To all your readers, a big thank you, for taking time out to read and ruminate about the situation and to try to help.
And, I would like to add that I did solve the problem by doing something I wanted to, but couldn’t because I wasn’t sure that it was right. In my mind, I did want to just speak out in my own way and not just pretend things were okay, but my preconditioning wasn’t allowing me to.
The comments of the readers just got me doing it – simply by refusing to cook. When despite me cooking, I don’t get to eat, it is only fair that I don’t as well cook.I can eat a pizza or grab a Mac. let the people who do want rice, roti, rasam and sambar cook it for themselves.
Needless to say, no one cooked and pandemonium ensued. At least I was full and spent more time with the baby. All worth it, I guess.
As for working – I guess this is the way we are conditioned. My gran has always taught us grand kids to “tolerate, keep quiet, and understand” – this she says works miracles in any marriage. After a lifetime of seeing women that way, little wonder then, that we understand that this is the way it should work.My mom who always wanted me to be financially independent – because, she thought that it would help me chart my own course – also implicitly gave me the same advice. Earning is important if something untoward happens, it isn’t something that you use, to wriggle out of your responsibilities. It is ingrained like religion is, or fear of putting your finger into that electrical socket is, you follow it without a question.
Practically it is difficult for me to get a maid, because I need things to get sorted by 8 AM and trust me when I say the leading set of people who give IST a unique meaning is this sect of maids. Where are they when you need them?
It’s not that I resent doing the work at home. I enjoy keeping my home clean I enjoy cooking for my husband, I do stuff for the MIL because I understand she’s worked hard at her place and I would like to let her relax when she comes visiting.
What I do not like is the attitude that says, “This is YOUR home, YOU and YOU alone are responsible for this home”. So, when food falls short, or when I’m working late and cannot handover the milk coupon to the watchman, or even when I’m rushing to office and cannot water the plants – it’s probably ONE time – the ONE time in a month that they have to do it – but it is MY home you see, MY plants. When I don’t have milk for tea – no one notices, hell! no one even notices if I’ve had tea or not (she can always drink it at office) but if for some reason the undergarments aren’t color coded and folded the way they have to be, I’m a “lazy girl”, “always in front of her laptop girl” or just plain “Sigh … I never can seem to find anything at all …. old age might be. In India, we always spend half our lives searching“.
And you know what they say? That tidal waves are influenced by the waxing and the waning of the moon? They should also add something like – husband’s MCP factor is influenced by the coming and going of his mother. (actually, scratch that – the effects linger long after the mother has done the damage and exited the building). (Another post discusses this here – IHM)
So, to all your comments and suggestions, yes, this has to change. maybe the workload, but definitely the attitude.
I am not conditioned in a manner to raise my voice at home – like I said, “The finger in the electric socket syndrome”, but I know this has to change.
The reason I reached out to you, is because I wanted to know if you felt the same way I did.
Believe it or not, there are many who think the Star Plus anthem is great because the woman is being allowed to work, to have a girl-child, fly kites, jog, wear track pants, dance, blow kisses at her husband from her terrace; her husband finds her worthy of his attentions, her in laws don’t object to this, (because) her mother in law is not abusive, and her family cares to celebrate her birthday. What more can a woman ask for?
And in return of all these privileges (which the rest of the family always had anyway) all she has to do is be a never tiring, ever smiling, uncomplaining super woman.
GB explains why it’s okay for a woman to not be perfect and still expect to be loved.
I’m really tired of seeing women who don’t get tired. Or pissed. On some days, I just wake up feeling pissed. I make carping statements, I invite fights, I act like my hair is on fire. In short, I make life difficult for people around me.
I don’t need to be an angel to be wanted or loved. Because the people around me are not angels either. And I put up with their drama because I care about them. So why in god’s name do I have to keep smiling … in order to be the perfect woman? (Click to read the entire post.)
Preeti Shenoy wants to know,
“Why is she so happy that she has to wake up before everyone else while that lazy lump of her husband sleeps blissfully and then she also has to give him his towel in the shower between cooking her children’s lunches!” (More on Buzz)
Amrita of IndieQuill wonders,
What’s the kid going to grow up thinking – “My mom works and cooks and cleans and dances and sings and is nice to all the birdies in the sky. My dad… um… he drinks tea and goes to work.” Way to be a hero to your kid….
I wonder what the men think.
To read my interview with ‘Spark’ click here.
Pallavi shared this link.
