This is a comment by Ananya in response to the discussion on the previous post – “Just earning a degree does not mean she is superior to my mom who does not have a degree and does not work in some software company serving yankee clients.“
THE PREVIOUS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED ON REQUEST FROM MR SRAVAN KUMAR (not his real name).
I am aware that Ananya (and many others) genuinely believe what is stated in the previous post, this was her comment.
My response is red.
So far I wrote as a sister in Iaw in a similar situation (to the Brother in law in the last post). I am revealing another side of me – a DIL and a young assistant professor of Chemistry, married to another professor of Chemistry.
I tell you what, this guy has had the guts to take on 4000+ people like you on some public forum, so he cannot be prejudiced,* IMHO. It’s possible he’d have had such bitter experiences with his SIL in his family that someone can write so much publicly.
Somehow, I really admire his courage. And despite the thrashings he has received, I admire him, but somehow, he is a little boyish to say all that in public 🙂 … bravo, little boy 🙂
You see, cleaning baby’s bums by dad is ok if it’s an one time thing, but I can never dump a mother’s role on my husband that too in front of his brother.
(Why not? Why shouldn’t the father care for his own child because an outsider feels it’s not right? In a healthy society, everybody should be able to do what they find fulfilling, so long as they are not hurting anybody. Here the brother in law’s interference might pressurize this happy family to move out to a Nuclear set up.)
And yes, I will not hang up my thalli in the name of modernity, if the family customs demand I do not do it. Doing so is imposing my will on others and hurting an entire family.
(Such restrictions are damaging ‘Indian family values’.DILs are are finding it more peaceful to live in Nuclear Family, even if there is more work and less money, because they seem to prefer peace of mind. Some DILs find they have no choice but to take off the thaali the moment they are out of their (in laws’) homes. Customs are created for us, we are not created for customs. A symbol is of no use unless it is worn out of choice.)
I would rather play by the new rules and EARN the respect rather than DEMAND/BEG for respect.
(What about your respect for them? Don’t they care if YOU respect them or not? Do they demand or beg you for your respect? Or is your respect not worth having?
Also, if somebody gives you respect only because you do what they want you to do, that is not respect, that’s control.Can you respect someone who threatens to withhold respect unless you do as you are told? )
I am a new DIL and I have a great rapport with my MIL and co., because I was willing to LISTEN and make the necessary changes in the beginning. I showed IN ACTIONS that I respected them. I reap the rewards now.
I Understand and acknowledge the fact that their home is radically different from mine. They are way way wayyyyy too orthodox than my own home. So what? I made it clear that I am learning. When they scold me, I took it as if my parents were chiding me.
(Thousands of women before you have tried this for centuries. Why has obedience and servility not made it easier for women to live with their spouse’s families?
Until recently it was taken for granted that a woman would leave her home and move in with her spouse’s family and then do as she is told, in the name of adjustment. It is not possible to be truly at peace or happy, when you are constantly trying to be what someone else thinks you should be. Indian women today are the most stressed in the world. What’s worst is, these efforts are not appreciated, they are taken for granted as can be seen from this post.
It’s common for in laws to expect a young bride to love them more than her own parents, in return they would respect/care/love her if she does as she is told. Like in this case, many families see not taking dowry a a favor to the SIL.
And yet there are families where women can be like other family members, joke with their in laws, wear whatever they are comfortable wearing, nobody is superior or inferior and everybody’s personal space is respected.
Many women find that they are happier if they can live in a Nuclear family, this is sometimes not respected. In the past women had no choice, they were kept in dependence so that they could be forced to stay with the in laws (this BIL suggested the same thing) Now that DILs have a choice, they do move out. What makes the in laws want daughters in law to stay with them when they are not able to accept her ways? Why do you think does this BIL want the SIL to stay with them?
In a family, we are interdependent. There will be no autonomy in a family setup.
Interdependence should not be forced. The general attempt is to keep the DIL in dependence and she is the lowest in the hierarchy. Sometimes if she is not dependent and has the option of walking out, say she has supportive husband or parents or if she has an income of her own, then we see reactions like the BIL’s in this post.
My husband is elder to me, and I respect that. I value my duties as a mother and a wife more than my career.
What if a woman realises that she and her husband can both have fulfilling careers and happy families if they both contribute an support each other? If they become more like partners less like a ward and a guardian?
Because of that smooth and initially submissive relationship, My husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career as an assistant professor.
Why such deviousness to make someone do your share of work? Why won’t you do your chores yourself, or hire help, or request them honestly to help you?
Also consider, what chores are your chores? Making coffee for them is your chore? Washing their clothes is your chore? Coking for the entire family is your chore? Changing baby’s nappy is your chore alone? Why?
My co-sister who also happens to be in the teaching field does not have their support, as she has not tried to understand their side. I have tried to talk to her, but she does not listen, so I stopped!
This should not be an ego clash.
So she does not receive any support from the family? How does living with the family benefit her? How does it benefit the family?
And a husband is entitled to be my leader (not dictator) and there is nothing wrong in me being the obedient and submissive wife. he respects my views and implements them when they are good.
Do you mean all husbands should be leaders? That is not a very realistic expectation. Many men would like to be life-partners and friends, to be able to enjoy their partner’s company without constantly needing to prove they always know better (as leaders).
In fact, most men who would demand to be leaders would be like this BIL, whiny, petulant and very immature. Demanding leadership is in itself a sign of insecurity. And what kind of life would an intelligent woman live trying to convince an immature man that he is her ‘leader’? What if she starts earning more than him? Or if she is not afraid of the dark while he is? Or if she drives, negotiates, packs etc more efficiently than he does?
I respect his masculinity and he respects my femininity.
Respecting each other the way you are is a healthier thing to do. Would you disrespect him if he makes excellent coffee? Or if he is afraid of cockroaches, if he shows his emotions, say, is nervous or afraid, or cries when he is upset? Or would be stop respecting you if you can drive a car?
My co-sister does all that this SIL of Shree. Srawan Kumar does and more. now, who is at loss?
She or me? I am happy, I am content, I am respected, I am valued and I am cherished – I have not lost my life. Same family, same MIL, my co-sister does not get all I have. And her husband is a perfect gentleman, like my husband (they were twins). But she treats him much the same way Mr. Srawan Kumar describes.
Are you suggesting she should start wearing her mangal sutra, breastfeeding her baby, changing baby’s diaper, standing up when her father in law passes by – and start treating her husband as her ‘leader’? But why would she do that? Who does that benefit?
There is nothing wrong whatsoever in being quiet initially, learning the ways of a new home – 10 people to change completely for me is unreasonable. They have made subtle accommodations, that’s the best they can do.
I think the only thing they need to do is to consider seriously if they have the maturity and tolerance to live with a new member joining their family, if yes, then they must welcome her and make an effort to get to know her. Her personal habits should never become their business. They must respect the fact that she has
agreed chosen to live with them, although she has the choice of living in a nuclear family. It’s unethical, inhuman and criminal to attempt to create circumstances that take that choice away from her. Insecurities do not build healthy relationships.
I do remember, we will be MILs tomorrow!
Wasn’t this post about a Brother in law wanting to be a leader to his wife?