How To Be An Exemplary Mother In Law

The most strained relationship in our society is of the SAAS-BAHU (Mother in law and daughter in law). Over the years, I have come across harrowing stories of evil mother in laws and equally evil daughter in laws. The men of the house find themselves in a predicament when these two very important relations of their lives do not get along.

The main issue in this relationship is all about control. Things are not the same everywhere but reluctance in letting go control of the house by mother in laws seems to be the common factor in most of the houses.  Mother in laws cannot accept that their beloved Munna is now a grown up man with his own family and obviously, his priorities and desires have changed. Moreover, the daughter in laws are fed since childhood that to keep the son happy, you must keep his mother happy and in the process some daughter in laws bear even inhumane conditions to make things work or sometimes the daughter in laws go to every end to try to cut off the son from his mother.

So I had often wondered that what is the solution to reduce the tension between these two very close yet very far relationships until I came across this very enlightening post on the Facebook group Soul Sisters Pakistan which has some guidelines on how to be a better mother in law. This piece goes to the core of the problem and addresses the main issue which causes the rift between a relationship that can be really beautiful if handled correctly. The original post is by Hina Jafri and is being republished on my blog with her consent.

“The root cause for most problems is the possessive behavior of mother in laws’ that leads to all the fiasco. The universe of mothers revolves around their children. It was common in older generation that once you had children your primary focus was rearing them and once they got older and on their feet, the mothers found themselves with ample free time seeking the same attention which once their younger children provided. To counter this, the big leap the newer generation of women need to take to become mother in laws is to have their OWN life!

To be a better mother in law you must:

  1. Have your own set of interests, so that you don’t obsess over your children so much!

  2. Nurture them with love and care and then see them grow, as separate entities, they spend half of their lives with you and the other half belongs to their spouse and children. Vesting too much interest and dependency upon children for emotional and financial support is the culprit.

  3. Be independent, have your retired life covered, pursue your interests like baking, knitting, reading, sports (things that you passionately enjoy)

  4. Do not leave your friends by over indulging in motherhood, make life long friendships, instill family values in your children.

  5. Become a role model right for your children from early stage of their lives so they see how an ideal married life should be

  6. Have your own goals for life, which are exclusive from your children and grandchildren.

  7. Love your children dearly but don’t own them, don’t expect something in return, don’t depend on them for happiness, don’t bank on them for support in old ages, their lifelong companionship, let them have their life.

I know these things are easier said than done but if we really ponder over them, they are not that unachievable. I haven’t written much about having a career because I understand that not everyone shares same dynamics and household setup, otherwise having a rewarding career really pays back in terms of fulfillment and satisfaction with life.

When we grow up thinking beti to ‘parai amanat’ hai, (the daughter belongs to his husband after marriage)so does the son, they both will pursue their own lives in the second phase of their lives. It’s the circle of life. Learn to move on and things will be better!”

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