Figuring out my role as a Daughter in Law
In Part 2 of this 2 part series, we try to figure out what this role means in day to day life and how to handle this in a way in which it doesn’t affect oneself or the overall objective. The discussion is with an avid New Indian Woman podcast listener from the USA.
The lady is a scientist working in the US and living in a joint family, something quite unnatural there.
We discuss how she decided to start writing down what she did throughout the day, as a starting point. She shares how this triggered many thoughts and actions, which made a big difference to the quality of her daily life. You are sure to relate to many aspects of this and you may find the strategies adopted by her being effective for you as well.
Listen on ..
What the New Indian Woman podcast is about
As you may already be aware, this podcast has 2 focus areas. One, We examine the challenges faced by today's Indian woman and propose ACTIONABLE strategies in the Indian context, on a wide variety of topics - right from identifying their passion to better productivity and parenting. Second, we meet women who chose to aspire or have a dream beyond their defined roles and facilitate sharing of what worked and what didn’t, for them. Today's episode falls in the first category.
And in the process, my aim is to help you, The New Indian woman, to realize your potential, chase your dreams and aspirations, utilize the wonderful opportunities available in today's world.
What's in this episode:
Writing down how she spent the day, for a continuous period of time, proved difficult for her. At the same time she made immense learnings from it. What is that learning ? You will be surprised on what she found and what she decided to do about it. Would you want to do this yourself ?
What does it mean to come back from work and realize you have to start cooking dinner while the husband can relax around - this is a familiar story, isnt it? But would you have expected this to be the story in the US ?
She talks about the patterns we all get into, of making sure all our responsibilities are done, to the best of our abilities, so that no one around can criticize, before we are convinced to take a break. How to change this pattern? How did she do it, in a joint family, where gender roles are predefined ?
She moves on to talk about how she was being affected by the irritation expressed by family members over the state of the house, of the clutter and such stuff. And how, it took her some time to decide that they need to handle their irritation themselves - she need not think that she should avoid or resolve these. She shares something that really worked for her, in terms of reminding herself every day - such a small, but powerful action. This is something all of us will really find useful.
And again, how she decides to step out of a situation when it really becomes difficult to handle. She shares about all the questions such situations trigger in her and how she decides to acknowledge the anger she feels and tell herself it is OK to be angry. And how selfcare and having someone just to vent, is really helpful. She also shares what didn’t work for her and with professional help, how she had to adopt different techniques to handle the same.
And she summarizes it well by saying it is not about winning or having an upper hand over her mother in law, but about having a good and happy life. This involves a lot of give and take and clarity on which battles you really want to win.
I liked her take on these 2 points especially - about the daughter in law expected to bring happiness into the family and this constant question of would my in laws do this to their own daughter. You should really listen to her articulation of these 2 points.
And the one point she wanted to share with all listeners - Don’t forget to look after yourself!
Most of us may be able to relate to the above challenges in one way or the other. The reflections of the guest and the techniques that worked for her may serve as a good prompt for us and help us in our own journeys.
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