How do you spend the whole day with your mother-in-law (MIL) once your husband goes for work? Do you keep your mother-in-law company so that she doesn’t get bored? Do both of you cook together, eat together or even watch TV together?
These dilemmas are faced by all women (working or housewives), but I personally feel that housewives are the bigger victims here. When I joined the family, I was a working woman, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, my job ended. I live in an extended family (with my MIL and FIL), so after my hubby and father-in-law leave for work, my mother-in-law and I are alone at home for the rest of the day i.e. morning till evening.
Initially, it felt quite awkward because my mother-in-law and I are two different personalities. Her idea of spending the day was very different from mine. She wanted to spend the entire day doing everything from cooking to lunch to household chores “TOGETHER” with her Bahu Rani i.e. me. I’d like to add here that I don’t hate my MIL for this mindset, or it’s not as if she was forcing me to comply with her standards.
Today’s women are very different from the old generation. The old generation was more focused on being perfect homemakers. The roles were clearly defined; the man being the breadwinner while the woman was solely responsible for the household and kids. Nowadays, the roles have changed a lot, with the women being more educated, career-oriented, and playing an equal role in being the breadwinners for the family.
The point I’m trying to make is that due to this huge change in roles and mindset, the women nowadays like to spend their time differently as compared to their mothers-in-law. For instance, instead of spending the whole day with my mother-in-law like a typical bahu from the movie, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain,’ once my Hubby leaves for work, I would like to:
- Wear my gym shorts and top, place my yoga mat, play some aerobics and yoga exercises on my LED TV, and do some exercise for an hour or so.
- Take rest after exercise, listen to some songs or read motivational quotes, or watch a motivational video.
- Lie down, rest, and sleep as I please.
- Read books
- Spend some time updating my CV, browsing LinkedIn, exploring freelancing options or applying for new jobs
- Practice meditation/ think in silence
I would love to take on the above tasks without my MIL. It’s essential and healthy to spend some time alone with yourself. This concept of personal space does not exist in our Asian cultures. However, I don’t mean that you fully ignore your mother-in-law the whole day and don’t talk to her at all. You could keep a balance by sharing the following tasks with her:
- Make and eat healthy breakfast
- Take on some chores, like washing clothes, dusting, etc.
- Cook lunch or dinner
- Keep an allotted time for some healthy conversation with your mother-in-law
I can say from my personal experience that maintaining the right balance is very important. My advice to all the new generation Bahus would be to try the above tips. That way, they would get some ‘ME’ time and would stop getting frustrated on the fact that they are expected to spend the whole day with their MILs. It would take some time for the MIL to get used to this new mindset, but they can’t really complain when you are able to keep a fair balance between her and your personal space.
Happy Survival ☺