It is heart-breaking how some people have the capacity of turning your loving marriage into an endless competition. A shameless competition that shouldn’t be there in the first place. I am talking about the competition that many mothers-in-law set-up in the love of their son.
The Competition of who has more rights on their son and our husband?
The Competition of who is more important – Mother or Wife?
The Competition of whom he will spend more time with?
The Competition of whom he will love more – Mother or Wife?
If you are married and you are not able to relate to what I am talking about, then you are very lucky. And, I am happy for you. But, just because it’s not your reality, that doesn’t mean, it isn’t true!
Falling In Love
I was 24 years old when I met Raghav. We met at a college fest and just fell for each other. Our colleges were in different cities but he made sure he makes two visits to my college in a month. He traveled in trains for almost eight hours just to meet me. By the last year of college, we were sure about each other and wanted to spend our lives together. But, I got a job in Gurugram and he got it in Bangalore. Within a year, he shifted to Gurugram and we got married with our parents’ blessings.
My Mother-in-law & Unwanted Competition
Things became different when my father-in-law retired and my in-laws moved to stay with us. I never had any issue staying with in-laws though it meant that we won’t be as free as we were before. But, it’s fine. As at a certain age, we kids should take care of our parents!
While I was looking forward to my in-laws stay with us, no one told me that I was actually entering into an endless competition with my mother-in-law.
From day 1, my mother-in-law made it very clear that she has a problem with how I manage the house. She made it very clear that neither I was competent at managing the household nor I was capable to cook his son’s favorite dishes. Basically, I was useless and lesser than her at everything.
From time to time, she made it a point to let the family know she knows my husband more than me. Like many sons, my husband pretends to agree with a lot of things on the face of his parents. But, later opens up how he agrees to his parents’ regressive thoughts just out of respect.
I was having no issues because I know even if she was competing against me, I won’t compete against her for any reason. But, things got worse with time. My ignorance of her taunts or ill-treatment was mistaken as my weakness. My silence to maintain peace at home was mistaken as a lack of strength.
The real issue came up when she started having issues with me spending alone time with my husband! When she created drama to make sure my husband and I don’t make any weekend plans! Whenever we used to come home from any get-together, she would taunt us – how I need to be more responsible and take up more responsibilities at home? And, within no time, she started picking up fights if she sees me spending time with him.
One day, she taunted me,
“I am his mother, I know him more than you. You just know him for 4 years, I know him for the last 29 years. Sometimes, you should listen to elders, Bahurani. Badon Ki Sunne Se Tum Chotti Nahin Ho Jaugi!
As I was controlling my calm, she further continued shamelessly:
“Actually, it’s not your problem. Your Mummy and Papa were both working, so they weren’t able to spend time to teach you about sanskaar! It’s our dharma to respect elders!”
To which, I couldn’t take it anymore. And, I said –
“Mummyji, my parents have taught me respect is a two-way street. If the person respects you, only then give them respect. And, if elders do some stupid stuff, then try to forgive them. But, if they keep doing it and hurt you and your dignity, then take a stand for yourself. So, my parents have taught me much more than you can even imagine.
Additionally, you may know Raghav more than I know. But, please stop this idiotic competition between me and you. If it gives you any motivation to end this competition, then you won and I lost. Ok. Happy? I don’t want to take your place in Raghav’s life, but you shouldn’t try to take mine!”
Realizing that I can answer back, my mother-in-law tried to end the conversation and moved out of the room. But, it got me wondering: It doesn’t matter how good you are to some people, they will never value you. It’s better to let them know that you are not weak so that they don’t hurt you again and again! Because in the end – “Respect is a two-way street! You get what You give.”