Now that the kid is married, perhaps you should let go?
Sometimes mothers don’t realise when their motherhood is done, that it is a role that has an expiry date, that they need to retire and do stuff for themselves. I also find myself holding my tongue when I want to say “me too” when they are planning an outing or a movie, because I realise just in the nick of time that these are their times to enjoy their days of youthful fun! I would have become a “kabab mein haddi”.
It is hilarious and sad at the same time when mothers fail to recognise this after their sons have married and now have different pleasures and responsibilities. The boy who used to be the centre of all her attention, hopes and dreams, suddenly seems to discard her, in favor of this young pretty stranger – his wife. Boys and their mothers do share a special bond, but mothers need to draw a line, sometimes.
In India, we worship our mothers
Indian movies are promoters of ‘mom is the hub of my life’ – come what may, my mother is the greatest. This is a fine emotion, as long as it does not interfere with your relationship with your wife. Mrs Mehta made a menace of herself by insisting on cooking for her son. She also insisted that his wife learn all his favourite recipes. And if husband and wife decided to go out for dinner, she would tag along, even if it were for a pizza. Then she would proceed to crib about the choice of food.
Sheila’s mother-in-law was a terror. She wouldn’t let her son and his wife be alone in their bedroom during the day. She would concoct all kinds of chores that needed to be completed. Sheila soon started to complain about not having a house of their own. She said this old lady was usurping her time for fun and flirtatious come-ons with her hubby.
Related reading: Here’s how living in a joint family after marriage worked out for me
Mom, please not in the bedroom!
Aliya and Mushtaq had an arranged marriage and Aliya was terrified of her domineering mother-in-law, who would insist on being privy to every conversation. She even said that her son should sleep on the bed and after “the job was done” his wife should sleep on the floor! This meant they could never shut the bedroom door. Mushtaq, however, who was a mature and sensible son, soon put his foot down. However, when he and his wife went out for dinner, he would remember to bring back dessert for his mom and say it was Aliya’s idea.
Reena had a great relationship with her MIL, but could never say “No” to any of her requests. So when she and her husband planned a Europe trip, to rekindle romance in their marriage, she had to factor in MIL. The couple never held back and short of cavorting in the nude they let themselves go. MIL had the good sense to keep mum, and they never found out if they were embarrassing her!
Related reading: Public Display of Affection: How much is too much?
When mom is there, asking about babies
When Meera was not showing any signs of getting pregnant, she and her husband began visiting doctors. And guess who tagged along? Meera was miffed, she felt that her privacy was being invaded, and not even her MIL was allowed to do that. Of course, many mothers believe that they can be a catalyst in the process of creating progeny just by putting the pressure on. That they tag along destroys that possibility, is something that never occurs to them.
Then there was Freddy who was married to a doctor, whose MIL was also a doctor. Wife and MIL would emotionally oppress the poor guy. This was a strange situation. Freddy was a kind and gentle guy, and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He had no chance in the bedroom, so thoroughly had his MIL emasculated him. His wife was the confused party, because her mother equally dominated her. Eventually Freddy found a pretty divorcee at work, who was more aligned to his needs.
Related reading: Relationship advice that friends and family give in India
A life outside her children
Shanti and her husband would shoot glances at each other when her mother walked into the room. They knew now they had to share their alone time with Amma. She was very lonely after her husband passed away, and she clung to her only daughter. Shanti knew it would be unkind to not be inclusive, but wished Amma would understand her own needs with her husband. She realised that since Amma married at the age of 16 into a joint family, she couldn’t possibly understand why Shanti would have this need for privacy.
Pati, Patni and Woh is the case of a spare tire hanging around your married life. Usually it is some loved one, who has never had a concept of a life of her own. They have co-dependent relationships, and are also ageing. They should be encouraged to join a social circle of like-minded folks, a bhajan group, a walk to the park group, or mingle with children in a crèche. Find a happy hobby and leave young people to their romantic endeavours.