fine but I do feel that one does not have to carry it too far. One can always camouflage the amount as a gift on a special occasion or a surprise holiday package for the son and his family or some such thing. My own parent in law had exhausted their financial resources even before I entered the scene. But it was clear from day one that they headed the family and we were expected to take over. Even before I realized it I became one among them and once I started working my father in law’s presence in the house was actually a boon. He took care of practically everything including the children’s homework and the launderer’s account. A certain amount of interdependence as well as the will to bond is perhaps required for any relationship to thrive.
There can however be no generalization in the matter. Each case is different and every equation is unique and it is only the persons concerned that have work on whatever is best for them. There is no magic formula that can be safely applied to all