I’m an educated work-from-home mom. I manage household chores, my children (who are also your grandchildren), I accommodate your son’s grand plans and ambitions even if it means sacrificing my career and ambitions.
I live in a city that is an overnight journey from your hometown and you still find it impossible to come down if I need to go out of town for work, to be with my children. But you gave up your job soon after your daughter’s child was born. I did not complain then.
You were unhappy that I was looking for new projects a few months after my younger one was born, but you let your daughter work 15 days after her child was born and you have been practically raising the child since then. I did not complain then.
I hired a nanny to manage my kids so that I could work a few hours a day peacefully. “They are young kids. They still need the mother around,” is what you told me. But you let your daughter go out on a trip with her husband now and then since her child turned a few months old. I did not complain then.
I see that your daughter gets to go for movies with her husband, friends and colleagues. She has her own “fun time” away from the daily humdrum of raising a child. This is because she always has you to fall back on. I do not complain about then.
You bring your grandchild to stay with your son so that your daughter can have some time with her husband there. Have you ever offered to babysit your son’s children and asked us to go have a cup of coffee? Have you ever offered to stay with your son’s children while we take a short break? I see that you make such luxurious offers to your daughter. It makes me wonder why is it your daughter is your child and your son isn’t? Is it because he married to me, someone who is not your flesh and blood? I am not complaining even now.
I know that you have been a great mom to your children. You raised them well. You have given everything you could to raise them. I also know that you need your freedom today. You do not like to be tied down by responsibilities. You have made it clear that you will go wherever you feel like going and whenever you feel like going. As a woman, I am happy and stand by your absolute right to do so.
But I fail to comprehend why you lose your voice when it is difficult (physically and emotionally) to care for your daughter’s child. Why do you suffer in discomfort rather than explain to your daughter that child-rearing isn’t a responsibility that she can offload to you most of the time?
During the initial years of my marriage, I used to be happy to hear that I am like a daughter to you. But now I understand that these may be convenient white lies and niceties that we just utter to feel good socially.
If I was your daughter, you would not be offended if my husband, your son, took care of his own children in my absence.
The truth is your son loves our children. He calls it “hanging out with kids” time. Alright, the three of them bring down the whole house in my absence, but I know they had a jolly good time. What is the harm in me leaving my kids in his care and he generously offered me some break from my routine?
Had you been a little more empathetic, you would not be troubled by my professional ambitions. In the age of two working parents and mostly nuclear families, how do we raise children well and remain sane at the same time? I understand that my children are primarily and mostly the responsibility of my husband and me. As difficult as it may be, I try to figure out a way to balance it all. The fatal blow is when you call me your daughter and your actions reflect just the opposite.
Can we share an absolute truth, woman-to-woman? I am your daughter-in-law and you are my mother-in-law. Let us take that at face value and maturely handle the baggage that comes with it. We women carry more than our share of the sky, can we drop the pretence at least?