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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Missing Counsel

Case- DIL vs rest of the ILs
Advice to DILs- been given and argued out in many forums
Here comes the rest of the counsel
Disclaimer- This is not my experience. It is collective wisdom gathered over a period of time
To all the forward thinking ILs- This is not meant to insult you. This is in answer to many households who believe that the advice doled out bears merit

1. It is not enough to just welcome the DIL with open arms into the household on the day of marriage in front of everybody. One must also make her feel welcome and part of the family through and through.
-So if you give her the master bedroom with the only attached bathroom during the first week of her stay- continue to do that, because the newly weds would need that more than the rest of the family needs it.
-If you feel it is not right for her to cook for the entire household during the first few days, continue to feel so because after 3 days she will not morph into a cooking machine. The rest of the household should move their backside and do their bit in helping out as much as possible.
-If you encourage the newly weds to go out alone for their honeymoon or to catch a movie, do not frown on them if they want to continue doing that without taking the lot of you with them.
2. The DIL is now the Chief Executive of the house. The rest of you can be board members/ (senior) directors if you may please. You play the role of advisory but it is upto the CEO to execute. Remember, once again, the CEO is the ultimate decision maker. The rest of you are advisory and refrain from unsolicited advice unless it's really crucial for you to speak up. If so, do it tactfully. Do not hurt the feelings. This is like a relay race. You got to pass the baton if you want to ultimately emerge a winner as a team. Else you remain static and do not progress.
-Where the DIL goes and whom she visits is upto her. Do not question or prevent
-Trust the CEO- you have voted her in so you would have seen some qualities in her worthwhile to your household.
-Do not compete for her post. You are past your prime. Take Voluntary Retirement before you are unceremoniously thrown out.
3. Support the DIL at all times especially in the initial stages. It will reap more rewards than you can think of.
-So if you feel your son or brother is being unfair to the wife, do not hesitate to protest and make him see sense. It is easier to get back into the good books of your son/ brother than the DIL.
-In an unfortunate event of you becoming a witness to any quarrel between the couple, either scoot or support the DIL. Why? See above in red or go to this link.
4. The DIL is the certified better half of the son. So now stop behaving as you have the complete right over him
-Do not hog his time. Forget about late night chats with him. If it has to happen, it has to be done strictly in the DIL's presence.
-Allow the couple to cozy on together in privacy in shared resources like the sofa, TV, car, garden etc. Give them space. You could tactfully walk away into your own room when the son/ DIL come home after a long day at work instead of pouncing on them immediately
-Allow the DIL to talk of relevant events of the day to her husband instead of you being the mouthpiece. You can be the mouthpiece for your own husband.
-Do not butt in if the couple talk something to each other. If it had been of any conseuqence to you, they would have involved you. Probably they are discussing something that is too embarassing for you to listen to. So mum's the word
5. If you want to eat something specific- make it yourself. Don't expect the DIL to magically know how you like your food made.
- if your son likes a specific recipe do not nag the DIL to make it - if you wanted him to eat that same food all the time, you should have taught him how to make it.
6. If you find your son romantically helping out the DIL, do not crib or taunt on how he never helped you. Blame it on your managment skills and crawl back into your hole.
-don't pretend that the tyrant DIL is overworking your poor son and start lending him a helping hand. I repeat, crawl back into your hole.
7. Whenever you buy a gift for the couple, ensure that the gift for the DIL is equal in stature or value to what you give your son.
-rerfain from giving cheap unbranded stuff, sale stuff or dowdy or fake clothes. Nothing but the real thing for the real gem of DIL who is coming to grace your home.
8. Your DIL is the representative of your house. Do not sit and gossip with neighbours of her age now.
-As I said, back off into your hole or den or whatever you wish to call it.
9. You make a fool of yourself if you compete with DIL in domains where your skill sets are low.
-It makes better sense to tell yourself- I am not competing.
10. She is the DIL. She is not a cleaning machine to pick up wet towels, put your dirty laundry in the machine, stash away smelly shoes, make beds, switch off lights, fan, gas or taps after all of you.
-Remember the mantras
- each one for oneself
-do unto others as they do unto you- so if you want your DIL to pick up after you, you lead by example- pick up after her first.
11. And finally, don't try to force fit your grandchildren's looks/ behaviour to your side of the family. Remember she is the mother who bore the child for 40 weeks. It is nature's way of ensuring that the child has to take after the mom in some way or the other.
-Since you cannot beat them(nature), join them. Sing profusely how the child is just like the mother. It will reap more rewards than you can think of.

Edited to add

a smart MIL pheonix Ritu adds her counsel

I quote from her and applaud...
You have handed over your son to his wife. She is his first priority - not you. So chill okay. If he spends more time with her, dont sulk. If they do want to go out with you or spend time with you, they would come and be with you. Its their zamana, not yours. Plus at this age, you would not survive their pace, their food, their loud music. Notice I said “their” They are a team now, you are the bystander. Accept it.
Lastly and most importantly ….. Be nice to the girl your son brings home - remember that she is the one who will be around when you are old and frail. Also she is the mother of the grandchildren you hope to pamper.


