“I was so scared to meet my mother-in-law but she turned out to be the opposite of what I had expected!” – The Changing Image of Mother-in-laws

7 minutes

Some people get along well with their mother-in-laws while many don’t. The relationship between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law has been considered to be a very delicate one. They have their imagined fears about each other. But, the times are changing and we find them being more like friends.

For the occasion of World Mother-in-law Day we spoke to many daughter-in-laws to know their experiences. One such conversation was with Rupali Singhania. We asked her a few questions about her mother-in-law and this is what she had to say –

Can you tell us something about yourself and your mother-in-law?

I am basically from a Marwadi family and so is my husband, Krishna. I work in Mumbai and Krishna in Nagpur. My mother-in-law is a really nice person.


Was your a love or an arranged marriage?

Yes, mine was a love marriage.

I knew my husband Krishna, since my school days. We hadn’t really spoken until the farewell party. We dated for 4 years before getting married. We also completed our MBA together,  We hadn’t told our parents about each other because I was more skeptical about my parents. He was always sure that his parents would readily accept their relation.

We took some time to understand each other and be sure of our decision before confiding about it to our parents. Finally, when we were settled and sure we broke the news to our families. I was scared that my parents may not agree but surprisingly everything went well.

How did you feel when you met your MIL for the first time?

I met Krishna’s mother before our families met. We met at a mall in Mumbai. I had the typical image of a strict mother-in-law in my mind. I ran away from there and it was really difficult for Krishna to convince me to meet her.

I was scared to meet my mother-in-law but she turned out to be the complete opposite of what I had expected. I was dumbstruck, I couldn’t speak anything but, my mother-in-law was very welcoming. She was the conversation starter and none of the typical questions like “What are your hobbies?”, “Khana banana aata hai?” or “What do you like cooking?” were asked. She made me feel at ease. We ate together and then we also went for shopping on the same day. By the end of the day, it felt like I had spent a regular day with somebody from my family. It didn’t feel like she was somebody I had met for the first time.

How has your relationship shaped up with your mother-in-law since then? Is there any incident you can share with us?

The best thing about her is that she doesn’t get angry whatsoever. She is always calm and understanding. She doesn’t judge anybody. Even while correcting me she first finds something nice to tell then gives her suggestion. For example, yesterday while we went for shopping I liked a dress which didn’t look very nice on me.

Instead of saying this directly she politely said, “Rupali, that’s a great dress but I think this other color will look more beautiful on you!”

After our marriage, during the initial days, I was being very formal and hesitant. I was trying to spend more time in the kitchen. I was doing this thinking that it will be expected out of me. But my mother-in-law came up to me and said, 

“You need not wake up so early. Also, why are spending so much time in the kitchen? If you like cooking you are more than welcome to go ahead but don’t force yourself.”

So far, what are your learnings from her?

The best thing I have learnt from her is maintaining relationships. My mother-in-law’s mother-in-law is also similar to her. They are both like friends to each other. The entire family is very loving and supportive even more than my own parents.

Also, I am not good at cooking but never has she complained. In fact, she lets me try and learn. She is amazing at cooking. Anything she cooks is delicious and I am learning from her. She is like a friend to me. She is so quick in learning that I have to match up to her pace. Moreover, she looks so young so it feels like she is just like one of us.

What kind of support has she shown to your career/aspirations?

Oh, my mother-in-law has been extremely supportive always!

I completed my MBA in April 2016, the same time as Krishna who was my fiance then. In a month’s time, we got married. I was in a dilemma while accepting an offer from a company in Mumbai. My husband and his family lived in Nagpur and I couldn’t decide if I should accept the offer. My father was against me accepting, so was my mother.

When my mother-in-law heard about my confusion I was surprised that she said that “why don’t you join?” She supported me saying she would look after Krishna and even come to Mumbai regularly to look after me.

My mother-in-law has always been supportive of everything I do. I design Indo-Western clothes for close family members. When she found out about this she helped me with more clients. She introduced me to her friends and I am designing for them too. It is because of her support and trust that I am confident about myself.

After marriage, we have a function – “pag phera”. I had to go to my parent’s house and it is usually expected that the daughter-in-law would return with gifts – mostly gold and silver jewelry for everybody. When I brought such gifts my mother-in-law scolded me. She is so open in her thoughts that she doesn’t appreciate such rituals.


Do you think Indian serials show MIL in an extremely bad light?

I don’t watch too many Indian TV serials but the ones I have heard of have simply exaggerated the image of mother-in-laws. They are not that bad and my mother-in-law is in fact not bad at all. Language creates a lot of difference. TV serials show that mother-in-laws are always using a negative language and very few are supportive. This may be true in the age old Khaap panchayat and other orthodox families but education can play a difference even here. My mother-in-law has made me understand that it is not right to expect but if somebody does something out of love and affection you must respect them. So I would say that things are changing for the better.

Rupali’s repeated this more than once and even before we ended the conversation she said,

“I am lucky and feel blessed to have the coolest mother-in-law who supports me for everything I decide.”

Are you finding it difficult to deal with your strict mother-in-law? Speak to Relationship Experts at YourDOST who can help you have a stronger bond with your mother-in-law.

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