We’ve been talking to a few desi mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law dotted around India, the Middle East and US. It appears they have a lot to say to each other, whether they live together or not. Here’s what the mothers-in-law want their bahus to know:
- We’ve got a life, you know. Babysitting your kids isn’t the top thing on our agenda every day.
- We raised our kids without maids or assistance and with even crabbier mums-in-law.
- No, you may not wear my jewellery without permission.
- My son was a much nicer person before he married you.
- I’d appreciate some appreciation for my contributions to your life.
- I don’t think too much of your cooking.
- Daughters-in-law these days are a pampered lot; they expect to be treated like daughters.
- But I cannot treat you like I treat my daughter. Many reasons.
- I wish we could be friends. I’d like to have someone I can really talk to.
- I do love you, even if I may not always show it. You are taking forward my legacy.
And then we asked the daughters-in-law what they’d like their mothers-in-law to know. This is what they said:
- We work all day, look after your son, our own kids, and just expect a little relief when you’re around. Is that too much to ask?
- You’re overly critical and nasty, and have unreasonable expectations of me. I am what I am and I cannot be you.
- I don’t think too much of your fashion sensibility.
- Your son is different when you’re around. I miss him then.
- I don’t agree with your parenting techniques.
- I love your cooking.
- I hate that friend of yours who comes in every week and leaves you even more critical of me.
- How could you leave the kid alone to go shopping when I was at work? How could you?
- I wish we could be friends. As I grow older, I think it would be good to have an (even) older woman’s support.
- I do love you, even if I may not always show it. You’re precious to my husband.
(Pictures of Jaya Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for representative purposes only — since we couldn’t get any of the real saas-bahu interviewees to give us theirs.)