BaeWatch: “My Mother-In-Law Leaves No Opportunity To Complain To My Mom”
India’s culture of living with your parents has its pros and cons. It means that – like Aishwariya Rai Bachchan said in an interview – you don’t have to take an appointment from your parents to see them. But it also means limited freedom to do a lot of things and living with your husband’s family. If you gel well with them and they are not difficult people, I’d say more the merrier. But God knows how many men have mothers that get very territorial when they get married. Again, it’s not like every mother-in-law will be troubling their DIL, but we can’t deny the existence of many who do – intentionally or unintentionally.
When a woman wrote to us describing how her mother-in-law complains to her mom, every time she feels dissatisfied with her, I was really surprised. Is that common? I mean, I know one friend whose MIL complained but that was once and that too was called out by her family. That’s about it. But when all of us discussed, I realised it’s more common than I thought. To think of it, this is really bad and no woman deserves to be constantly under stress for such things.
So Team Hauterfly decided to help her out, with opinion and advice that may improve her situation.
My mother-in-law, many a times, acts like a school teacher who must complain to my parents when their daughter errs. The other day, she called up my mother to tell her that I spent the entire Sunday evening relaxing on my bed, instead of socialising with the family. A few days before that, she called up my mom to tell her that I ended up putting more salt in the sabzi and how they should have trained me to accurately handle measurements. When I am busy with work-from-home and I end up not helping her with a domestic chore, she complains. I feel like I am in school and honestly, this is annoying not just me but also my mother. How do I handle this constant complaining? I want to feel like this is my home too but it makes me feel like she is doing a big favour by letting me stay there and I must be perfect or my parents will get a consumer complaint! How do I handle this?
“Tell her you want her to talk to you straight up”
Mansi Shah, Managing Editor: “First of all, your MIL, wow. This must be pretty exhausting. She needs to stop but I know it’s not as simple as telling her to do that. Also because it has been really building up, so you might explode and that’s not going to go down well. You want to tell her that this chugli karoing to your mom isn’t the healthiest way to deal with a problem (if it’s even one). Sit your MIL down, tell her that this won’t work. Tell her you want her to talk to you straight up. Not this complain to your mom like it’s some adult version of the PTA. Secondly, speak to your mom and also ask her to put her foot down. Tell her to tell your MIL that this sort of conversation is not appreciated. If she can’t be that confrontational, ask to her change the topic.”
“Ask your mom to deter her from such behaviour in a polite manner”
Akanksha Narang, Features Head: “It seems like your mother-in-law has boundary issues, in the sense she thinks it’s okay to constantly stay in touch with your mother to complain about you. In fact, you are right; it does feel like she bought a product and she has been calling up customer care to complain each time it glitches. It makes you feel belittled and over-scrutinised. At your own home, you are allowed to be imperfect and here, she expects you to be a certain way. And if you don’t comply, she thinks complaining to your mom will establish her superiority – over you and your mother.
First things first, talk to your mother and let her know that she doesn’t need to pay any heed to your MIL. In fact, when she calls her up, ask your mom to deter her from such behaviour in a polite manner. You know, like she can tell her that her daughter is an adult and she is sure that they both can find a mutually beneficial arrangement for things to work. When your MIL realises that she isnt getting an apologetic, embarrassed response from your mom, she will find the activity to be a futile one.
Second, ask your husband to talk to his mother about this behaviour. It’s your home too and you should be comfortable enough to make mistakes. In fact, a lot of things you pointed out aren’t even mistakes, per se. So maybe he can help his mother understand that he is not perfect and neither is she. Having said that, there are high chances she will not understand that because she seems to look at bahus from a stereotypical perspective. But the conversation will, much to her annoyance, set the boundaries in place. You will be able to live peacefully then. If you’re feeling a little evil, this might also give her a dose of her own complaining medicine! Eventually, if it is an option, seeking to move out can do you both some good.”
“Remember to keep calm and deal with her”
Mitali Shah, Lifestyle Writer: “I completely understand your dilemma. I’ve never been through it, but I can understand how utterly frustrating it might be. If I were you, I would try coming to a common ground with my mother in law. From what I have seen from my friends who are married, many mothers-in-law like to annoy the daughters-in-law in some way or another. If you talk to her and explain to her that sometimes you just want to relax or that you can’t work and do domestic chores but none of that means you are unwilling, I am sure you’ll can come to a conclusion that is suitable for both of you’ll. Tell her that constantly complaining isn’t going to solve anything. If nothing works, tell your mother to just ignore because sometimes, no matter what you do it might not be enough. At the end of the day, you have to remember to keep calm and deal with her because getting enraged will not solve anything.”
Baewatch is Hauterfly’s weekly service to women everywhere. We are giving no-holds-barred, funny, interesting answers to your relationship problems. We’re not experts so you may end up married or broken up. It could go either way. *shrugs*