Ahhh. The family life. Have many of you have heard that phrase “when you marry the person, you marry the family”? In the Indian culture, this is so true. There is no separation for the couple from the family. The couple becomes an extension of the family instead.
Now, this isn’t such a bad thing. I really like having a big family so having another group of relatives to hang out with is great.
But what happens when the family gets demanding on your time? What happens when they expect you to follow their rules of when, where, and what you should be doing? What happens when they call the shots without even considering what you need or are available for?
I’m pretty lucky in the sense that both sets of parents for me are really understanding about us having our own lives and knowing that we will make time for them as much as we can.
But I definitely am aware that, in this culture, this is rare. There are a lot of parents who expect a lot more than that from their children and their spouse. I don’t know if it’s worse if you are the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law. I think it probably depends on the situation and the relationship the child has with their parents to start with.
Let’s add one more complication. The expectation that we grow up with to be the perfect daughter-/son-in-law.
I think I was supposed to be able to cook everything, clean to perfection, have children, raise them, look perfect, have multiple talents, all while holding down a full time job after achieving a degree or two. I totally failed. I think I’ve accomplished maybe 2 or 3 of that long list. Maybe.
It weighs on me that I don’t fit the idea of perfection when it comes to being the daughter-in-law. But I know that I try my best and I keep going. And luckily, I don’t hear any problems about what I can or cannot do.
Unfortunately, some people do.
The solution to this is to set boundaries. It’s not easy by any means. It’s the only thing though that will keep you from going crazy. And if you have the support of your spouse, it will at least make it that much easier to be able to do this. Boundaries are meant to draw a line with regards to what is acceptable and what isn’t. If your parents or in-laws drop in whenever they want and expect you to drop everything to entertain them, then maybe you need to ask them about calling a day before they plan on coming over to check your schedule.
It won’t be easy. And honestly, it might be a battle on its own.
But, hopefully, in the end, it’s worth it.