“How can you eat without taking a shower? With boys, it’s a different matter.”

Sharing an email.
How do you think would women react to such comments from anybody other than the spouse’s parents? Why is it difficult to react the same way with the spouse’s parents?

My weekly off from work falls on Monday. For two years into the marriage, my habit was to finish with a bit of cleaning and scrubbing around the house in the morning, wash clothes, take a bath and then eat my breakfast. My hubby, in the meanwhile, used to eat cornflakes with milk and leave for office.

Last Monday, however, I chose to eat first and then do the cleaning stuff. I quickly made Uttampam with the left-over batter of last night and I and my hubby sat down to eat. The in-laws fast on this day and hence I am saved the job to cook for them on this day. And only on this day.

The unthinkable then happened: Out came my MIL from her room, red-faced. “How can you eat without taking a shower? With boys, it’s a different matter.” I did not say one word, and continued eating. But imagine being lambasted thus in the middle of a meal!

Now, I know the initial reactions:

  1. You were a fool to agree to live with such conservative in-laws. (How would I know a Political Science post-grad and wife of a professor would turn out to be like this?)
  2. Leave the bitch! (Is it really that easy?)
  3. Talk it out with her with a cool mind. (I am angry and hurt and annoyed. How can I?)
  4. Answer her back! (She cries, an issue of it is made, and I end up with more stress. What can you possibly explain to such a person?)
  5. Ignore and do your stuff. (That’s what I tried to do. But you can hardly ignore such things. They haunt you in your head.)

How does one deal with this, really?

Related Posts:

The invisible family member in the saas-bahu post.

It’s not about hot hot chappaties.

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

Kyonkee Husbands bhi kabhi Sons the.

No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

Joint Family and Indian Daughters

In-Law Advice: What Husbands Should Do – Unmana

How to be a Sanskari Bahu – Careless Chronicles


139 thoughts on ““How can you eat without taking a shower? With boys, it’s a different matter.”

  1. Total BS ,
    About Back Answering : One of my stupid Colleague said I will marry a girl from village or small town my own community otherwise she will be like city working girls who back answers holy experiencied elderly lady – MIL(mind it he had the audacity to say that in front of a whole group of women + men , everyone was ok also with his comment whereas I just snubbed him, ok all thought I am a usual mad feminist , who cannot take “simple” things in my stride)

    Story after his marriage : The Village girl knew very well how to handle her , Directly answered her , did what she liked , all in name of Arranged marriage chosen by MIL , MIL cribbed “secretly” outside home everywhere … Ha ha ha… I loved that girl .I think Girls in Villages have learnt how to handle nonsense.


    • This whole business of ‘answering back’ sounds so ridiculous to me. Of course someone’s going to reply when asked a question! I wonder what this particular MIL thought her DIL was going to say when she asked ‘How can you eat…?’ Hello! That’s a question. Why would she even phrase it that way if she didn’t want an answer?

      The village girl in that story sounds great! I think it’s how someone’s been raised–if you raise a girl to be a doormat, she’s going to feel guilty for asserting herself.


    • My aunt was very proud of having found a “simple” girl for her son. Turned out the “simple” girl was not so simple, just a normal human being with her own views about how to live her life. My aunt now has to grapple with her own simplistic views on ‘simple’ girls.


      • My brother had an arranged marriage recently to a ‘simple’ and ‘homely’ girl from a village. Despite having me , an extremely vocal rebel, for a daughter, whos divorce they supported , I dont know how they still managed to have the sky high desi bahu type expectations from my sis in law. Serious double standards.

        The girl , as it turned has not only desires and wishes of her own, but is not afraid to voice them and stand up for them. They live with my parents, and clashes are routine. Unrealistic expectations from my mother are mostly to blame. After endless counselling by me , and lots of drama with my brother , she finally seems to be coming around, I think.


    • My mum did this too, but in small, insidious ways. 😀 It was great. The first afternoon she spent after being married, my grandma was calling for help with the dishes. My mum was lying down and she turned to my father and asked, “Don’t you know how to do the dishes? Go help her!” My father was so shocked, he didn’t know what to do, so he stood up and went to help my grandma with the dishes. Something he had never done, even before he was married.


        • Well, if you are a home maker, its your damn duty to take care of the house. Which means, you have to cook, clean and not expect your spouse to take a part of your job just as the spouse doesn’t expect you to do their office work.


      • i don’t understand this… If you are a home maker, its your damn duty to take care of the house. Which means, you have to cook, clean and not expect your spouse to take a part of your job just as the spouse doesn’t expect you to do their office work.


        • 1. There is a difference between 8 hr job and 18 hr job.
          2. Additionally the guy must be getting a weekly off.
          3. The lady is doing all the job by occasionally bending some “RULES”, like eating before shower(how does that matter ???) and this should not cause a big issue.
          4. She is not expected to go to office but when ever the guy would have a bad day in office OR made some excuse for not going to office OR complained how frustating his BOSS is about the documentation rules .. she is always there to listen and support him.. At home she has some some different BOSS .. so the guy shd also support her.


  2. One option missing: Set boundaries. Yes, it is hard the first few times. And then they won’t try. There will be snide remarks, there will also be a life, some space. Good girl is highly overrated, one life to live for everyone!

    True for every relationship in life too. Every one needs boundaries, us included. The issue is setting it for ourselves, by ourselves. We are worth it.


  3. I also used to ignore such comments from family as well as outsiders. However, I have now started stating my point if view, very matter of factly. I think it has something to do with the birth of my daughter and the fact that I will not take the chance of her getting the wrong things in her head.. And know what? I feel much better about myself now 🙂


  4. ah well, this is not a generalized issue and your MIL is not generally is at fault. Its the way she has been brought up and the way she has lived her entire life. Is she willing to accommodate new changes, only time can tell but judging my the post, I think she is (considering she did not press the issue). As far as eating before taking a bath is concerned I have to listen a big lecture from my mother about doing that and on weekends.


      • Also, It’s about some family members attempting to bully or rag other family members, and some other members enabling the ganging up against the new comer by expecting (tacitly) ‘respect’ which can only be expressed through obedience and at the least tolerance of verbal abuse.


      • Agreed–I do think it’s too soon to tell whether the MIL is just a sweet old lady who’s slightly senile and set in her ways or a heinous, controlling witch (or somewhere in between). But ultimately, there’s a massive double standard for the son versus his wife.


      • @thewaterspirit
        Thank you, you hit the nail on the head. The problem isn’t the rule itself, it’s the fact that the rule changes with gender.
        My grandmother’s home also only serves breakfast those those who have bathed-perhaps an outdated idea-but the crucial difference is that it’s applied to everyone- young,old,male,female.


