“I am tempted to ask- does she mean girls who have no brothers should send money to their parents as well?”

“I am tempted to ask- does she mean girls who have no brothers should send money to their parents as well?”

But why just girls who have no brothers? That implies that brothers are the primary budhape ka sahara, while married daughters might be allowed to contribute if there is no male child. (also implies that, unlike a married son, whatever a married daughter earns rightfully belongs to her in laws, and the only way for a daughter to support her parents is to not get married.)

Only when all the children – sons or daughters are provided equal opportunities for self reliance and are expected to be equally responsible for care giving (etc), would Indian parents (and hence the society and the legal system) begin to view girl children as individuals and equal citizens with rights and responsibilities. 

Sharing an email. 

To Move Out or Not to Move Out

Dear IHM,

I am a young, urban Indian woman, married to the man of her dreams and living in a big city at his parents’ home.

My husband and I are well settled in our careers, having got our education from the best institutes in the country.

My in-laws are nice people. They never tell me what to wear & what not to. If I tell them I’m going to meet a friend, they never ask me which friend. They have no problems with my husband & me partying late into the night on weekends, sleeping in till late the next day etc. My MIL doesn’t expect me to enter the kitchen as she herself hates to cook. They have no problem with me visiting my parents’ house (they too live in the same city and my visits are not too frequent- probably once a month for 3-4 days of stay).

When I got married, I had been living in an apartment in a big city for 3 years. My flat mates & I used to run the house like our own. We were in-charge of things- grocery, bills, maids, daily menu, having friends over, house parties etc.

We were both very clear that we do not want to stay with his parents. But as luck would have it, we had to move to his parents’ city soon after our marriage.

Though everything seems picture perfect and easy, there’s something amiss.

My wavelength doesn’t match with my in-laws. They are preachy; they hail boys who send money to their parents and sons & daughters-in-law who live with their parents.

An incident which someone may deem small has changed the way I look at my mother-in-law. Soon after our marriage, my husband and I told my in-laws that we will split all the household bills with them.

To which, my mum-in-law said that my husband can transfer her the monthly HRA component of his salary for which she would give him slips and he can claim tax benefit. And let me assure you, that is a LOT of money. A lot more than what we would be spending if we had simply split the bill. We could easily live in a rented apartment & pay bills in that much money.

She added, “Children should have the habit of giving some part of their salary to their parents”, something which she has repeated several times after that.

I was disgusted more than hurt at her asking for that much money. We had just started our life together.

My in-laws are financially sound people- the sorts who take foreign trips every year.

We are two daughters- me and my sister and I know my parents don’t expect any sort of monetary support from us until and unless in case of an emergency. They have never asked me what I make or what my husband makes- it is if we have told them that they got to know. My sister & I have been raised as ferociously independent and free-thinking women.

My MIL is very keen on knowing our (and the entire neighborhood’s) salary packages- keeps asking us when we receive our hikes & what’s our ‘salary package’ now. Whenever my salary gets revised, she wants to see the salary breakup. In our initial days of marriage, she had told us to open a joint account with her so she can control our spending. I was appalled!

I have realized that I just don’t get along well with my MIL and never will, as we are so different. Her patriarchal views infuriate me. I can’t have a long conversation with her, as things she says make no sense to my rational mind. After work, I avoid talking to them and hence sit in my room, pretending to work or go for yoga/ run. It’s like I am a guest in this house- how can I feel at home and completely happy when there are two people in the house I would rather not talk to.

I also feel my MIL is abnormally curious about how much we make.

All things said, I miss being on my own. Something as simple as deciding the menu when guests come over to no one questioning me the amount of shopping I do with my money. Having a glass of wine after a long day at work, to deciding to skip family dinners just because I’m in no mood for it!

My husband understands my feelings. He agrees that the way his mom thinks is pathetic at times.

He also knows I will never get along well with her and doesn’t expect me to. The thing is, we feel we can’t even separate from them because, well, there is nothing wrong! It’s not like we had an argument or a clash with his parents.

I just wrote this piece as I am sure there would be more women out there who feel the same way and I would love to hear what they have to say.

Related Posts:

An email from a Mother in law’

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

“When my first pay check came, my MIL made a huge drama about how I am not informing them about my finances…”

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.<

Some basic questions on joint family finances and daughters in law.

An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Reply from the Indian mother in law.

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

Should women be given a share in residential property of the husband, including inherited and inheritable property?

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

Should couples’ assets be treated as joint property?

Cabinet clears bill: Equal rights in Marital property, Easier divorce.

“My wife often rakes up property issues, or rues the expenses on my father’s ill-health.”

“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”


10 thoughts on ““I am tempted to ask- does she mean girls who have no brothers should send money to their parents as well?”

  1. Do you need a permission slip to move out? Well, you have it. You are trying to live up to the unwritten expectations and societal norms that you should live in a joint family.

