Today I saw an old Hindi movie, Sau Din Saas ke.It depicts the attitude of a mother-in-law toward her DIL. The movie showed the atrocities to an extent, which cannot be believed. It made me think of this MIL/DIl relationship in real life. This is one relationship which has been been most talked about and 'exploited ' so much.Generally the MIL is depicted as a scornful demon and the DIL as a 'bechari'(a poor sufferer).
If we analyse the reality, we cannot put an accusing finger on either the DIL or MIL Unfortunately this problem is universal. Human nature is the same every where. When a girl walks into her in-laws house after marriage, she comes with a predetermined notion that she is a new comer and may not be accepted as a member of the family. The MIL, on the other side of the fence feels that the 'bahu' will take control of the household, including her son. She assumes that the house where she has been the mistress all her life will be taken over by the new bride and she will lose her importance. The very foundation of this relation starts on a note of suspicion by each side. To have a harmonious relationship, this notion of suspicion must change. It is for the MIL to take the first step in this direction. The bride, who is entering the house must be made to feel that she an important part of the family and not as an outsider. If the DIL enters the house with an open mind, half the battle is won.
The husband's role is also very important. He has to keep a balanced attitude. The mother should not get the impression that the son is neglecting her. The wife too must not have a notion that after marriage her husband is still a mammas baby. The mother must allow the couple to live their own life and must not interfere in their personal matters. She must not criticise her DIL in front of others. She must treat her DIL like a daughter. Even mother and daughter have differences, but these are not discussed publically. The DIL too must realize that the MIL is old, and may be having some idiosyncrasy, which must be ignored. A close friend, who retired from a very high position is staying all alone. Her husband died , soon after she retired. She has three sons living independently with their wives, in houses gifted to them by my friend. She is very ill but none of her sons is willing to take her to his house, because their wives don't want any 'interference'.
I have experienced life both as a DIL and a MIL. I can state with confidence that I had the best of relations with my MIL and now with my DIL. We have been living together happily and contented for the last twenty five years. A friend of mine once told me that she was ill treated by her DIL. I advised her to treat her DIL like her own daughter and see the change. I met her recently after many years and felt happy that both of them were living in peace.