        • but at least ,the rule is same with every one.At my in laws place,this rule is applicable to the ladies and not on my husband.


    • I think the issue is both the rule and the double standard. Even grown men being micromanaged as if they are children is oppressive. The double standard is more irritating.

      I also think she did “make a scene”. She emerged “red-faced” and I’m sure this is not going to be the one and only time it happens.


  5. The OP laid the groundwork for the disrespect that she’s receiving by accepting the non-egalitarian division of labour that she describes in the first part of the email. Clearly, she slogs while the rest of the family sits around, and then she’s surprised when she’s rebuked as if she were a maid or an errant child instead of a valued adult family member?

    As I said in a previous post, it’s time for a marriage strike. Instead of getting into crappy situations and then having to struggle hard to extricate yourself from them, simply stop handing over your time, your attention, your affection, your domestic labour, your childbearing capacity, your paycheck, and your parent’s wealth in the form of dowry, to jerks who take and take and give nothing in return. If educated Indian women, en masse, refused to marry into families that disrespect them, things would have to change perforce.


    • I love your theory of a marriage strike. Wish there was a society of such women. Not for unhappy married ones to cling on to, but to just..help. I suggested something like to this to my rebelling married friends


    • Agreed. That would be the way of natural selection. As long as we keep marrying and breeding with people that discriminate against us (or arrange marriages to such people for our daughters), there is no reason for them to stop.


    • It’s astonishing how many women think they would be respected by others after they disrespect themselves by leaving their homes for their husband’s, changing their names, undertake the cooking and cleaning for everyone even if they are working, etc. You need to respect yourself first before you can expect others to.

      And Priya, I’ve been on a marriage strike for the past 5.5 years. 😀 Not having a partner is wayyyy better than being married to someone who isn’t a partner at all. I demand COMPLETE equality, and if no man is willing to accept that, then I’m happy to be single. In fact, I’m quite happy and comfortable being single anyway.

      I’ve also heard this weird idea that men don’t know any better and if we tell them how we feel, then they might change but I don’t want to babysit my life partner. It’s not my job to teach him that I am a human being.


  6. It’s just astonishing how so many educated couples continue to live with their parents/in-laws. The root cause of 99% of the issues is this living together. I know it’s a nice way to save money, but seriously, stop with the stinginess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is nothing wrong in living with family the problem is with desis learning personal boundaries. Even in the US given the economic times of today young adults and even married couples are moving back with their parents, there is little resistance and power struggle but spousal boundaries are clearly marked what parents in the house can tell and ask adult children to do with their personal lives. There is a whole generation called sandwich generation that is not only caring for aging parents but are also parenting teens at the same time in these economic times.
      Desi Girl


      • I am not sure what part of the States you are from, but as far as I’ve seen, it’s still a very undesirable state of affairs to be living with your parents as adults, and is done only in excruciating financial circumstances.


      • No I am completely against the joint family set up. If it is about taking care of old parents, then WHAT ABOUT THE WIFE’s PARENTS? I support a nuclear family and completely refused to get married into a joint family arrangement because I think both sets of parents must be taken care of. My MIL lives about 5 minutes away. My co-sister stayed in the joint family set up for about 6 months after the marriage. She kicked up a hell of a fuss after she got pregnant and finally managed to move out into a close by apartment. I completely supported her in this. She wanted the freedom to invite her parents to live with her occasionally. MIL and both sons were completely against “interference by DIL’s parents”. MIL wailed that we were breaking up the family, My parents were kept away and I was prevented from going to them for 2 years. It was very, very stressful but I learned that we have to learn to speak up for ourselves. I tried meditation to help me with all the emotional trauma. I told them that they were the ones who were breaking up families, not us. Their version of Indian culture was fake, selfish and twisted just to hurt and use women, their families and small children. We have to be very, very determined if we are stuck in such situations. We both freely invite our parents over now and our children have very close relationships with our families also. We are also very happy to take care of our MIL whenever she needs it. She still hates us though because she thinks we broke up the family. And she hates the fact that we remain close to our families. THE TRADITIONAL JOINT FAMILY SYSTEM DOES NOT SUPPORT FAMILY VALUES. IT TRIES TO BREAK ALL THE RELATIONSHIPS OF THE YOUNG GIRL. It is cruel and inhuman.

        Liked by 1 person

        • @Mol
          True, whatever you have written in caps towards the end of your comment.
          Whenever I come across such stuff, I wonder how it all started in the ‘good’ old times? I mean, its hard to imagine the ancient people of our Mahaan Bharat to be so mean, inconsiderate and nasty as to come up with something like the JointFamilySystem. What made them do that? What psychopathic mindset did our ancestors have? Wasn’t there even a single person in the previous centuries who saw how unfair it was to the DIL and her family ?
          Was there a benign reason behind creating the structure called the JFS, that we missed?
          I am trying to understand the causes, so that somehow I can come to terms with the fact that our ancestors were not just meanies. If anybody has any information on this, or any theories to share, please do.Thanks.


        • @aarti,
          I think it is time to stop assuming that there was a good old time when tradition and superstitions were forged by thinking and genuinely good people. I often wonder why people assume this with such conviction.

          A society which made women during periods to not touch holy things or cook as it gave them the rest. It wasn’t considered dirty and the people who made these rules had infinite wisdom.
          People gave dowry, but it was not demanded. It just showed that they had money and that they loved the daughter.
          Girls and boys were loved equally. Everyone was eating health foods and lived to be atleast a hundred. Women could easily control the life span of the husband as they fasted properly and childbirth was easier as they did manual work. And they wore toe rings that chanelled earth’s energy source and the rest was provided by the Tulasi plant.

          Nice. But this world never existed. Once you accept this theory. The world makes a lot of sense. Believe me.


  7. And how is it a different matter for boys? I wish she had asked her MIL that! :eyeroll:

    Talking of having meals, another thing that I have always found strange is the unwritten rule in many households that women can eat only after the men and boys of the family have. And if by any chance a woman feels hungry and eats before serving to the men of her house, the accusatory glances she is thrown at, ending up in making her feel guilty! I have grown up in a surrounding where such a norm was practiced and to a large extent it was drilled into me as an underlying message that since men are superior, they should be fed first, tended to first, even if it may be perfectly possible that women may be just as hungry too if not more. And this practice, is preached in all the saas-bahu soaps too, I have observed. Where the daughters-in-law would slog it out in the kitchen but when it’s meal time they are not seen sitting with the family members( mostly men and the mother-in-law, but of course) to eat together, instead they are seen serving them. The messages that are conveyed through such shows sometimes make me boil from inside!


