IntroductionDaughters-in-laws, these days are mostly employed. Or they are employable. In the smaller towns, they are entrepreneurs and happy homemakers too. Based on a few case studies of superb experiences, and first hand information, the focus in this article is on a) Accepting them as they are b) Helping them to express themselves c) Teaching them good values and d) Helping them plan every stage of their lives, and e) living for others too. Only positive inferences are discussed here. No negative experiences are reported here.
Accepting them as they areThis real life experience happened in New Delhi in the year 1985. A person, born and brought up in Tiruchirapalli, became a bank officer and had to be transferred. When the alliances were sought to be discussed, a mutual friend, suggested the case of Vidhya (name changed). The parents of the boy came calling to their uncle's house and accepted the girl. The boy had a private discussion with the girl, but kept everything as a secret. He had learned some useful tips from another good friend. The posting was in New Delhi, and it so happened that the girl was herself based in New Delhi. She was a Post graduate in Commerce, and was waiting to accept a job in a multinational organization.
Since the boy's parents were based in Chennai, and since relatives on both sides wanted to conduct the wedding in Chennai, the typical Tamil Brahmin wedding went on in grand style and happiness. The day of packing off to New Delhi happened. The boy had already settled in a nice flat in Karol Bagh. Within twenty days, the boy's parents came calling.
To the shock of the mother-in-law, the daughter-in-law wore a sari with a sleeveless blouse. She was otherwise so affectionate. The mother-in-law, who had worked in Government service and had voluntarily retired, was somewhat broad minded and did not ask her anything. That evening, when the son came from office, he had a private discussion with his mother. He explained that every single woman in the apartment complex was dressed in the same way, and since she had lived in New Delhi for a decade, her parents did not mind it at all. The father of the boy had been to New Delhi in his private sector service and was quite broad minded too.
The mother-in-law understood and appreciated the situation. Her son told her that all things were discussed even before marriage. The mother-in-law was introduced and met with Tamil friends in the locality and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the sleeveless blouses were even worn by mothers who were sixty years old!! Gradually, she herself wore that dress (at the age of 54) and the daughter-in-law was stumped too!! One year later, when I visited the family, the mother-in-law was all praise for her daughter-in-law. She was literally her daughter, she explained. The parents of the girl were in the hospital for a full three days when the father of the boy was admitted in a hospital for some infection. The lady explained how her broad mindedness had helped her understand her daughter-in-law. In the years that followed, the girl did her part time MBA and was a hugely successful finance executive. They had settled in New Delhi for 15 years before moving out to Bangalore.
The key is to accept the girl as your own daughter and treat her for what she is. That is, accepting her for what she is and not the way you want her to be. Vidhya was also superb in human relationships. She was so famous in that locality and gave a helping hand to anyone who needed it at any point in time. In fact, when I met the family in a wedding in New Delhi, it was a huge group of Tamil families, all settled in New Delhi, that greeted me.
Helping them to express themselvesThis case study happened in the year 1995. Married into a family of two brothers, both of whom were based in the same city, and to the elder of them, Shanthi (name changed), was the daughter-in-law of Mr Shanmugam and his wife. This gentleman and his wife were not educated. They were basically farmers. They still had some lands that were managed by some friends in a village some sixty kilometers from Salem city. However, they decided to stay on with their son and daughter-in-law and support them in every single way they can.
Shanthi's husband worked in one local co-operative society, in the city of Salem. Their rented house was then in a developing suburb of the city. Shanthi was a raw graduate. However, she was very good in thinking aloud. She expressed her desire to set up a small hotel. Her mother-in-law, who was always proud of Shanthi, readily agreed and pledged her jewels in a local bank. Armed with just a small capital of Rs.76,000/-, Shanthi started a small hotel in a rented place near her residence. It helped that there were several bachelors staying in a hostel nearby. They were totally fed up with the food there. So, the bachelors made it a point to eat only in Shanthi's small hotel. Shanthi was a great cook and her mother-in-law also guided her. She introduced two varieties of sambar, and four varieties of dosa. The prices were so reasonable. She did only breakfast and night dinner, all pure vegetarian.
Within two years, Shanthi had enough money to start a bakery. She had studied bakery by then and was also skilled. Her husband would run the hotel in his spare time. His father would also do his bit. The taste of the dishes served in the hotel brought them new customers, who also purchased a huge amount of bakery items. Shanthi intelligently concentrated on cakes, as she identified a huge demand. Over the years, she was able to buy the rented places. Today, that locality is a prime locality. The family has a huge house and everyone is happy.
All this happened, as the family enabled Shanthi to express herself. Shanthi went on to do her distance education MBA and utilized all her knowledge. It was great to hear from her, the various innovations she made in the hotel. For instance, during the summer vacation, she introduced "dosa mela," during which time, a customer could have six dosas for just Rs.100/-. Word of mouth publicity even brought her fresh party orders. She did not take on more than what she could chew. Years later, when I met the family, they were so happy that they got Shanthi was their daughter-in-law, who was so resourceful and had a natural entrepreneurial streak in her.
