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Another Instance of Evil Daughter-in-law

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by varalotti, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Another Instance of Evil Daughter-in-law

    After generating enough heat and light in the discussions concerning mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, I thought that I was done with the topic and vowed not to venture into that area again, lest I should kindle some bad memories.

    And then came this shocking news, which as usual, I will present in the form of a story.

    Malathi, like the Malathi of the earlier thread, got married in sixties to a highly conservative lawyer in a mofussil town. As her husband was the only son, she had to live with her mother-in-law. The mil-dil relationship was just about average – small fights, arguments and disputes were there, but the women were able to get on with each other.

    In due course Malathi had two sons, both of whom studied well and landed in good jobs. The first son, while doing his MBA, fell in love with his classmate. Malathi convinced her husband and saw to it that her son married his sweetheart. Her son set up his home in Chennai.

    The second son also got married, got a job in <st1:City><st1:place>London</st1:place></st1:City> and settled there.

    While all these happened, Malathi’s mother-in-law became pretty old. Malathi is now in her late sixties, her mil in her early nineties. Malathi’s mil has become senile and requires assistance even for her day-to-day living. Malathi takes excellent care of her mil.

    Meanwhile Malathi’s first daughter-in-law was blessed with a sweet girl. When the girl was about six months old, the dil badly wanted to get into a job. She had been a fierce career woman all through and suddenly she found the life of a housewife quite suffocating. As she was a skilled computer professional and an MBA, she got a good job with a software company. And now, when her child is about nine months old, she has been asked to go to US for an assignment which may last for a year or more. She has accepted the job.

    Now Malathi is in trouble. Malathi told her dil that she could not leave her 90 plus mil alone and come to Chennai. The dil convinced her husband who has asked his parents to vacate their house and come to Chennai. Malathi’s husband, a gullible person, out of his affection for his son agreed to the proposal without knowing the implications. They have vacated their house in the mofussil town and have moved to Chennai.

    Malathi will henceforth have the responsibility of looking after a 90 year old woman and a 9 month old child, while her dil will be flying to the <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Malathi’s son’s job involves quite a lot of travelling and he wont be of any help to Malathi in looking after his daughter.

    And the last straw on the camel’s back is that Malathi’s mil fell down in the bathroom as a result of which she could not stir out of bed.

    I don’t have words for Malathi’s plight. Tried hard as I did, I could not bring myself to find any rationale in Malathi’s dil’s decision. True, one should not allow one’s skills to waste. I appreciate the lady’s decision to pursue a career.

    But to live away from her husband for such long period will impose enormous strains on their marriage.

    And shirking the child-rearing responsibility is something I can neither understand nor forgive. Malathi is in her sixties. And you all know what strain it involves to take care of a 9 months old child who is away from her mother. And there is her 90 plus mil.

    It is grossly unfair on the dil’s part to impose this kind of strain on an unsuspecting lady in her sixties.

    Though evil is a strong word, I feel the circumstances of the case justifies its use. For the dil had not considered anybody else outside herself. She has not considered her husband, her mil or her nine months old child.

    I know many Ilites are career women. But I am sure none of you will be as cruel as this girl.

    I want all the gracious ladies of IL to think over this situation and give their views.

    Varalotti
     
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  2. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    I somehow don't feel what the d-i-l is doing is that bad! All these days when men were leaving the family especially the wife with the kids and whole family, for the sake of career, where did the women go, they did all the adjusting whether they could or not.
    The men want to marry educated women and if they are so highly educated then theywill need to follow the career,..and career does not wait for the woman to settle in family life and come after the kids grow up..... In fact i feel the husband has understood the need that the wife has to pursue her career, he is magnanimous enough to let the wife go away for a year...maybe they feel it is good for their life in the long run..(just like the men used to say all these years!)
    The fact that the in laws have come fwd to help sounds fine....at least the kid has someone in the family to take care....i am sure they can afford to keep a help and ease the burden on the m-i-l.
    Maybe the d-i-l will also come back,..after all i am sure she will also miss her child and husband! I have seen many a young couple going through this dilemma and i will sorry for the woman who has to decide between her career and the family life always!
    So if all of them in the family understands this need for the woman to pursue her career , then there will be harmony only...
    and i don't think this is a torture by the d-i-l ..if it were so i am sure the m-i-l could have put her foot down in a stronger manner and refused...

    So since we don't have all the points...i amjust giving a positive opinion...
    lets see what the others say!
     
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  3. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks For The Prompt Response, But...

