How I became a Daughter to my Mother-in-law?
Hey guys! After avoiding this topic for years, I am finally putting it down on my blog. I have got many messages from friends & unknown people to know the secret of my relationship with my mother in law (MIL). The question is How to become a Daughter to a Mother-in-law? or How to make my MIL love me like her own daughter? I think we all look for an answer to these questions when things are not so cool in our relation with our MIL.
Before sharing the tips I want to mention that this is my story and not expert advice. It may or may not help you. You may or may not connect with it. The only idea behind sharing this post is to let everyone know that it is possible. You can bring that CHANGE!
Story of my Life
I had a dream to marry in a family who would accept me the way I am.
And, love me like a daughter.
Also, I was very clear that I won’t allow my parents to give dowry or any kind of gifts to the groom’s family. Neither would let anyone make them feel any less because they are the parents of a girl.
Now, I had some beliefs of my own too.
- I believe in One Superpower or One God which means no idol worship, temple visits or following rituals.
- And, I don’t believe in traditions & customs which make no sense to me.
- Instead, I strongly believe in science & evidence-based theories.
- I also believe in equality & living life on my own terms.
Luckily, I found Sumit who never questioned my beliefs & I also fell in love with his family from day 1 of our meeting. They are simple, honest and down to earth people.
Before marriage, my parents clearly mentioned about my dreams and beliefs to my to be mother-in-law and she assured them that she will love me like a daughter. I was happy because they were the only family I met who didn’t want me to change after marriage.
Reality after Marriage
I had already fallen in love with Sumit’s family & I just wanted them to be happy especially his mother. I felt a connection with her, she doesn’t have a daughter & I wanted to show her the love of a daughter. So, every time we would visit her, I tried to impress her by doing things she wanted me to do to build our relationship. Waiting to get acceptance & love in return (my biggest mistake).
And, gradually it all started feeling like a burden. I never felt that love which I was hoping to get from her. One day, I broke down in front of Sumit. I cried & cried, he was clueless & couldn’t understand what I was going through. So, to vent out I updated the status on my Facebook.
I received a lot of comments, messages & calls from friends that day but no one said ‘keep trying & don’t give up now’. Everybody wanted me to accept it as my fate which I couldn’t because I knew this was not my fate.
And, then I did another post the next day to share what was going wrong.
By putting down my thoughts on social media and discussing it openly, I realized this problem is not about MIL-DIL relationship. It’s about the mindset, everyone is suffering because of it but nobody wants to take charge and bring some change.
Then & there I knew what I had to do. I knew my MIL is not a bad person, she never treated me badly just that she never treated me the way I wanted. Maybe because she had never seen anyone treating their DIL like a daughter.
Time to Work towards Bringing a Change!
And, I did one last post on the next day because I understood what I needed to do now.
6 Tips from my Experience which helped me become a Daughter to my Mother-in-law.
TIP 1- Never expect a thing without communicating your expectations clearly.
My first mistake was trying to impress her by doing things I didn’t believe in. And yet expecting her to accept me the way I am. I never showed her my true self.
MIL is not a God, she will never know what you are feeling & what you expect if you won’t share it.
I know it is awkward to share expectations directly but believe me if communicated in a proper manner that could change your life forever. So, I took help from my husband.
Tip 2- If your husband is supportive, share your feelings with him. If he’s not, first work on your relationship.
Initially, it was not easy to convince him to help me with my plan. He suggested that I keep a distance from his mother & stop visiting her. This was not what I wanted. And, it took us 1 year 7 months to make things work. Don’t send your husband to talk to his mother about you, instead keep him as a backup in case you need help.
Even though Sumit was always supportive but we had our share of arguments on this topic. Mostly because I had no patience & wanted to see the results immediately. Remember to have patience because change doesn’t happen overnight.
Tip 3- Take initiative. If you want to improve things, talk directly to your Mother-in-law.
Remember she’s from the older generation, her beliefs may not change. But you have to try to ask for your freedom. Talk to her like you would talk to someone close, share what you feel. Chances are that she may get offended and go to her son & complain. That’s when your husband will come as a support to tackle the situation.
Go back to her & talk again. Ask her why she felt offended, use emotions, remember she’s also a woman. Take it slow! Again, don’t expect things to change overnight.
Tip 4- Make it about her and not you.
Talk to her about her life. Ask about her childhood, her dreams, what makes her happy, her fears. My mother-in-law told me she wanted to learn how to use a smartphone. She also told me that she wanted to fly in an airplane once in her life. She had never traveled far except once or twice. I felt a connection that day with her, I realized there was a little girl in her with many dreams just like me.
That day I found a purpose, I decided to fulfill her dreams. We took her to movies, we traveled, she even learned how to operate a smartphone & then she got one for herself. Now she also has an account on Instagram to like my pics. wink* wink*
I told her she deserves to live her dreams & there is no shame in that. I saw a sparkle in her eyes. I am sure that was the day she too understood me.
Tip 5- Once you feel a connection building in your relationship, talk about your beliefs & expectations.
This was the time when I felt really comfortable with her. And, I talked about the changes we should bring, something which is for the betterment of everyone. Here are a few things which we changed in our family-
- There are no formalities in the 2 families now. We meet & we have fun. We travel together.
- I am treated as a part of the family, just like a daughter.
- No gifts or money distributed in the name of ritual or custom not even to the extended family.
- I’m free to wear whatever I want. I’m free to choose which traditions I want to follow.
- And, I’m not forced for prayer or temple visits.
- I don’t cook at mother-in-law’s house unless I feel like cooking.
- I make my own decisions.
- The rule for the extended family- Give Respect, Take Respect. No strings attached!
Here’s an Instagram post I wrote 2 years back when we were going on a trip for my birthday with both my mom & mother-in-law for the first time. This was one of my dreams I used to tell my mom, to travel together as a family with no formalities.
View this post on Instagram
I want to mention that bringing this change might look easier to many of you since I am not living with my MIL under one roof. Also, my mother-in-law is not too stubborn as other MILs are as told to me by many of my friends. I don’t have a father-in-law, also no sister-in-law. And, not to forget the relatives, now they don’t have much say in our family matters. Trust me it was still not that EASY but absolutely worth the EFFORTS.
Your task would definitely become more difficult if you have to deal with all such situations. But, I am still very sure that nothing is impossible. Making or breaking a family is in our hands, just don’t give up before trying. And, don’t change yourself at any cost.
Also, please don’t assume that things can’t improve or your relationship can’t get better. Take steps towards it, fight for your rights!
In my fight, I lost many other relations who felt offended to see my mother-in-law love me like a daughter. It hurt a lot initially but I am happy with my little family & I really don’t need haters in my life.
I still have so much to share & explain but I’ll leave you guys here to ponder upon this question, hope you find your answers soon. How to become a Daughter to a Mother-in-law?
Today, I can proudly say ‘We have broken the norms and social barriers in our family’
If you liked this post and found it helpful, do share it with your friends and family.