Whenever mom calls, my tone of voice changes. I suddenly become authoritative. Commanding. I had not realised this till my husband pointed it out to me. And that happened when I pointed out to him – that he is so assertive with his mom.
Soon after we got married, everyday my husband would complain to my mother-in-law about the why so and so subzi was made that day, why was breakfast not served at 8 am, why did she install unauthorised apps in her mobile (which made it crash) etc etc. She would very gently try to reason with him and still provide multiple options to him if he disliked what was made. It boggled me. My man, of impeccable manners, was so rude to his mom. I started thinking. Perhaps, this is how he really is and soon he will start talking to me in that manner. And one day I took that up with him. We had a big fight (we don’t fight often, it drains us too much), and he said that its between him and his mom, nothing to do with us. And that’s when he started pointing out when I used to bully my mom on phone or in person.
Now every time I am talking to my mom I am aware of it. I try to be gentle with her. If I can be accommodative of colleagues, friends and other relatives, ofcourse I can be reasonable with her.
Mom and I have had our share of fights, oh we used to fight so much until about I was 22. Like every teenager and twenty year olds, I wanted to do everything she did not approve of. My dad, a Mumbai police office, had seen very bad things happen to girls and hence he used to be super paranoid for me. And my poor mom was always the shock absorber. Dad and me (and my brother of course) would all throw tantrums and she would be the one trying to keep some harmony while everyone threw fits of rage or silently sulked for days. But when did she get a respite? I wonder and don’t find an answer.
As far as I remember , my mom never went to her mom’s house for more that 2-3 days. And ever since I got married and before i had a baby, I went back to stay for one night in three years. But now once baby Arjun was born, I feel so much more connected to her. When I spent the first 40 days post delivery under her care, I knew only she can handle my post-partum messiness and mood swings. Nevertheless I kept bossing her around.
Perhaps now since I am a mother , I am constantly scrutinising mother-child relationships and wonder how ours would be. Would my boy be like his father? And if he does, do I have the patience of my mom-in-law? Or would Arjun be like his mother, like me? In that case, I know that I don’t have the tenacity to withstand tantrums like my mom did.
The only cushion of comfort is when I hear my mom talking to her 77 year old mom with the same ‘Do-this and dont-do-this’ authority, I know that if they can do that for 50 years, we too can.
Nevertheless, today I will charm her. And life will go on from tomorrow.