    • Oh, you mentioned the saas-bahu soaps! Forced to watch one these days as it clashes with my dinner-with-family time. It’s named Chan-chan. And it’s all about the DIL winning the heart of her bullying, unreasonable, sadistic MIL and bringing about a sea change in her personality. Where are the women organisations?!


      • What are women’s organization suppose to do? Why is it their job to address this and not yours or any offended viewer’s?
        Who pays women’s organizations? They do lots of grassroots work. Please take this armchair activism to challenging media by sending emails to the channel that has such a regressive show and to the director of the soap also to the advertisers because you are a consumer and they value your business. Money speaks challenge to withdraw your business and see what happens.

        One woman’s initiative on facebook has shown us what withdrawing business can make facebook do; pull down offensive pictures and pages.

        Desi Girl


        • @girlsguidetosurvival: That is a good one. I don’t know where this women’s organisation that seems all powerful in the minds of these people is. Do these people have a 8 hour job to view all movies and soaps and then make banners and then shout at offenders? How much is the salary?


  8. Im eager to know if anybody does have an answer to this situation that doesnt require the husband to step in … coz most Indian husbands dont have a backbone when it comes to their parents vs wife situation… for this reason alone I wish marriage vows in India were read in english so the husband understands his duty towards his wife rather than chant some sanskrit slokas and be done with the ceremony!
    i myself was in this situation… first, i tried to ignore.. but it made MIL scream and raise objection to more and more things..
    then i tried telling husband to stand up for me .. but he didnt… he said his mother is set in her ways and that i should accommodate and fall in line and stop being unreasonable..
    then i tried answering directly to MIL.. and that made MIL and husband gang up on me for being ‘disrespectful’
    hoping ppl have answers !


    • There is no easy solution when we have let people walk all over us because we did not know what rights we had in marriage- spousal and other kin alike. Why didn’t we know coz’ all we were fed was sobby soaps, with black and white characters. It didn’t happen over night and won’t change over night.

      The drama will ensue once you decide you are not playing the game or you want the rules changed.
      Talking to your spouse

      Desi Girl


    • Be thankful that the slokas are read in Sanskrit. One sloka that was chanted during my wedding got translated and it meant, I shall take my husband’s permission to step out of the house every time:)
      Trust me I was second guessing my marriage decision not because of my partner but cos of the sloka. Is this wat I am signing up for? Crazy!!!


    • Answer back directly, learn to speak and express yourself strongly and clearly. Make sure that she does not keep you from doing what you feel you should do. Try not to get into unnecessary arguments because they are not going to change overnight and you will only end up becoming emotional and frustrated. Try to keep your responses short and keep doing whatever you like. Keep doing it till they get the message. My co-sister’s father advised her to have a thick skin. Take very good care of yourself. Make something nice just for yourself, take it to your room and relax. Watch a movie, give yourself a massage. Make it a point to enjoy yourself and be happy. Because it will be stressful. That is the problem with these joint family environments. We are isolated from any kind of support and husband/MIL tend to stick together at the end of the day. But don’t worry. You have plenty of strength inside. Don’t doubt it. If you believe in God, go ahead and pray. I spend some time everyday closing my eyes and sorting through all my emotions. If you feel peaceful after some time, just relax, sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Just try it everyday for 10-15 minutes. It really, really helps. I was in a very bad place a few years ago, and this helped me to focus and say and do whatever needed to be done. At first I used to keep a notebook in which I wrote everyday for half an hour all my thoughts and anger and fears. I used to tear up the pages everyday after writing. After that I started spending 15-30 min in the morning just sorting though my emotions, then relaxing and focusing on my breath. For me, this practice helped because I was alone, I was afraid and had no support. The most important thing is to figure out how to make sure that their treatment does not stop you from being happy and saying and doing what you want. And we cannot change anybody unless they want to change. So just figure out what you want to do and go ahead and be happy.


      • I forgot to say that I think you should stay in close touch with supportive family members/friends whether husband/MIL like it or not. Try to meet them often, talk on the phone, chat etc. Otherwise we’ll get depressed in that frustrating environment. If they have issues ask them if the adult son cannot even have a home of his own, then what right does he have to talk about your relationships? First move out, then talk. If you can’t move out, then don’t talk. When my husband used to create a fuss because of my calling my parents “too often”, I just used to turn and ask him, “Have you climbed out of your Mummy’s lap yet? No? Then don’t talk, baby.” Every single time. He threw a fit and his mother threw a fit for some time. Then gradually, they left me alone. I ignored them and now, he is starting to respect me and spend fun time with me though MIL doesn’t like it. Believe me, the feeling of self-respect is worth it.


  9. If someone asked me that, I’d be flabbergasted (probably coz I don’t know the cultural significance behind that and neither of my husband’s parents or their spouses follow these things)–but if it was a move to demean me, I’d probably say (to the question ‘how can you eat….’) “like this” while taking a bite.

    But on a serious note, only you can decide how and when to deal with these situations–and only you can decide which battles are worth fighting and which are worth ignoring or working around. That seems to be the ultimate headache, so to speak, of living in a joint family setting. I would think that perhaps saying, ‘oh I don’t think it’s too different for boys, what’s the big deal anyway’ in a polite voice would make your MIL back off (if she’s a polite individual). If she’s not a polite individual and wants to start a war based on this tiff, than you’ll have to decide what you want to do next.

    I think that if the situation does escalate further, that you can perhaps ask your husband to deal with his parents and let them know that he would prefer that his mother run her suggestions/observations through him first.


  10. Err, there is no magic solution. Speak up, ignore or accept. You have already listed the options. I would have said ‘why is it different for boys? I am equal to any boy and don’t agree with discrimination’. I say such things frequently to anyone who needs to hear it. It’s not an attack on their personal beliefs about ‘boys’, it’s simply stating the fact that I believe in.

    Also, why do you slog in the kitchen and do the cleaning before work while your husband only eats breakfast? Why accept this inequality if you disagree with your MIL’s comment? I agree with Priya’s comment above. In this case, you are accepting different treatment to ‘boys’ so it invites further discrimination based on gender. If I was you would insist, absolutely demand actually, that if I work as many hours as my husband then he must spend as many hours doing housework as me. If he says no, then both should contribute and get a maid. You should not pick up his slack. What exactly can ‘they’ do if you lay down this rule? Refuse to share the housework or pay for the maid? Fine, leave it be. Let everything get dirty and let people go hungry. Respond to emotional blackmail by stating that you are willing to share equally in the housework/ payment to the maid, it is them who aren’t agreeing to do their bit. If they threaten violence, remind them of the law. People always try to push you and see how far you’ll let them. Draw a line and don’t let them cross it.