    You say that there is nothing wrong but the simmering resentment and unhappiness inside you is wrong enough. This is normal and when too many adults live in a space and there are unwritten hierarchies within them, there can never be happiness or peace on both sides.


  2. This is such a common phenomenon. Most young brides feel restricted in their inlaws home. 1) NOThing stops them from moving out and living life on their own. It isnt being rude, one should look at it as giving each other space and respect pf their privacy. 2) When it comes to finances, a son spending for a parent and a daughter spending for her parent are both equal. There should not be any restriction here even after a girl is married. 3) MIL should let go of control over the household and allow the son and DIL to contribute in the family affairs.



  3. Either you ignore it all or accept it the way it is. How to accept/ignore: What if she were your own mother? If you want none of it, you have a choice. #1 the next time she asks about your salary, tell her it’s not something you would want to discuss with her. Politely but directly. And then if drama ensues, be a mute spectator and let it go. But if, after making it clear that you don’t welcome the discussion and rather, feel hurt, she continues, then that’s I’ll-intent. I don’t think I’d personally be comfortable living with a person who doesn’t take into account my feelings about their actions directed towards me. #2 life is too short to live in total discontent. Coming to your “home” the way you like it is probably some of the most gratifying experiences of life. At least that’s how I feel it. If I was thoroughly disgusted all the time, I’d leave. This is even if it had been my own parents. You get but one life. That’s my logic; if this is being selfish then so be it.


  4. It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts. Your MIL is a greedy entitled intrusive woman. Just because she does not verbally or physically abuse you, it doesn’t mean she isn’t abusive. She does not have your best interests at heart. Your FIL plays along and is part of the abuse. Move out and if they pitch a fit, it’s their problem, not yours. Don’t live this this. it’s not worth it. The resentment will seep into and affect your marriage.


  5. I am not sure why people want to live with their sons/daughters in law. Unless there is an actual need.
    Having said that, I don’t know why people feel obliged to move in / live with in laws either.
    My mother in law wants to move in with her “son”. Her and I – it won’t work. So I have been clear to the husband it is not happening. Obviously I don’t have these conversations with her however I am sure it is pretty clear that it is my desire more so than her son’s. which again, I don’t think there is any shame in admitting. Though he is happy with the current living arrangements.
    And in my case, my mother in law is divorced so the guilt tripping with all the “you are all I have” to my husband is quite intensive. However, one of my husbands sister and her husband live with her for free rent because they could not afford to live on their own and his family home was too crammed (my mother in laws home). She has been babysitting the other ones children for eon. Again for free.
    Except she makes no demands of them. All her needs, her son must meet.
    I am happy to send her money (which my husband does) because she has no source of regular income. However, I am not creating a situation where she lives with us, uses her son directly (and I indirectly) for financial, physical and emotional support. While giving all she has to her daughters.
    And while she won’t touch what is her sons in laws’, she makes no acknowledgement of what is mine. And by mine, I don’t mean just what is really her son’s that now I have rights over as in wife. But the fact that I pay half of all the bills to do with our shared life that she wants to wedge herself in.


  6. “The thing is, we feel we can’t even separate from them because, well, there is nothing wrong! It’s not like we had an argument or a clash with his parents.”

    This is not a good enough reason to live under the same roof. Your husband may not argue with your parents or may not dislike them. Would he live with them? No? Ask yourself why not? And if he’s uncomfortable living with your parents, why should it be any different for you? You are both human beings.


  7. I feel that here the case is quite simple. There are a couple of separate issues which needs to be considered. I will just reply on the first one

    First you asked her to share the household bills. You felt that because it’s expenses on her also, she should also share the burden. But when she asked you to do the same by paying for the rent, you didn’t like that

    I am not asking you to pay the entire hra if that is huge. But you should pay what you deem to be fair rent of the space you are occupying. Anything less will be wrong on your part


  8. Hey LW. This might be a late reply, but even so.

    My sister lives with her in-laws. They’re lovely people, they don’t require her to serve and feed them, they share responsibilities with her, they’re fun and enjoy having wine now and then. It’s a perfect scenario on paper but no, she doesn’t want to live with them. Only because she wants her own space, her own home, her own ability to handle things. That’s not unfair and it isn’t mean and it isn’t uncommon. Your in-laws are lovely, just as my sister’s are, but you can love them and still want to not live with them. I love my parents to pieces but no, I still need my own house independently.

    Basically the logical answer to your issues is not about rent and payment and expenses. It’s about moving into your own flat. My sister hasn’t; her husband’s parents have a huge two-storey house, no one else stays there, it makes fiscal sense since he’s just started his own company. That makes sense but it’s also a future thing to work for. These things are important but it’s also important to save for a future where you can be by yourselves. It’s not abandoning family, it’s just making your own life in your own house. It doesn’t mean you love your parents or his parents or anyone any less.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Married daughters having sufficient means, are under an obligation to maintain their parents: Bombay High Court | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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