Daughter are supposed to become paraya dhan once they are given away in kanyadan, and any Indian man and his family would be justified in wanting a divorce if a woman’s parents forget that.
Why I’d worry about any such biased and generalized statements. Because they encourage Indian parents to continue to disown their married daughters. Happily-Married-Daughters bring approval of the neighbours’ uncle’s nephew’s third cousin’s grandfather, so even if a married daughter is unhappy, she is advised to please adjust, or die trying. Having no one to turn to, makes her less equal and exposes her to abuse, exploitation and harassment.
Also, even if the parents were interfering in the case mentioned, it does not mean that this is becoming a trend. The idea that a woman’s parents have no right to support her once she is married, and an adult male needs to be mothered all his life, is changing and this change should be welcomed.
I wonder why there was no mention of ‘parental interference’ in these cases.
Allegations that the mother-in-law kicked the daughter-in-law with her leg, told her that her mother was a liar, poisoned the ears of her son against the daughter in law, had been giving perpetual sermons and threatened her with divorce. [link]
Deciding what an adult son’s adult spouse wears is not interference?
Was this seen as interference?
And just how much do an Indian daughter’s parents interfere for it to have ‘become a major cause for playing havoc’ with their daughter’s marriages?
In Haryana a son beat his wife in the presence of her parents, for wearing jeans when she went shopping with them.
Promptly dispatched to her in-laws house, a paraya dhan‘s rightful home once she is married.
Bollywood went out of it’s way to show loving a married daughter could lead to breaking her marriage.
How would you see this scene from ‘Phagun’ (1973) if Waheeda Rehman was the husband’s mother and not Jaya Bhaduri’s?
This is why.
A senior citizen I know, once told me she wanted her daughter-in-law, in the US to quit her full time job and to find something to do from home, because with both the son and the daughter-in-law working, they hardly get any time together. She said she told her daughter-in-law, when she visited them last, “This won’t do.”
I suggested, “These days most couples are working, I am sure they will find someway … maybe whoever is earning less considers something part time …”
“How can HE leave his job, he is the husband, this is not how things are done … I have spoken to her, she should know her priorities …”
I was totally impressed! “You mean your daughter-in-law is earning more!! He is an Investment Banker I thought he must be earning a lot! She must be brilliant!! What does she do?”
I was still gushing, “Times are changing, Indian kids waste their youth for their careers! You have seen my daughter! She is working so hard, she hardly has a ‘life’, she stays up till late, you have heard me crib about her crazy hours? I wonder how she would feel if she has to give it all up! Who knows what happens in life, in future? Girls should be self reliant too, I am sure your daughter-in-law must have really worked to reach this position … there has to be a more balanced solution … and aren’t they making good money? “
“Money isn’t everything. My son says, he misses the way hot food waited on the table when he got home from school, I was so well read, but I was content to just look after them … ”
“LOL I am sure your daughter-in-law misses hot food on the table too :) These days parents love both girls and boys, they are brought up to be self reliant … they will find some way to make it work in a way that suits them both.”
“Girls should know their careers are not as important as their husbands. Men have egos.”
“I don’t know, I have seen my dad support my mom and generally if one person is happy while another is forced to give up her dreams, will they be happy? Why not let them decide?”
“When we are there, all day we are alone, there are no maids. .. and living in India I am just not used to doing any house work … and this younger son of mine, he was very close to me, I got the cook to make whatever he liked to eat, now he cooks dinner, I don’t mind that but …”
I wanted to ask if his wife wasn’t brought up the same way too? But I did not argue.
I could not get this daughter-in-law out of my mind, and later asked a close friend, a successful professional, (without revealing any names) what she thought of such a situation, and why did it bother me so much.
She said, “IHM if she is pressurized to give up her job, do you realise how resentful and bitter she might become? Why force her to sacrifice!!! These days my husband stays with our son, on leave, because I have to go for this seminar … I have worked so hard to reach here, my success is a part of me, it makes me feel so good. … but it would have all been so difficult if my husband hadn’t been so supportive. I would do the same for him, any day.”
She kept her word. Today, because she is doing so well, her husband is able to dare to start a new venture, she will never read this blog, but my best wishes to them :)
But wait, the story doesn’t end here. The Mother-in-law I mentioned above went to the US again, and do you know which bank her son was working for? Lehman Brothers. He is not unemployed, he is doing very well still, but this time when she called she didn’t say anything about about her daughter-in-law giving up her job.