  11. In my opinion, this is about setting expectations. I’m willing to bet that if you were say an American woman, your MIL would not have asked you to do this or spoken to you thus. The reason is about expectations.

    I’m afraid you’ve already set the bar by accepting a sort of inferior position in the household anyway. By agreeing to cook for your in laws and being submissive in general, you have signaled that you can be walked over. And while back talking might not solve the immediate drama, it will send a signal that you won’t take crap lying down.

    In behavioral science, we call it the “Hot Stove rule”. If a person receives an immediate negative response to something they did they won’t do it again – just like noone will touch a hot stove again after being burnt just once.

    My suggestion…plan in your mind the kind of sudden powerful response you want to make the next time something like this happens. And when it does, deliver that negative experience without hesitation and without thought. Hopefully you won’t have to do this more than once or twice. I’m assuming you want things to change. Expecting your in laws to change is foolhardy. You’re the only one who can make it happen.


    • @ bhagwad,
      What beats me is that why the letter-writer is so hurt and angry just because of something someone said. It would have been different had the MIL pulled her by the hair and shoved her beneath the shower, in which case it would have been a case of domestic violence. Then she could have used legal help.

      But here, all she had to do was to exercise her choice to walk away from the scene if she didn’t like what her MIL was saying. In case of emotional hurt, the person has the choice to walk away. Isn’t it ? And all this while I was assuming that only physical hurt matters and not emotional hurt…

      So why such a lot of thought on how to change a person’s behavior ? Emotionally hurt… then simply walk away.


      • Walk away where? Out of the house? She still has to stay in the same house, doesn’t she? If she were living in her own home, then perhaps it might be better to leave the house and refuse to return unless the MIL learns to behave.

        If she is forced to stay in the same house, she had better speak up for herself. If the MIL is speaking disrespectfully, speak back to her in the exact same manner. If the husband has any problems, ask him to first move out into a separate house and then talk. If he expects his wife to stay there, he had better make sure that he is loyal to her.

        This is why the joint family system is inhuman. It isolates the young woman and puts her in a position where she is vulnerable and can easily be abused at different degrees. Both the families are equally important. Both sets of parents need to be loved, respected and cared for. For this a nuclear family is best. Because the wife did not drop from the sky. She has feelings and relationships too.


        • @ Mol,
          Exactly ! My comment above was specifically directed towards bhagwad who always maintains that emotional hurt doesn’t matter (because a person has the choice to walk away from it). I’m sure that when you say – “she is forced to stay in the same house”, bhagwad, and many others would immediately object to the word ‘forced’ since the letter-writer is not being physically forced to stay. The problem is that people don’t understand that it is not always physical force that affects people. Hence my comment above.


      • “What beats me is that why the letter-writer is so hurt and angry just because of something someone said.”. WHAT? Which Planet do you come from?
        All this “A woman should get offended only if the MIL shoves some kerosene on them and lights a match” theory makes me sick.


      • I don’t see the letter writer taking her in laws to court for emotionally hurting her right? Physical violence is the only thing that matters from a legal perspective. She chose not to walk away and air her grievances here. That is her right also.

        I don’t see what the problem is.


  12. Reading this is a trigger for stress for me. How these people try all sorts of stunt. Why are you doing this? Why aren’t you doing that? The advice of ‘ignore’ goes only so far. One has to become really strong before it really stops affecting you.
    Of course one cannot foresee how the in-laws are going to turn out. That is why staying separate after marriage must be made mandatory for couples.


  13. I think a relationship between a MIL and DIL can work only if they both remove ‘in-law’ part and treat each other as mother and daughter (That includes everything good, bad, ugly, all!).


    When they both accept each other’s presence, give space and maintain a cordial relationship without really a pressure of ‘bonding’, ‘getting along’ or ‘liking each other’

    However, whether we like it or not, initially the first option has to be tried..just for peace or out of respect. Sometimes the MIL tries, sometimes the DIL and in few lucky cases both are equally involved in making each other comfortable in their respective new roles.

    Imagine your MIL as your mother. If your mother would have said the same thing, what would you have done? The possible reactions that come to my mind are:

    1. Keep eating but keep the resentment. (Like what you did)

    2. Answer back in anger.

    3. Answer back firmly but politely.

    4. Ignore but keep no resentment or grudges.

    5. Keep cool now but reason out with her later.

    6. Don’t answer her back, obediently listen to her and never eat without taking a shower only to avoid ‘stress or her crying’.

    7. Think that she is right and do as she says.

    Choose the one that you think encourages forming a respectful relationship without compromising on your self respect, if she was your mother. By doing so, at least you will know you did your best. That there was no difference in your mind between mother and MIL. That you did what any wise PERSON & Matured (not because you are DIL or Woman) would do, irrespective of their sex, age, caste, race, country, social role while dealing with someone senior.

    P.S. The crying stops eventually! 😀


    • Why can’t we just take people for who they are? Why do we have to replace them them in our relationships to see them as humans? She is MIL and that is it. We have history with our parents and work over our relationship through our toughest mentoring years- teens. Why do we have to go over that all over again with another adult when we are an too adult at this time.
      There has to come a time when people have to start acting as adults and treat one another as adults. Enough of this parent child analogy, it is not getting us anywhere but is perpetuating and oppressive system.

      Desi Girl


      • I was just trying to lay emphasis on the point IHM mentioned at the very beginning of this blog .. which was, “How do you think would women react to such comments from anybody other than the spouse’s parents? Why is it difficult to react the same way with the spouse’s parents? ”

        If in our head there won’t be such thing that when it comes to in-laws you NEED to walk on egg shells..while talking, reacting or responding then we would REACT just the way how we deal with our parents.


        • Even if my mom had said something disrespectful like this, I would have let her know EXACTLY how I feel – that I will eat when I want and when I am hungry. And it would have not created a rift ./ issue in the relationship. Now if I assumed my MIL was my mom and said the same thing, I am pretty sure it would become a HUGE issue.

          My relationship with my mom is as old as I am. It has seen a lot of up and downs, tears and hugs, it has stood the test of time. The relationship with my MIL is much newer and untested. Just ‘thinking’ she is my mom will not make her my mom. And likewise, just ‘thinking’ I am her daughter wont work.

          There are lots of MIL-DILs out there who share great relationships. It is because the expectations are real and the relationship is based on mutual respect. And it all did not happen in a day.


        • “How do you think would women react to such comments from anybody other than the spouse’s parents? Why is it difficult to react the same way with the spouse’s parents? ”


          In the process of anticipatory socialization for marriage to become good wives and daughter-in-laws Desi Daughters are raised in the fear of prospective mother-in-law who is a mythical tyrant everything opposite to a mother.