    Dear Sudha,
    thanks for the really prompt response. This again, is a first hand story. Malathi's husband came to consult me for capital gains tax arising on the sale of their ancestral house.
    Sudha, don't for a moment think, that I am chauvinistic in saying that women should not work. The whole story is not about the husband-wife equation.
    I now feel that I have not communicated the scenario properly. Let me put it this way.
    Suppose the husband feels that his wife advancing in his career is very important and he resigns his job to take care of the child or goes with her to US just to take care of the child, I would have appreciated the decision and saluted the fine specimen of a man.
    But here you see everybody is minding their own business - dil, her career, son his work. But Malathi is burdened with two responsibilities.
    In these cases even if Malathi doesn't like her new role, she can't, as you have said, put her foot firmly down and refuse to play the assigned role. That would mean her spoiling her relationship with her son. No mother would do that.
    It will be a gross mistake to assume the absence of Malathi's specific refusal as her positive consent.
    You can assume the energy level of a woman in her late sixties, post menopause. Even if she has high energy levels, she should be allowed to spend that on activities she chooses and nothing should be imposed on her.
    It's okay to play with one's grandchildren once in a way. But to permanently take care of a 9 months old baby when its mother is away is a totally different ballgame.
    I know a woman in Chennai. An elderly lady. Her only son got married and flew to the US. This lady wanted to go badly but her son and dil firmly put their foot down and refused to take that lady with her.
    Soon this lady developed a number of activities - a local ladies club, part time counselling, cookery classes and all. She became a very popular woman in her apartment complex where about 100 families live.
    When the son got a child and the dil got a job, the son came down to India to take his mother. Poor lady she did not know her son's designs. But she found out the moment she landed in the US.
    Confined to the four walls of her son's house and constantly taking care of an infant was a chore she never relished. Added to that the dil would invite a group of friends for whom this poor lady had to cook.
    She stayed there for a month. Then told her son that she had to go back to India. And once she came back she vowed not to set foot in the US again. She is now happy with her activities in Adayar, Chennai.
    Malathi in the thread is denied some of the basic pleasures of life at her age and some onerous responsibility is imposed on her. I don't think it is fair.
    The criminal law says, that in the case of rape of a minor, the minor's consent is invalid. Similary in this case Malathi's acceptance of her new role does not mean that she has positively consented to play that.
    Let's see what others have to say on that.
    I was looking at the problem from one side and I am happy to see the other side in your post.
    sridhar
     
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  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My views may shock you, but........

    Dear Sridhar,

    Thankyou for starting this thread on a topic which is dear to my heart. You have interacted with me in the jokes thread, men & women bashing thread etc where as “ anonymous”, I teased you & joked with you ! But now, you will see another facet of me – the conservative senior citizen in chitvish ! I may be strong & vehement in my views, but I will try my best to be gently strong & mildly vehement in my words – the topic is such.

    I will first quote some real life instances. My very close friend got married around the time I got married. Our childen were born around the same time. She is also from Madurai. As soon as her son was born, her husband, a doctor by profession, wanted to go to London for higher studies. It was decided that she will go with him, to take up some job, which comes her way, to financially support him in student days. She had no choice but to leave her 3 month old baby with her mother ( Her MIL was nomore). That child being a boy, her mother employed a male servant mainly to help her with the infant, since she had to run a big house, besides taking care of an ailing MIL ! It was fine, generally. When my friend came back after 2 yrs ( her husband was repeatedly failing in F R CS ), she was carrying her second baby. The first child, had by then become so deeply attached to her mother & called only her “ amma”. Till today, believe me, he still calls only his grandmother “ amma” spontaneously & never his own mother. He says he can never forgive her for leaving him & going away, eventhough he was best taken care of by the grandparents. My friend’s heart literally bleeds. So, now after delivering her second baby, my friend decided not to join back her husband because there were 2 children to be looked after & she did not want to tax her mother any more. Well, the inevitable happened – her husband got into relationships with other women in London ! By the time he passed the exams & returned the estrangement between him on one side & his wife & children in the other side had assumed larger proportions. In the absence of his wife, he had developed “ a roving eye” as well ! Finally they got divorced, without any choice. He is very successful professionally, but at what cost ? Now he is a leading, jet-setting doctor, but lives lonely ! This may be a less common case, but does it not teach us a lesson ?


