Dear Perfect Mother-in-law,
When we met for the first time, you made me feel so special. You made me feel so loved. You gave me the perception that whatever happens, you will protect me like your other kids. You gave your words to my parents that you won’t treat me any lesser than your daughter. For a daughter, who always wanted her mother to be a strong mother, you were like a perfect role model she was looking for her entire life.
I was thrilled to be your daughter-in-law because I felt that being a strong woman yourself, you will respect and love the other woman! You won’t be like other MILs who become jealous of their younger & independent daughter-in-law.
Even after 5 years of my marriage, I don’t remember a moment when you were jealous of me. But, I do remember millions of moments when you made me feel incapable, stupid, and unloved! When you made it very clear how I couldn’t meet your standards of perfection! When you made sure your friends, relatives, neighbors know the blunders and mistakes that your DIL made.
Don’t get me wrong! You made me learn so many things! I definitely have learned more from you than from my own mother.
The way you handle yourself in family get-togethers to the way you manage things in the kitchen to the way you cook some amazing dishes, you have left me in awe of you so many times. For the past 30 years, how you are playing the role of a perfect wife and perfect mother is quite inspiring. But, what left me heartbroken was when you expected me to take the baton forward.
When you wanted me to perform all the activities at your level of perfection. When you refused to give me any leniency when I failed to do things perfectly. When you overburdened me without even realizing that I was a newly married bride, who not only had to adjust to the new ways of the family but also had to pursue her career!
You couldn’t accept that I had different plans for myself than yours. I couldn’t find the purpose of my life in the four walls of the kitchen. I had no issues in cooking but what I wanted was to seek support from others too! It broke my heart when you shamed and insulted me for suggesting to do household chores together. You labeled me as incompetent and stupid at the way I handle things in the kitchen. You refused to acknowledge that I may not even want to acquire your level of perfection in the kitchen. You rather called my degrees useless because they didn’t make me ready to perform household chores at your level of perfection.
You made it very clear that doesn’t matter how ambitious a woman is, if she couldn’t perform household chores like a pro, she is useless!
You left no chance to make me feel stupid, useless, and incompetent. You made sure that your friends know how your daughter-in-law couldn’t make round chappatis.
You made sure that your relatives know how your daughter-in-law watches youtube videos to make the basic dishes. You made sure that your neighbors know that your daughter-in-law burnt the vegetables while you came for her rescue. Every time the shine you get in your eyes because of the ego boost you get by bringing out the faults in my culinary skills shows how much you like when I falter!
Yes, I don’t arrange my cupboards like you; Yes my cupboards are in chaos, But I don’t want every relative in the family to know it. I am so stretched between office work and family commitments that I don’t have time. But, rather than applauding my effort, you make sure that everyone knows how bad I am when it comes to household chores!
Dear Perfect Mother-in-law, I don’t need your so much unsolicited advice. Thanks but no thanks. You don’t need to tell me how I am not a perfect cook, how I haven’t been a great homemaker; how I am a bad wife and a daughter-in-law; You don’t need to give me tutorials to make me a perfect homemaker. I don’t need them because I don’t want to become!
It is heartbreaking how I am the only one who needs to carry the burden of your perfection. I don’t want to. I really like you but don’t push me so much that my heart gets filled with hate. Please don’t make me hate you! Can you just accept that I may have different dreams than yours! I may have a different plan for myself than yours.
Dear Mother-in-law, can we just follow ‘Live & Let Live’ – the ultimate guru mantra for a peaceful relationship. Can you just stop shaming and insulting me for failing at your unrealistic expectations? Can you?