          How does a one person claim absolute rights over the other?
          By taking away their right to resist, voice dissidence or even leave the conflict without a fight. A desi DIL should not talk back or roll eyes nor can she leave the house and start living separately without creating more conflict and hardships to self or others.
          You said:
          …while talking, reacting or responding then we would REACT just the way how we deal with our parents.

          As daughter we pout, yell and even stomp. What MIL or male spouse is going to stand that?

          Desi Girl


    • Much as Indian culture likes to give lip service to the idea that you should treat your in-laws like your own parents (although this only applies to women, apparently), I don’t think this really works well in real life. When I see good MIL/DIL relationships, it’s more like the relationship between a beloved aunt and her niece than it is like a mother-daughter relationship.


      • Why will a mother-daughter relationship happen? A woman who hasn’t given birth to you, has done nothing for you in your growing up years, who only comes with a set of demands and expectations, how can she become a mother?


        • It happens. It has happened.

          I know many women and men who share an amazing and warm relationship with their in-laws and not-so-amazing with their ‘birth parents.’

          Being a biological parent or child or for that matter a ‘blood relative’ of someone doesn’t guarantees a perfect relationship. Nor does being someone’s MIL or DIL guarantees that they will at war with each other.

          Treating MIL like a mother or aunty or just plain husband’s mother or stranger is an individual’s sole decision. I completely respect and understand that.

          But ruling out the even the remotest possibility by saying ‘A woman who hasn’t given birth to you, has done nothing for you in your growing up years’ is a prejudice. And I believe PREJUDICE is what we all here are fighting against. 🙂


        • I have another issue with the MIL = Mother thingy, I wouldn’t want to be married to my “mother’s” son, would you? Btw this was pointed out to me by DH. In his words ” Er.. please don’t call my mother Mom after marriage” Me, very surprised since I sort of expected the opposite “Why?” DH: “Only other ppl who call my mother that are my sisters and it sort of feels like emotional incest”. I had a literal ROFL moment 😉


      • @ Priya

        It applies to Indian men too because in India, men address/are supposed to address their parents-in-laws as ‘mother’ & ‘father’ unlike their western /American counterparts where they call them using their first names (minus any honorific titles attached)


        • Dude, Indian men might call their in-laws “mother” and “father” but they don’t move in with them, take over the bulk of the household chores, or follow their commands on everything from their sleeping habits to their childrearing practices. You’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you think the expectations of Indian sons-in–law and Indian daughters-in-law are in any way equivalent.


        • On the contrary, Priya, sons-in-law are treated as if gifts from heaven. Fussed over, worshipped. Almost like they did a great service to the daughter’s family by agreeing to maintain her


        • Priya, my husband’s brother is living with the parents of his wife, meanwhile my MIL, a widow, lives alone. She’s a really cool (and independant) woman, I admire her very much.


    • Thanks but no thanks. It’s hard enough to get along with one set of parents, why would anyone want to have a fresh new set of parents, who actually don’t even respect you!


    • Erm, is it a hard and fast rule that mother daughter relationship should/will/would always be beautiful with mutual respect and love? If yes, then I’d like to see all relationships as mother daughter (parent-child). But it isn’t. And trying to treat anyone else as my mother will not help in that case. Any relationship has its own value in our hearts and minds. We have to only get out of presumptions of ILs and respect the person first and then take on the relationship based on that respect.
      I think what people need to know or learn more is to respect and value individuality and personal space. If you want to be respected, learn to give respect too. Mostly elders tend to think that just because of age they somehow command respect from youngsters and don’t need to return it back. Just making the relationship into a parent-child you cannot enforce the respect part. Heck forcing it is not possible even in the parent-child relationship.


  14. Your basic problem is that you don’t really want to do anything to change the situation. You want your mother in law to miraculously change her behaviour while you sit and wring your hands helplessly. You already know you have to choose one of the options you yourself outlined. IMO, you have three choices.

    1 – My first choice would always be to remove myself from a stressful situation. In this case, if someone disrespects you, state calmly why you do not like it, and start finding a flat in your own name. This shows that you are not to be taken lightly if they want you in their lives at all. If they don’t, then you are better off without them anyway.

    2 – You can start an all out fight to the death with your mother in law. This could include not speaking to her whenever she disrespects you and yelling and screaming and crying yourself. If you master the art of manipulation as well as her, she’ll have to rethink her strategy. This is a solution I dislike because to me, it’s not a solution at all. It is stressful, and it would end up in making me as bad a person as the original perpetrator. If a mad dog bites us, we don’t bite it in return. But to each his own.

    3 – You can accept that this is your life since you are unwilling to do anything about it and start pleasing your mother in law by obeying her in everything. Become the household drudge and be praised by everyone. Be at their beck and call and make them happy. This will get easier as time goes by and you gradually lose any will and strength of character to have a life at all. This will fulfill your need of not wanting to lift a finger to help yourself.


    • I completely agree with you. However I don’t see why she should get a flat right away. Why can’t the husband agree to do that? After all, he is an adult and nobody forced him into marriage. It’s his job to set up a home and family with his wife. If he is not doing that, he is in no position to expect her to “respect” his mother.
      If MIL is talking so rudely and offensively to her, why can’t she snub her right back? There is no need to manipulate or anything. If husband does not like it, tell him to get a flat where they can stay together, MIL can stay where she is and she won’t be disrespected at all. If he can’t move out, then he shouldn’t be talking.
      The whole problem is the conditioning and fear that inhibits women and keeps them from saying and doing what they believe in.


      • First, it’s not a husband’s ‘job’ to look out for a flat. It’s a couple’s job to set up life for themselves. In this case, the husband failed to cooperate when he brought her to his parents’ home. Besides, he is not the one being talked to rudely. The OP also needs to get some power in her hands and that can be done only by fulfilling her own wishes. Waiting for husband to do it is not empowering herself.

        I think it’s perfectly legitimate to snub the MIL or behave just as rudely to her, but I don’t think this is a one-time thing. Anyone who thinks they can tell a woman to not eat already thinks they have her under control. Would you really want to live your life with barbs and snappy comments every day? I wouldn’t.

        I agree with your last paragraph.


        • I did not say that it is the husband’s job to find a flat. I said that it is his job to agree to move out if they are not happy in the current situation. Implying that it is their joint decision. When my husband married me, he made an implicit promise to become a family unit with me. I walked round the fire with him, not with my MIL. And more importantly, the marriage certificate is a bond between my husband and me, not between me and my ILs. So why should this woman not hold him to his promise and insist that they move out if necessary? If he does not agree, he does not have any right to talk about her disrespecting his mother. And she has every right to do as she pleases, including getting an apartment if that is feasible. Even if she does not do that, she has a right to insist that she be treated with respect wherever she lives. In my view, she is doing him a pretty big favor by actually continuing to live there. If anything it shows her commitment to her marriage that she is actually staying in his mother’s house. I don’t think there is any harm in letting them know that.


