Even though many men and women around the world are trying hard to make our world a better place for women, there are still many women among us, who are trying hard to ‘keep women in their place’; who are trying hard to control and manipulate them through regressive patriarchal thought-process.
And, my letter is to one such woman – my mother-in-law – who rather than supporting another woman, leaves no chance to shatter her pride and confidence.
I understand that you went through a lot of pain when you got married 30 years ago. But, I wonder when will you understand just because you were put through something so painful; you don’t have to put your daughter-in-law through the same?
I understand you didn’t have the freedom to wear what you liked; you didn’t have the freedom to talk in presence of men; you were told that you weren’t equal to men of the house. I understand that you fought really hard to be treated as an equal partner in your marriage; you did things just for the sake of family even though that meant you have to sacrifice your happiness.
But what I cannot understand is after all that you have done to be perceived as equal to men, you expect the younger generation in your family to sit quietly and just “accept things the way that they are in YOUR family”. Even when they are unfair and immoral in some case.
Dear Mother-in-law, the times have changed!
While you might be busy trying hard to treat me like an outsider, here is the truth that you don’t want to listen – This is my family too! Just like you want your husband’s love, so do I! The way you want to be respected by your family, so do I! The way you want to live life on your own terms, so do I!
When you fought so hard for your rights, then why are you trying so hard to take away mine? Why you tend to manipulate your son against me? Why you tend to control my life choices so much? Why are you making my life so difficult just because my dreams and desire are different than yours? So were yours from your mother-in-law!
Your son married me even knowing after that I am a woman with voice; I am a woman with opinions! While your son admires how his wife can raise opinions without any fear, you tend to shame and blame me for being vocal in front of the family!
Every time you shame me or insult me, I wish you could see how the one person you were hurting the most is your own son? How could you be so selfish that you cannot put aside your ego for your son’s happiness?
You keep saying you are open-minded. But are you really? Every time, we tend to do things that are against your wishes, you emotionally blackmail us to take us on a guilt trip so that we do as you please!
It is heartbreaking how you insult, disrespect, and treat me like I have been put on this Earth to cook and clean for you. It disgusts me how you are trying to teach your son that the right place for women is in the kitchen; the real dharma of me in his life is to cook, clean, and serve his family.
You fought so hard to be sure you weren’t treated this way, so why are you treating me this way? And why are you advising your son to treat me this way?
Dear Mother-in-law, if you spent half as much time empowering your daughter-in-law as you spent in manipulating your son, our relationship would have been so beautiful; the world would have been so beautiful!
To all the mothers-in-law across the world, please take some time to remember the pain that you went through when you got married; Remember how you were treated like a doormat; Remember the pain you felt after being shamed and insulted by your mother-in-law!
After remembering your sufferings, I hope you would show some love and affection towards your daughter-in-law. You will welcome her into your family as you dreamt for yourself. I hope you would show her that how good mother-in-law supports and builds daughter-in-law, rather than tarnishing them down!
Please empower, support, and love your daughter-in-law and I am sure she will shower with love, respect, and care! Your daughter-in-law deserves the love and respect that you were deprived of.
Please break the chain and lay the foundation of a better future this relationship!