Teaching them good valuesThis is another vital aspect of treating the daughter-in-law as your own daughter. For generations, only good values will stand the test of time. Shanthi never reused the oil for cooking purposes and would openly declare the oil she would use for cooking. Her husband also never compromised on quality. If a customer had to be served at 11 PM, Shanthi would patiently wait till he or she came and then prepare the required items. This sincerity and honesty brought them new customers. She was a winner all the way. The supportive home environment helped her every single time she wanted to innovate in her business.
Helping them plan every stage of their livesIn the first case study, when she started doing the part time MBA in New Delhi, Vidhya's son was just one year old. He would miss his mother. This is where the grandparents chipped in. They would engage him in conversation, play with him, take him to the nearest park and so on. They would give enough time for Vidhya to concentrate on her MBA, which was a very tough course. Rather quickly, the three years flew in a flash. On the weekends, the mother-in-law would do all the cooking. Such support gave Vidhya the elbow room to plan her future career goals. In the second case study, the idea to start a bakery first came from her mother-in-law. In both the cases, the love and affection seemed straight from a good Tamil or Hindi movie. However, it only such care and affection that makes a huge difference. The positive vibrations helped both the women to grow.
Since recurring deposits were not taxed in those days, Shanthi's mother-in-law pumped all the money into long term and a few short term recurring deposits, all in Shanthi's and her husband's name. This was made possible, as she (Shanthi's mother-in-law) had a brother, who was a banker and guided her properly.
Every stage of Shanthi's life was well planned by everyone in the family and the mother-in-law and father-in-law were very supportive indeed.
Living for others tooIn the metro cities, it is often a great sign that even IT women are spending their spare time on the weekends, in some old age homes, singing and dancing with the inmates there. More often than not, thanks to a supportive environment at home, many IT professionals are quitting their jobs and entering the NGOs, even if they are based in the metros. They go around and happily spread their good work by touring the villages, where the real action happens.
Mother-in-laws, it is often observed help a great deal in this regard. This is another sign that daughter-in-laws are now being increasingly treated as daughters.
ConclusionLife can and will be hugely positive, if only mother-in-laws decide to treat their daughter-in-laws like their own daughters. The two real world, true case studies are lessons in this regard.
The lessons are worth emulating.
A very thought provoking article by the author and very educative one.
It is unfortunate that a woman never accepts her daughter in law as her own daughter. That has created a very bad and disgusting environment in the families where time and again we hear about the quarrels and break up in the family leading them from joined to nuclear.
Of course it is easy to say that a woman should not behave in a bad way with the incoming girl but human nature is very strange and the woman feels that his authority in the house is going to diminish with the arrival of this girl in the house and that is the main bone of contention between the two. Slowly as time progresses the house lady starts feeling that the love and affection of her son are now shared between the two ladies which somehow is not palatable to her.
The incoming girl initially does not show her colour but with the rude and discriminatory behaviour of her mother in law she also revolts openly and starts to counter the attacks and moves.
This all leads to a miserable life for all the family members and the only solution seems to live separately.
A very good article by the author giving the importance of treating a daughter in law as a daughter by the in-laws. There are many people who argue that the males are trying to take upper hand in the family. But the daughter in law's life after the married life mainly will be affected by the mother in law more than father in law. Generally, in these issues, the main role will be played by the ladies only. Both the females want to establish their upper hand on the male as mother and wife. In many incidents, the boy will be in a fix. Very rarely we will find a mother in law and daughter in law going together. If they go together then the life of the boy will be the happiest. Once the mother in law starts behaving well with the daughter in the law and allows her to settle well in the house, the daughter in law will also cooperate her. But here the important thing is both the ladies should understand each other and go friendly so that the entire family will be happy.
A very nice article indicating the behavioural temperaments of both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law living together in a family. Understanding each other, likings and dislikings and treating daughter-in-law as a daughter creates a positive impact on the mind frames.
We can witness the reverse of this scenario. Both the females start hiding the facts and become suspicious in relation to each other's activities. As time progresses, the relationship is severely strained. In that situation, the son cannot take the side of either of the two. His elaborate deliberation with both does not create any change in the attitude. Though both are highly educated and could appreciate feelings, a lag in maintaining a healthy relationship comes in. This is because of ego and failure in applying broad-mindedness. A little tactfulness could create a miracle in the family atmosphere.
Patience, tactfulness, politeness and understanding each other emotion would certainly strengthen the family's bond.
The article is narrating how a sweet home can be raised from a home which otherwise would have become a hell. Generally, there are cases where the relationship between the daughter-in-law and the mother of the husband create total disarray. Of course, people, in general, consider that the mother-in-law is the bone of contention. To a certain extent, this is true. But there are cases where they jointly make the home a sweet one. The cases explained in the article are clear examples of it.
I know a case in which the mother is always doing everything to please the daughter-in-law. But in return, the daughter-in-law never show a pleasing approach. She does not share the household works on her own. A grandchild is also there. The daughter-in-law attends to the child's needs only. The child is not allowed to mingle with the mother. But since the child (girl) is ten years old she independently mixes with her grandmother. But for food, the child still approaches her mother.
When all the members of the family sit together and chat, the daughter-in-law just keeps silent. She very rarely visits her husband's family house. Very often she orders eatables to the child and herself from outside, especially the supper.
In short, a happy household atmosphere is not there because of her attitude. Irrespective of her attitude, the mother-in-law helps her with all her needs. But no changes are noticed in the daughter-in-law's attitude.