Throughout my childhood, my parents stood by me in the toughest situations, gave wings to my weirdest dreams and showed firm belief in my capabilities. Even when I myself believed otherwise!
I was not only at the top in my academics as a kid, but when I grew up I was also a high performer at my workplace. It seemed I was ready to handle any kind of situation with grace and maturity. Hardly I knew how less my school education or professional experience prepared me to handle the real-life situations.
With the support of my parents, everything was easy to handle until marriage happened to me. Before you judge my husband, I want to put a disclaimer that he is one of the best things that happened to me. What was not the best – was my reaction to certain tough interpersonal conflicts while adjusting to a new family. I wish I knew how to handle those conflicts in a more peaceful and mature way.
I wish I could advise my younger self what it could have done in certain situations – the situations when I felt devastated.
The only solution that I had was to cry because I felt my self-respect was hurt and my pride was crushed under the foot by certain people. I didn’t know what to say or how to handle these situations as I was never prepared for them. I would not have felt hurt if I understood what I know now, years after it has all happened!
But now with some life experience, I want to share these 6 situations with my younger self to tell what I should or shouldn’t have done to ensure a less hurtful and happy married life.
So here goes:
Situation 1: When your mother-in-law tells you that they do not have a maid and they do their own work, then please don’t stretch yourself so much to impress her that while doing house chores, you fall sick. And, because of which you won’t be able to complete your key office assignment on time.
Yes, there is a lot of pride in keeping the house clean all by yourself, but you have a lot of other priorities like to finish office assignment within the given timelines so that it doesn’t affect your performance and career. So, please mention it politely that you feel it’s a good time to introduce a maid as you need help with home chores. As you plan to work at the office every day, you won’t have enough time to spend on cleaning the house or washing the utensils.
Don’t hesitate to nudge your husband to help you during these discussions. You might be surprised to know what a great team player he is. Try to make him understand how much money they will save if you keep working towards your promotion without having to worry about household chores.
Situation 2: When your mother-in-law doesn’t understand your passion towards your career and labels you as a greedy person. Don’t spend even a single moment questioning your goals or thinking that you are greedy. And, don’t even let yourself be poisoned against your mother-in-law. Because poison never helps anyone!
Rather, politely tell her that working in the office gives you exposure and strength to handle any tough situations in life. God forbid, if life throws you a curve ball and your husband or your family needs you to take care of them, you would be better prepared. And do not forget to mention that how your support helps her son to live a more relaxed and less stressful life.
But, don’t break her self-confidence by telling her that it is important for every woman to work outside the home. Explain to her that it is all about personal choices. All women don’t work for money and all who decide not to work are not lazy.
Situation 3: When your mother-in-law tells you that she has already decided the year you should have children (the year, after her daughter has a child) and shares her plan with you. Rather than sulking or complaining about it to your husband or your mother, be ready to handle it on your own.
Try to make her feel that you have listened to her plan and you are really touched as you could see how much time has she spent on thinking about the details. But, do mention that her son and you have put together a plan to ensure the family is financially and emotionally ready to handle this important responsibility!
Situation 4: When your mother-in-law keeps mentioning that the house you’re staying at is legally in her name and she can choose to pass it to her daughter in her will, please don’t panic or react in an emotional manner.
Some things are said to hurt you but rather than giving the other person the power to hurt you, find out the reason why she is saying that. And, if you can’t find any reason then use these words as an inspiration to build your own house. Start planning for buying a house in your own name. Reach out to banks to understand how much you need to save to start applying for a home loan. And every time you hear similar things, use it to inspire yourself rather than getting demotivated or agitated.
Situation 5: When your mother-in-law tells you that the electricity bill has increased because you have started using the water heater, then don’t curse your fate. The whole purpose of working so hard is to be financially independent.
Rather than shedding tears, politely offer to pay up your share or even better, offer to pay the entire bill yourself. And, do ask if she feels that there is any other expense that is on the rise because of you. If yes, please offer to take care of all those raised expenses.
Situation 6: When your MIL deliberately reduces the quantity of soup in your bowl to increase the quantity in your husband’s bowl. Rather than storming back into the room, think about how you can avoid that from happening in the future.
Remember how your husband had mentioned about the tough times his mother had seen and how she had always tried to protect him. It might just be her maternal instincts making her do what she is doing. Don’t read this particular action as a sign that she doesn’t accept you or she doesn’t love you. Read it as a sign that she wants the best for her son.
Find the right time to tell her that in your house every family member gets an equal share. Politely mention that you would like to serve yourself, as you would like to decide how much quantity of soup you will drink. And promise yourself that if you have a son tomorrow, you won’t do this to his wife.
I hope these incidents from my life can give you a heads up of what might come your way once you get married. It’s important to remember that the moment you let someone upset you, you lose the power to them. So, make sure you maintain your calm and handle such tough situations with the same maturity as you would handle them in your professional life.
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