  15. I think option 4 is the best one. That is how tantrum throwing bullies are. You have to sunb them right there. They may cry a few times, throw tantrums but will fall in line soon. I have tried it with tantrum throwing adults and kids as well. The responses are always the same, strangely, for adults and kids and also the outcome. Ignoring or talking it out is not going to work, as it does not with childish bullies.


  16. I would have probably ignored my MIL a few years ago, or today I would ask her what eating has to do with showering and try to show there is no logic.

    But my younger sis-in-law handles it differently. She would smile and say something confidently to the effect of, ‘chalta hai maa-ji, aajkal sab chalta hai’ and my bro-in-law would laugh and say ‘maa, tum kahi toh main dhoti pehen loo?’ And then my MIL would laugh and say to them, ‘yeh bachhe bhi kitne badmash hai’ and leave the room.

    I am amazed how they handle my MIL.


  17. I didn’t understand the point of writing such elaborately here. The LW already knows various possible solutions to the problem. If she doesn’t want to implement any of them, then there is no option left but to accept whatever the MIL says with silence and say nothing. She might even get used to it.
    For any kind of harassment, standing up for yourself is the only solution. No, don’t expect husband dear to come to your rescue (tho’ it’d be real sweet), just lift your head up and say what you intend to without mincing words so the message reaches the intended recipient loud and clear. I like the hot-stove analogy given by Bhagwad. You respond sharply once esp when there is an audience and most likely they won’t bother you again. It need not be an insult or sarcastic comment. Just a strong, civil verbal response indicating that you are none to take BS. Not sure if you have children, but they learn what they see, so standing up for yourself will be a very important lesson you teach them.
    You willingly and happily doing all the chores at home? Good, though be strong enough to show people that you are not the maid and ask for help from family members frequently. If not, then its time to change that. Ask for help, talk to the husband and ILs about hiring a househelp. Don’t overload yourself or come across as the ideal DIL who does everything in and around the house. For your own good.
    It is easier to live with the tag of bad DIL and peaceful mind than with the tag of good DIL and a stressful life.


  18. The point is why are you upset, why do allow someone to push your button. She seems to know how to handle you well and get the reaction she wants from you. If you need to figure out how to not become provoked and handle this without emotional bagage. Someones asking you how you can eat and you are hurt and annoyed about something simple like that? Clearly not about the question but the implication. Sort the issue out with yourself what really annoys you and treat the offender like you would any misbehaving kid, dont take it personally.


  19. “How would I know a Political Science post-grad and wife of a professor would turn out to be like this?”
    That statement betrays ignorance about Patriarchy in Indian households. Does college education reduces Patriarchal attitudes in men/women? Never.
    Best response would be to show dissent in what ever way is comfortable for you and ensure such personal boundary crossing never happen again. (Every one may not be able to live separately)


    • Frankly, I think college education is vastly wasted on the Indian population. Education has simply become a badge of honour, and not a sign of maturity and an open mind. So what if you have a Master’s and made straight A’s in school? If you’re a bigot, you’re a bigot. No amount of education is going to change that.

      Same thing with travelling. Lots of people like to pull the excuse that, “Oh, I’m so well-traveled. Trust me, I have an open mind.” But they don’t, not really. Same thing with reading books as well. “I’ve read Dostoevsky and Proust. But I still need you to cook and clean up after me.” I see this ridiculousness a lot in people.

      Education, financial status, and all those things mean absolutely zilch. You can have none of them and still be a thoughtful human being that understands basic human decency. The day that we, as a society, wake up and stop correlating college degrees with open-mindedness is the day things will improve.


  20. I think a lot of people have said it too and Bhagwad said it best. It’s all about setting expectations. You have let them think they can get away with this and they are walking over you.
    But since that is not going to solve the current problem I can only tell you what I would have done in a situation that I found unacceptable.
    I would have turned to my husband and asked politely. “Is this behaviour from your mother acceptable to you? I am very offended and hurt right now that this happened and you stayed silent and I need an apology and assurance that this will not happen again. I need you to communicate that this is unacceptable behaviour to your mother”
    And if you are going to tell me that this can never happen and it’s unrealistic to expect anything like this then that should tell you enough about the situation you are in.


  21. I highly recommend getting the book “Toxic In-laws” by Susan Forward. Read it, make your husband read it and maybe leave it around house for your MIL to read and identify the reasons behind her abominable behavior.


  22. for amoment, if this comment had to come from the MOTHER…but NOT from the “MOTHER IN LAW”, would the posted had given such serious thought about this issue???

    If only we stop nit picking at every other thing with in laws, life could be relatively easier. Frankly, with this post, i dont find much difference between the MIL and the DIL, as both of them seems to have the habit of viewing the petty issues abt others in magnifying glass and create a nuisance.

    May be becoz KYOKI SAAS BHI KABHI BAHI THI….and today’s bahus who are complaining now might very well turn the same kinda MIL they are seeing today.


  23. You are so right! Making a scene or answering back doesnt help. It makes you feel worse at times when you look back on it. And then keeping it in hurts too. Letting it go unanswered gives a wrong idea to this sort of people; i don’t think anyone would deny that they are so conditioned. Well, so does making a scene. You’ll be the one in the spotlight. This is what you should do, though: tell them the bare fact without any pathos. “I was really hungry; and when i am hungry, I eat”. That puts the ball into their court. That instantly gives them an opportunity to connect with very basic humanity. Of course, the “it’s different with boys” is complete and total cockamamie BS hogwash that should be questioned whenever it threatens to cramp your style. Understand that your MIL did this because she thinks it’s her right to goad you into behaving as a bahu of their family should. Also understand that your MIL – in fact all our parents – could be wrong from time to time and that the onus of bringing about changes is on us if we want to live in a better environment. Your future course, whether you use this issue as a stepladder to work through other issues or just dismiss this one as a one-off incident in an otherwise smooth relationship depends on the quality of your relationship. But this muse be said: Never cow down. Adjustment is one thing. Letting others walk all over your self-esteem and happiness is completely different.


  24. Here’s the deal emailer. I get your concerns. Trust me, I got the entire swansong about, “How can you eat before you bathe?!” too. But I’m not married yet, and my family has vastly given up on me (they give me this spiel in a joking way now).