Nita said...

I was moved by your post. I think it's great that you came up with this advice, sorely needed.
I think you have been rather nice to the in-laws! I have seen cases where even basic politeness is dispensed with while talking to the DIL. Even servants are treated better as the in-laws are afraid they might leave.

Shobana said...

Well written, very much needed post. I guess all IL's must be given a copy of this one and if need be, beaten into their heads. I especially liked the "crawl back into your hole".

the mad momma said...

guruji - aapke pair kidhar hain!?

fantastic post.

Miniyamma said...

Wonderfully written. You have spoken for all of us. Unfortunately we don't have the guts to send this to the right audience!
Loved the part about finding only their family resemblances in the kids. Funnily even normal things that kids do would turn into something unique that only their son used ot do when he was a baby!.
Btw, am a regular reader at your blog - and must say how much I appreciate and look upto the person that I see from your writings.

Jayashree said...

Iam LOL picturing my MIL's face if she reads this piece......
Very well written....

Mama - Mia said...

hehe!! good going woman!! :)

since i dont stay with my ILs, i do blv in giving one on one time to MILs and M simply because if she could do it earlier, no reason why she shudnt be able to do it now!! ofcos once in a while is the key word here! :p and its also 'coz i know M doesnt hide anything of consequence from me!!

hats off girl!!



Indian Home Maker said...

Absolutely loved it!
Linking it to my post on Mr Uttam Dave. You know what? The Mumbai Mirror aught to publish this advise instead that dumb, retro piece. And the line about it being easier to win back a son/brother than the DIL/SIL is so wise. You could send it as a response to that article...
Adding you to my Blog Roll :)

WaitingforSunshine said...

I second IHM. That way the targeted audience will get to read it.. :). Great post.

apu said...

nice post! haven't been here for a while...its good to see that you come up with so many different and interesting stuff regularly.

@lankr1ta said...

Awesome advice, now if only a lot of people even did 10% of this

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is amazing advice! I loved the part about the DIL being the CEO and the in-laws taking VRS. :) Very well put and so true too! Now if only everyone would follow it...

Nice blog btw, I've been here many times, delurking for this wonderful post!

Trish said...

This is the best post I have read in days... So well written.. every point correct and very apt..I think.. They should make every IL take a course and these points should be printed and handed out,before the SON gets married!
Very well written Itchy!

Anonymous said...

LOLLL, brought back memories of my being a DIL. Crawling out of my hole to comment in here ;). I am linking you to my observations from the other side of the fence

Monika said...

lovely post enjoyed reading it :) and btw my son's name is OJAS too :)

Itchingtowrite said...

nita- exactly, thy seem to think DILs are not anybody's daughter at all.
shobana- if only we cud
MM- thanks
mini- thanks. gets my goat if my kids ar not likened to me
jayshree- ;)
mama mia- ys, if it is occassional, we wud encourage thm but if it is hogged & snatched, w compete
IHM/ sunshine- did that- gave the linkapu/ alankrita/ jotting- thankstrish- xactly- i want to rememebr when my sons grow up
ritu- linkd back yours. thanks for stopping by
monika- same pinch!

Random Vignettes said...

Oh man this needs to be mailed out to all existing and prospective MIL's..umm am gonna take one too just in case I have a boy ;)

Very well written...

Anonymous said...

Now, this is what I call an awesome post! *Taaliyan*


karmickids said...

Brilliant babe, just brilliant. Now if I could only get this translated into Hindi and posted to dear MIL. Especially point No 11.

karmickids said...

BTW, Nita's comment is true. Experienced it firsthand in the early days.

Sue said...

Aww Itchy... calm down.

And this reminds me, how about meeting at your place instead? I have a job to do there!

Renu said...

though written with tongue in cheek, advice is good and true, and now a days the same is happening atleast in my home, now please give some advice for DIL also, I am waiting for that:)

Annie said...

Hey Nita,

Amazing post, brilliantly written...I just loved this:
"This is like a relay race. You got to pass the baton if you want to ultimately emerge a winner as a team. Else you remain static and do not progress."
So very true....couldn't have put in better words..Hats off to you..

Imp's Mom said...

Oh I so love this post! Amazing advice...

Princess said...

I must remember all of this when I become a MIL :P
Thankfully my MIL is guilty only of a few transgressions.

kumar said...

Great advice. Few things..
1. In practice it does not really work when IL is advised by DIL, son or even blogs. It should, but it does not. Please take a step to advice MOMs. Daughters do a better job.

Princess, your MIL must have taken the same decision while she was DIL. You know that would not work. Think of all possibility your DIL would expect when you will IL(may be after 20/25 years).