Most of the world sees marriage as a union of two people, a synchronisation of two lives. In India, however it needs the coordination of an entire football team. The daughter in law, is a helpless umpire, without cards or penalities and is expected to raise the cap at every abuse hurled.
Ideally its best to live next door and visit each other but the prices of poperty and the protests of parents might be one of the few reasons that you do not have a choice.
So here are some tips:
1. Define authority responsibility areas : Two women one kitchen is rarely a good idea. Yet two mother figures, for the kids in the house makes the former seem like piece of cake to manage though. Now throw in generation gap and we have a nightmare on our hands. Choices from “who eats what” to what the kids wear/see/do/go may lead to everlasting battles leaving you wondering of the soldiers at panipat had an easier life.
You might just need to sit down with a pen and paper and write who decides what. And if you suddenly spring this idea, you’re obviously going to be labelled as a ” housebreaker” or disrespectful at least. You might need to introduce it with the helplessness of sita and the dramatics of draupadi… But once in place and respected. It might make your life so much easier
2. Manage expectations : If you woke up at 5 the day after your wedding and had a bath and a breakfast plate ready by 6.30. Girl, you might as well have signed a slavery contract. If you aim to please … You can’t avoid the expectations. Be real be polite and be firm. There’s only so much you can manage in the long run. If you’re doing all that atleast be in bed by 10, you dont need the dark circles yet.
3. Create a retreat: A corner, a balcony , even a chair in your room where you are not bothered by anyone. Light up some incense, plug on the earphones and transport yourself. You deserve it!
4. Choose your battles wisely : Know this really really well. Accept it, memorize it and revise it every single day. Theres no point losing your sanity to depression, guilt, anxiety or any other negativity. Even after choosing wisely, you might not win them all but the key lies in knowing which ones are worth screaming over.
5. Set limits and boundaries politely and enforce them : Some things are non negotiable if you want to stay sane. The list might differ but roughly it could be, your me time, social time( from kitty parties to book clubs or just online), your food (however you like it, within reason) and choices regarding your kids, may even include a part of finances. Depends on your lifestyle. Its important to communicate these factors to your husband and inlaws in the correct and polite manner. Moreso remind and enforce as often as required in as lovable a way as possible
6. Pursue a passion: If you have a hobby or passion that can make you forget the existence of anything else. Do not stop pursuing it ever. The activity acts as a retreat, an antidepressant and a holiday all at once.
7. Understand the blessings: When times get tough, count your blessings. Your inlaws maybe the reason you can work, or be assured that your kids will be fed and clothed. No matter how many arguments you might have, they may still love the grandchild to bits. Your clouds have a silver lining too.. You just need to wear a pair of rose tinted glasses at times.
8. Learn to calm down: There are lots of people who move out of parent’s houses whilst staying in the same city. If it can get that tough to live with parents, then inlaw problems are easily understandable. But in the absence of a choice, one can only choose calm, peace and happiness once the storm subsides. Even if theres a storm everyday, make sure a calm follows.
As they say, people and circumstances might try to make you unhappy, but if you refuse to be unhappy, nobody can force sadness on you. Here’s one to world peace and the journey begins at home.