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Nine times I realized I could never be my mother-in-law’s daughter

Don't just say it but mean it every time you call your daughter-in-law your daughter.

I had an arranged marriage.

My husband and I decided that we will live with his parents. There were several reasons why we chose to do that and the main one was their age. My mother-in-law is 66 and my father-in-law is 70. We wanted to be around them and support them as much as we could. They come from a traditional Indian family but they’re slowly adapting.

While they’re progressive in certain ways – I am not expected to get up and cook every day, or attend every other family event – I do end up having aggressive arguments with them on several issues.

Why should I keep a bindi every day?

Why shouldn’t I work late hours?

Why shouldn’t I get to choose if I want to have kids right after the wedding?  

These are some basic ideas we’ve argued about.

The one thing that I am constantly told is that, “You are like our daughter and we are saying this for your own good.” And yet, I’m still made to feel like an outsider. Why am I like a daughter and not their daughter? Why are their separate rules for my husband, and me? As much as I have adapted to their lifestyle, I will always be the odd one out.

Here are nine instances where I felt like a foreigner in my own house:

1. Let’s start with the food that’s made at home

A scene from the popular Hollywood movie, Monster-in-law
[Image description: A mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in the middle of a heated argument.] via
It might sound silly or even border on immaturity but when your husband gets his preferred food all the time and you don’t – it doesn’t leave you with a good feeling. Your mother always made your favorite food. I don’t expect the same treatment here. But making my choice of kheer (sweet dish) occasionally is not going to hurt anyone. Will it?

2. Him first, then me

Treat the son and the daughter-in-law equally at the dinner table.
[Image description: A cake, with two caricatures of a bride and groom sitting on top.] Via
Is there an excuse as to why your husband gets served first and then you? Clearly an example of ‘my-son-comes-first-then-it-is-you’.’ Is there a rule why the daughter-in-law is served last?

3. The son is always right

The son is always right, not the daughter-in-law.
[Image description: A man and older woman sitting on a bench together, in black and white.] Via Pexels.
There is nothing wrong a son can do. But a daughter-in-law is always wrong. Finding ways to prove her wrong is just not done. That is not cool.

4. I don’t need your suggestions

A lady showing her palm suggesting everyone to so giving her advice.
[Picture caption: A lady showing her palm to the camera with a black background.] Via
When my father-in-law lost his phone and I suggested purchasing OnePlus. My proposition was brushed aside. But when his son recommended the same phone, the phone arrived home the next day. Even if my husband and I share the same opinion – mine will always come secondary.

5. Only the son can give advice

Confused and doubt- this lady has a headache and has her heads on her head!
[Image description: A woman  with red lipstick has her heads on her head.] Via
The daughter-in-law is better off staying within her limits. My opinion or advice is unwarranted and unasked for. But I should always be open to suggestions, advice and unsolicited opinions. Does anyone know what hypocrisy sounds like?

6. Pray for the daughter-in-law as well

Keep your daughter-in-law in your prayers
[Picture description: A woman pictured from the back, sitting in an aisle in a church.] Via
While we understand that the son is the apple of your eye, he has a partner and she needs to be equally happy. Pray for them both. My son should become a manager, he should travel abroad, he needs to get a new car, or he should have a baby doesn’t work anymore.

7. Compliment her, it is not always about criticism

Be supportive and compliment her.
[Image description: A photo box on top of a wooden floor, with the letters, “you got this”.] Via
Compliment her if she is wearing new clothes, encourage her if she is trying a new dish in the kitchen, listen to her when she suggests a change at home. She is not wrong always. Nope.

8. Why should I be blamed for what the son does?

A shot from the Hindi teleseries, Ekk Nayi Pehchaan.
[Image description: An image of an older women, with her arm leaning against a younger woman, with a blurred background..] Via
Every individual is responsible for their own actions. Weren’t that what moral science classes were all about. How did the logic change after marriage? Why is the son never blamed but the daughter-in-law is blamed for everything? Isn’t that injustice of sorts?

9. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

Be transparent and have heart to heart conversations just like the two women.
[Image description: Two women pictured having a conversation over a table.] Via
Cold wars and passive-aggressive treatments are especially custom made for daughters-in-law. How hard is it to communicate? Why is it so difficult to be straight-forward and say things up-front? Make your daughter-in-law, your daughter. Be sweet, firm, treat her equally, and welcome her with open arms, and she may do the same as well.