Mine are amazing (about 80% of the time – we all have our off days right?!).
But I don’t believe anyone who says theirs are amazing and they end it at that.
Because mine are amazing and it’s still hard at times.
I remind myself to be grateful and I don’t let my mind travel in a spiral when something upsets me. But even then. I have my days.
That said, I wanted to sort of open this space up a bit more. A bit soothing for your soul if you have your “argh” days.
Also – this might seem bizarre to you depending on your culture. Traditional Indian scenarios often talk about the bride leaving her home for a new home, her husbands. So if somethings here sound a bit crazy for you, I am apologising in advance. This might be the post that you choose to skim 🙂
Ok – so here are my tried and tested tips. I wish I knew them the day I walked into the family, I would have been a better daughter for them and they family for me.
- Set The Scene
Be clear with your partner. Anticipate any future concerns. Especially the big stuff. My list was; we may want to adopt, I will want to continue dancing and working. It was mostly that. They were a-ok with everything, mainly they said if V and I are happy, they’d be happy. But by having this chat with them and with V, I was clearing out any potential issues.
- Don’t Ask. State.
I didn’t realise I was doing this – I would never say, “can I go out today?”. I would just say, “I’m going out today”. This makes a phenomenal difference. It’s a slight shift in tone and sets a mode which says, I’m in charge of what I’m doing today.
- Show Interest.
Whilst they don’t want you to learn the regional dialect, it will totes amaze them if you pick up the phone and say, “How do I do this?”. It’s a bit contrary to No. 2 – but it’s saying, I’m an adult and I’d love your input. THIS IS WHAT ITS ABOUT. We are so busy in our work, home and social lives, we often don’t realise, they just want a little, hey hey. So be nice and do a little hey hey.
- Let Them Buy For You. But Be Honest.
If you let them buy you the things you hate, this whole thing is gonna go down real fast. Veer them towards what your love. Or suggest that you go shopping together. OMG, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I feel like I’ve aged 20 years. But I took my MIL to West Elm and she was an absolute doll. She thoroughly enjoyed buying something for my home that I would use. She told me about the times when she wanted to buy me things and couldn’t afford it. That made me a bit sad for being unchuffed about the $2 Shop containers she got. I felt real bad… But we’ve come a long way 🙂 Moving on… (But before I do that, I ordered a truckload of stuff on Amazon.In and it was incredibly cheap and good. Highly recommended if someone is flying into the motherland).
My MIL and I don’t have the same taste in clothes. I’ve discovered a great phrase that is used when you don’t like something. Instead of saying you don’t like it, you say “mujhe samajh mein nahin aaya” – ie. I didn’t really “get” it. It’s the gentlest way to say, thanks but no thanks. I don’t know about other MILs – but for some reason, my MIL is ok with this. I always try to be a bit gentle about it because I feel she’s so supportive of me. But the honesty means I’m getting what I want, and then I use it, which makes her happy.
- Be Gentle.
Oh boy. Do I wish. I was 23. Harsh and naive. God knows how I would have offended them. I know now, there are gentle ways to speak your truth. Be kind, have character, say it with a smile, even ask if they’re offended etc etc. But above all. Be gentle and understand that in their eyes, they are doing the best they know how.
- They Are Not Your Parents Or Your Siblings. And That Is A-Ok.
Stop comparing them. Consider them as kind friends. As dear to your husband. As the people who will love your child as your own. But don’t start wondering why they aren’t the same as your family. It’s simply because they aren’t.
- It Doesn’t Have As Much To Do With You As You Think It Does.
Another oooohhh boy here. I always thought I cause a bit of a ruckus when I go to India because I stick out like a sore thumb and I must be continuously offensive to people. It made me feel insecure about where I belonged in the whole picture of things. Now I know. Everyone has their own shit going on. Maybe money is tight. Maybe money is awesome but the tax office is coming. Maybe the grandkids need attention. Maybe some guests are coming over. Maybe V is being naughty. Maybe the milk has run out. It’s not all about me. So just back off the anti-you talk and take a walk. Chances are, they are totes in love with you and just want you to be happy.
I truly hope things with your MIL, FIL and SIL (of course that was siblings-in-law) are going peachy. I know how it can get, but hang in there and strive to make it better. And if you’re having one of them days, get a margarita. If I were with you, it would be on the house.