    Whenever my daughter used to go on a short holiday, I used to take care of her children. But my one condition used to be that I will look after them “ my way” & not “ her way”. I will be pampering or strict as the occasion demands & I cannot behave as though I am on guard all the time. I was much younger as well & had better facilities of household help which is nearly non-existent now. Since my daughter & myself were 100% in tune with eachoher in bringing up children, it was not difficult for me, but only for short spells. Now, I am also older & household help is also less. I have started going to Vedantha classes & have a programme slotted out for everyday. So now, when my DIL asks if I can baby sit, I have to say a polite “ no, sorry”. I have less physical energy to run behind a young child, feed him & play with him etc. Also I do not want to deprive myself of the activities, so enjoyable to my age group. That does not mean, I am less bothered about my grandchildren now – but there is no point in stretching myself beyond my “comfortable & practical limits.”
    I personally feel that when a mother brings her child into this world, she owes a responsibility to the child till he or she can look after herself or himself. There is no second opinion on this. Leaving the child & depriving the child of her company is bad enough, but for the sake of career which is ultimately money- oriented ( call it fashionably, job-satisfaction or proving one’s worth etc ) is the worst injustice she can do to her child. What makes the young career girl think, her mother or MIL shoud pitch in ? Are they not entitled to old age recreations , going on short pilgrimages with friends, in short doing everything for which they did’nt have time in their younger days ? It is her prerogative to decide what responsibility she wants to undertake or not. To be very frank, I always tell my DIL, to find out my free time & then send my young grandson to “ play with me’ ! Over the years, we have become more, close friends than MIL-DIL. So it is fine with me !


    Sridhar, last but not least, how can I leave the “son” out of the picture ! Does he not realise that his mother needs to lead a life of her choice in old age ? It is his duty to ‘ gently” ( for fear of his wife pouncing on him for defending his mother ! ) put it to his wife that other choices than leaving the child with the grandparents have to be looked into !
    My answer is almost thrice the length of your post, I realise ! Well, you asked for it & I gave you “ a piece of my mind” !



    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
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  5. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    Sometimes even to live is an act of courage--

    Hello Sridhar,

    My blood boils to hear such attitudes of DILs. Once married they shld decide their futures & even if they have to take help it shld be temporary and not dump
    responsibilities on old people & run. If career was so important she shld've delayed parenthood.

    when our youngsters ape the west in everything why can't they learn a very important point of being on their own. In the west, people believe in a child moving out & being on their own as early as possible and if that delays such families are even looked down upon.

    To put Malathi into such a situation is sad. I think Malathi shld strongly say NO. Men retire from work and have rest after certain age but then for women
    there is no retirement or rest and on top of that if they have to look into DILs problems, etc/ its hell. Will the DIL ever bother if Malathi was sick & dependent.

    I've always seen older women showered with love only if they are healthy and useful or the DILs / SILs never even treat them as known persons. In the present day with so many help & extra hands & helpful gadgets most of the young women struggle to meet up with day -to-day routines at home and sometimes I even wonder if we'll be healthy enough to look after ourselves - forget about family & grands.

    I think the DIL shld put herself in her MILs shoes and think hard and see if she'll ever extend a helping hand in such a situation.

    Even if women goes to space, she still remains a woman and there are certain responsibilities that she can't run away from and bringing up a child is one of them.

    I appreciate Malathi for taking care of her MIL which in itself will squeeze out all her energy but to take care of a child is out of question. This exercise is to kill her instantly. How can Malathi's hubby be so blind & agree to such an arrangement.
     
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  6. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Nice Snippet Varalotti!

    Nice article! I am too young to be a MIL, but i am certainly a DIL for a few years now. My inlaws are very nice, undertsanding and non interfering and they would encourage me to go to work(they dont stay with us, though). I love to work, but now with my one and a half year old daughter i have chosen not to work, though the guilt that i am going down in my career taunts me on and off , of course when i see my daughter i forget all that and i am proud that i am there for her always.You know we go through this mixed feelings. We cannot these days trust some ayah or baby care to take care of our dear babies , as some incidents which we hear, scare us totally!

    In my opinion( as a DIL), this would be my suggestion

    1) Allow the kid to grow up, to an extent that they are able to eat on their own, potty trained etc, say maybe around 2 - 2.5 years?

    2) Appoint a full time maid to take care of the kid-- bathing, cooking food etc.

    3) Ensure that family members - paternal or maternal grandparents(of the baby) are there to SUPERVISE the maid . This serves two purposes - one the stress on the grandparents is not too much and also the baby gets the advantage of grandparental love!