    It’s not easy to stand up for ourselves.Often times, we don’t want to do it, but it is important to ask yourself if you’re happy with the whole situation. And much of the time, standing up for yourself doesn’t have to happen with strong words, a shouting match, and the entire old West style showdown you see in the Indian soaps these days. I think this is the part lots of people get confused about, because they believe that this is what having courage entails, when it doesn’t have to be that way.

    I would suggest you go with option 5), but slightly modified. Ignore her, but don’t ever compromise on your beliefs in the future. If a similar situation ever arises, just go about doing your own thing. If she confronts you about it with a pathetic double standard, just smile and keep doing the exact same thing as she watches. If you feel your courage and confidence flagging, just remind yourself, “I am only doing what the situation calls for. This has nothing to do with confrontation. It is her problem, not mine.” Don’t respond, don’t create a scene, just go about your daily life as you see fit. At the end of the day, if your MIL is angry because of it, it will be because it is her problem, and you can easily just say that you didn’t provoke her.

    Also, one more thing. Living in a joint-family, with your in-laws, and such things are inherently not bad things. These things are bad because they are often used as a vehicle for patriarchy, when they should not be. Women SHOULD be able to live in a joint-family without being harassed. They SHOULD be able to live with their in-laws in a harmonious relationship. The fault lies with patriarchy for appropriating perfectly fine things and turning them into vicious attempts at curtailing a woman’s agency.


    • A culture where a woman automatically ‘chooses’ or not to live with her in laws is in itself patriarchal. As long as the choice does not include discussion about whether or not the couple wants to live with the wife’s parents or not in every case, it is inherently bad. The custom of a woman moving into her husband’s parents’ home is not used as a vehicle of patriarchy, it’s the basis of patriarchy itself.


      • “The custom of a woman moving into her husband’s parents’ home is not used as a vehicle of patriarchy, it’s the basis of patriarchy itself.”

        I agree. Joint families should not be a custom, or a tradition. It should not be a compulsory choice, one that is forced solely upon the wife only in the name of “culture”. This is the first problem with joint families in India. When it is done, it is done as an expectation, as a forced issue, and from the very beginning, it does not account for a woman’s agency at all. And this is the first big problematic thing with joint families in India.

        The second problem is that once this automatic decision is made (often with no input from the bride), the DIL is treated as a subservient presence rather than a human being. Any sense of self or personal character she brings is dismissed. She is not valued for her humanity, but rather as a title. A Wife. A Mother. A Baby-Maker.

        However, the very concept of a joint family, all on its own, without the patriarchal implications attached to it, is not a bad concept. There have, and always will be, plenty of families structured as joint families, where the brides are not forced into making the first decision, and when they do make a decision, do not have to face ill-treatment and disdain at the hands of her in-laws. In theory, it is entirely possible for joint families to exist without the patriarchal implications attached to them at all. You can co-exist with your husband’s family, or your wife’s family, without being forced to endure a change of character.

        But, in India, that theoretical joint family concept is not practiced in any sense of the word. Patriarchy has co-opted this family structure and turned it into a fine-tuned method of systematic oppression. It has taken the concept of living as a family, and made it into something that inflicts pain and suffering SOLELY upon the women who get married. It has been used for far too long as a method of control, of oppression, and as a means to deny rights to human beings. Making the choice to live with someone should not have to incur this kind of behaviour or reaction. But, because of patriarchy, there is often no choice to make to begin with, and after the issue has been forced, women have to endure further suffering.

        Personally, because of the sheer extent to which the joint family system has been used in this way, I doubt it can ever be practiced in India (or elsewhere) in a safe manner that respects the choice of every one involved. It’s irretrievable, and it should be done away with completely. Not to mention, there are other problematic things with joint families that don’t make it a prime choice for a living arrangement, not compared to other structures anyway.

        Same thing with living with in-laws and having them over. Plenty of people live with in-laws with no issues, because those in-laws are not stooges of patriarchy. They actually value a woman’s agency and her right to make decisions and run her house and life as she sees fit. They respect her choices, her opinions and don’t fault her for them. But because of patriarchy, the concept of living with your in-laws has been been used as a means of controlling the women who marry in to a particular family. Patriarchy in India has once again used something perfectly ordinary (something that people in many parts of the world practice without any issues), as a means to control and dominate women.


    • Joint families sans patriarchy will not be ‘perfectly’ fine things even though I completely agree with your premise that women should be able to live in a joint family without being harassed.

      However, the truth is that a joint family is a multi-generational, extremely hierarchial set up, and the odds are that all young men and women and children will have to bear effects (however serious or benign) of such a hierarchy.
      The difference in the degree of effects with regard to women can be explained by patriarchy thus, removing patriarchy will remove the gender-discrimination, but not the hierarchy.

      And that is why joint families make me doubly uncomfortable.


      • “And that is why joint families make me doubly uncomfortable.”

        Agreed times a million. There are many, many problematic things with joint families aside from the entire patriarchal set up, and this is one of them. I really dislike the implication that states, “With age comes wisdom”, which is so often used in joint families. It’s yet another method of control.

        I’ve also seen plenty of joint families break apart, not because of patriarchy or the hierarchy, but because of financial problems as well. It’s just a headache, really.


  25. Dear letter writer,
    You seem to suffer from the ‘Hamlet syndrome’. You know the possible options, you are just not taking any action.
    1. Like many others have already pointed out here, the best option is to eventually move out to a place for just you and your husband so you can be yourself without any impositions.
    2. Irrespective of whether you move out or not walk up to your MIL and tell her that it is YOUR choice to eat before or after a shower and would like for her to respect your space and give some privacy if at all she intends to live as a joint family.
    3. How absurd is it for a grown woman to be afraid of her MIL crying? We tend to do that only with little babies that cannot yet use their mind and voice to communicate. Stand up for yourself and don’t give in to these emotional blackmails
    Good luck!
    P.S: I guess it is time to start a movement on independent living or something. It’s somewhat sad that joint families with members that truly respect each other rarely exist these days. Joint family concept is dead. Why still hold on to that rotting corpse and let your house stink?


  26. I wonder why the men of the household are mute spectators in all this. It’s the classic oppressee turning oppressor, with the MIL-DIL power play, that gets perpetuated for all eternity. In my own marriage, I feel the lurking, silent, verly polite and carefully veiled disapproval of my FIL hovering like an invisible hand raised in a blessing over every silly, irrational, regressive word my MIL utters.


  27. While all this time, the men of the household remain mute spectators? The FIL cannot be ignored. I strongly believe that for a woman to thrust her regressive ideas of marriage or duty on her DIL, she has to have been submissive enough to take it herself as a DIL. This means she had a partner who did not treat her as an equal and his views, needs, desires dominated over hers. And if she is doing the same to her DIL it has to have the tacit approval of the male head of the family, because if he disapproved, she would not have the courage to go against his wishes. The FILs, I feel, remain silent because they would not demean themselves by getting involved in the petty squabbles of women. However, if the DIL is too “modern” in her outlook, their lurking, ever present, silent, overly polite and cleverly veiled disapproval is always hovering like an invisible hand raised in a blessing over every silly, irrational and regressive remark made by the MIL.


  28. I got this comment in my blog (http://sowmya.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/zumba-beach-party-in-mahabalipuram/#comments) in reply to a comment I posted here. I’m sure other bloggers have received as well from the great mr.sanjeev. Here’s what he had to say:

    1. Like many others have already pointed out here, the best option is to eventually move out to a place for just you and your husband so you can be yourself without any impositions.

    You make a disgusting assumption. What might count as abuse of the DIL just based on a singular incident wherein the MIL asks her to bathe before eating food (red faced?, if were to believe each & every word of the OP (the DIL)) might just be something that can be ignored and isn’t even worthy of mention.
    The DIL refused to budge and instead of an apology, (well, it won’t make her less of a human if she would have said sorry)

    Seriously, where was the husband? Didn’t he ask his wife to behave herself?

    You make an assumption that the husband should also move out, why should he – if its the DIL who like making a mountain of a mole hill, then she can very well move out ALONE by all means and live separately instead of expecting husband to blindly follow in her footsteps like a puppet.

    what also needs to be noticed that the OP expects reader to advise her to leave that BITCH, her mother-in-law (much to the pleasure of many jealous readers) just because MIL stopped her from eating food once and expected her to bathe.

    Now, her husband would be a very sick man if he doesn’t call his wife a BLOODY BITCH after all that.
    Well, mr.sanjeev I have to admit I couldn’t stop laughing. I laughed because of the helplessness that I felt knowing that grave misogynists are not just blind but also cowards. Now don’t concern yourself wondering if you are in fact a misogynist. You wouldn’t know. Your brain still needs time to evolve.

    Mr. sanjeev was having lunch with his wife. Mr. sanjeev lives with his wife in her parent’s house. Mr.sanjeev cooks, cleans and takes care of the house in addition to working outside. One fine after noon which is his weekly day off from work, he cleans the house while his wife’s mother and father relax in their rooms. Mr.sanjeev’s wife is busy with other things while mr.sanjeev religiously scrubs the kitchen and bathroom floors. He usually showers after cleaning but that day he was hungry and decided to eat. Mr.sanjeev was so relieved he didn’t have to cook much that day. Usually he makes a whole variety of dishes to please his wife’s dearest mother and father. But that particular Monday they had given him a break. Mr.sanjeev’s wife doesn’t interfere with his cooking. After all, he knows how to handle things around the house.

    Mr.sanjeev sat down in the dining table to eat. His wife was also at the table. Mr.sanjeev’s Mother-in-law, the holiest of holy mother to have ever walked on earth, interrupts his eating.
    “Mr.sanjeev, what is this? You stink. Don’t you know you have to shower? How dare you eat before showering?”. Mr.sanjeev was enraged and furious. But mr.sanjeev’s wife rightly brought him back to his senses. She said “mr.sanjeev, apologize to my dearest mother. You will not show a rude face to that holy being”. But mr.sanjeev did not budge. Mr. sanjeev’s wife then said “How dare you! You BLOODY BITCH mr.sanjeev, you wouldn’t be less of a human if you say sorry to my holy mother. Do not make “a mountain of a mole hill”. I’m not your puppet, do you understand BITCH?”.

    Mr.sanjeev is now said to have realized his mistake. He has mended his ways and vows not to sway from his destiny. He has now decided to shower three times a day, once before every meal. mr.sanjeev’s wife is glad he is put in his place and knows rightly where he belongs. After all, it is her job to make sure of that and help her holy mother and father in that process.

    The end.


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  30. once upon a time, many many moons back, I had a MIL, who, a day or two days after I got married to the man I had been dating before marriage (so technically, a looovvvve marriage, as we have the unique privilege of calling it), took me aside and told me secrets of being a well groomed woman, let alone wife. She said, nay, whispered conspiratorially, that I do not need to bathe more than twice a day, but i need to change my panties 5 times daily. WTF? Five times? Really? do you think I poop my pants? Well, I laugh about it now, but believe me, it was no laughing matter then. 15 years after the great and hitherto lost secrets of the Kama Sutra was revealed to me, i still have a friend or two ribbing me when I meet them with, “have you changed your panties?” 🙂


  31. You should give it to the MIL whose views are blinded by conservative mindset. Such attitude should not be tolerated and next timeat, you should give it back and not let anyone take you for granted. It is your life and nobody has the right to tell you how to live your life. The argument bout separating the son from mother is complete rubbish and people who believe in the conservative mindset hails from stone age. As it is, even girls leave their parents to live with hubby. Why no one complains? It’s hypocrite.


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  34. I had the similar scenario in last week when my inlaws has come to my place and i started my day by TAKING SHOWER FIRST doing PUJA making breakfast putting clothes in washing machine and then saw my husband was lying on sofa and MIL rubbing his feet saying “beta kitna karta hai thak jata hai” i was unable to take it and bursted out.. i just asked her why dont you ask your son to take bath first in the morning before entering the hall and kitchen , you dont allow me to do that den why him….she just replied me saying “TUM TO LAKSHMI HO GHAR KI” ….she has done her masters and my FIL is also well educated still the mentality cannot be changed….THIS LEADS TO A SAD STATE OF MIND.


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  37. I have seen most elderly females support the system of this discriminatory expectations. The change needs to be driven by younger people. My mother insists that the rest of the family eats while she derives “the satisfaction of serving hot chapatis” to her family. But I wait for her to finish cooking so as to eat with her.
    On occasion I also shock her with my “explosive ideas” about changes in the gender dynamics. The most shocking was when I told her about my desire to be a homemaker some day, she admonished me and told me that nobody respects a man who stays at home and is not a breadwinner. Any thoughts about male homemakers IHM?


    • I think male homemakers could face prejudice, specially if they have no personal source of income, or if they do not have inherited wealth, or a ‘valid’ ‘patriarchally approved’ ‘reason’ for being at home. Most male homemakers, I know of are either working from home (part time/full time), or taking a career break, or changing careers, or many have retired while the wives still have several years of service (being younger).


  38. Pingback: “My Mother in law is very patient towards all the doings of the Males in the family.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  40. Pingback: Not touching feet after a year of marriage is disrespect to MIL? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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