    Of course , Malathys case was a complete tragedy. I WOULD NEVER leave my baby and go to work in another country/city . But going for a job in the same place, guess would be OK.But of course, my above 3 points hold good, only if the grandparents are comfortable with it. That way, the child gets an advantage of parental love, grandparental affection and careers of mothers also wont be affected!

    This is my point of view. Pardon me, if it is disagreeable by some and feel free to voice your thoughts on this, because i want to know if it is the right way to think (Senior citizens please throw some light!)


    Regards,
    Purnima
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2006
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  7. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    evil???dil

    Dear Varlotti,
    I read the posts of Chithra and Purnima in this matter,AMIL andADIL voicing their views.I agree with chithra when she says that as MIl if youcannot take over the responsibility voice your objections. It is very silly of malathy to agree to her husband. After so many years of marriage no husband who knows his mother is his and wife's resposibility will agree to such an impulsive and drastic step.Most DILS I know think rightly like Purnima only. When money comes paid helps are also easy to afford.
    SO it is making a mountain out of molehill.Malathy being senior in age and experience should have put her foot down.
    regards,
    meenu
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
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  8. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Another Malathi?

    Dear Varalotti,
    This is the current tred. My fil's friend and his wife go to US every June to take care of their grandchildren. You know that I left my job to take care of my son. I could not get proper domestic help. My mother volunteered to look after him in Trivandrum, but what would I do once I send him there. I wanted to see and enjoy him growing up. And so I left my job. I feel that mothers have a responsibility towards their children. Feeding, clothing and teaching are not the sole responsibilities.
    One of my neighbours' son is abroad. He had a daughter and the child was sick. It needed full attention and care. The parents are well educated,well employed but they felt the child was a burden. They left the child with the mil. They even went to Swiss for a holiday while the child was a baby . The mil had to care for her fil also and she did take good care of the child. There was some misunderstanding and the son shifted the child to his inlaws. Now the child is shuttling between the grandparents. The parents had another healthy child and they only visit annually. What can one do about this? I pray that this child dies quickly so that it will be releaved of such unloving relations.
    I am seeing many working women just not caring for their children the proper way. These children give back what they get, the parents are neglected and sent to old age homes.
    As Chitvish said, it is good to clarify one's stand with dil and have cordial relations.People need to be free in their old age to pursue their interests. Old people may feel sleepy, tired etc. and it is difficult for them to run behind children all the time. The parents are responsible for the children in all way. And children who grow up with others will not have good rapport with the parents.
    I think Malathi should have been firm in refusing to this arrangement. But women never get t express their wishes and nobody cares to think of their problems, whatever the age.
    With warm wishes,
    varloo
     
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  9. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    self-effacing

    Malathi should put her foot down. If they are able to afford it she should get a full time nurse for her mil and have an open and frank talk with her son and dil. Perhaps the dil does not realise that it's difficult for her mil - she may be under the impression that they will enjoy looking after their grandchild. Malathi seems a very accommodating sort - and her emotional bag is being stretched like an elastic bag. Her dil, may not be necessarily evil - just career-minded or goal obsessed.
    Sharada
     
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  10. sunitha

    sunitha Gold IL'ite

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    Like Varloo said,this is definitely a current trend...I have heard and seen a lot of such families in the U.S. itself.

    One family I know,the couple wanted to take a vacation to some island country close to the U.S. So the wife flew to India,dropped her two kids with their grandparents,flew back to the U.S. and went on their vacation.She had to leave India after putting her daughter(the elder child who is about 6) to sleep.So when the daughter woke up,he could not find the mother and from then on,she doubts her mother whenever she leaves her and goes somewhere for even 1-2 hrs!

    Another couple constantly have their parents either the father or the mother staying here with them to take care of their child who is 3.So if the father is here for the 1st 6 mnths,the mother will be here for the next 6 mnths...can you imagine the old peoples' plight!

    I think,when it comes to this extent,either the husband or the wife should take a decision and one should stop working.

    It is really sad...I have myself gone thru' some emotional problems while I was working.From my personal experience,I feel that only a mother can take care of the child to the fullest.No one can replace that.Almost until my son was 2,I was working...I can tell you that even for a working DIL,it is not easy.Especially if the child is being taken care of by her inlaws.The situation becomes very delicate...if the DIL feels that the child is not being taken care of,she cannot tell that to her MIL...there will be frustrations and all other issues which would not have been there earlier.The relationship just deteriorates,that's all.

    Regards
     
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