Monday, February 16, 2015

How to survive a visit from your Indian inlaws

If you are a Firangi Bahu living abroad, the day will come when your Indian inlaws will come to visit you for a months-long visit.

A lot of people who are not in "masala" relationships do not understand this. They may say, "Are you kidding me?! I can't believe you're letting your inlaws stay for THREE WHOLE months!" Many Westerners would not even host their own parents for more than a weekend; much less their inlaws! 

But as a Firangi Bahu, your inlaws may visit with you for a few weeks to several months - 3 months being the norm. And guess what? You can't really say no. With Indian inlaws, your house is their house; and you can't keep them away from their adult children. And if you are married to the eldest son, they'll be setting up camp for good, or at least fantasizing about it. (Note: In traditional Indian culture, the eldest son is responsible for his parents' in their old age.) If your inlaws are coming all the way from India, they are not going to visit for a week. They are going to stay for months, because it is just too costly to come all that way for a short visit!

For a Firangi Bahu, the first visit from the inlaws is a major test of knowledge, adaptability, and co-operation. It sets the tone for all future visits. Will you be able to make your inlaws comfortable? How will you get along? Are you compatible with your inlaws? Will they feel comfortable to return? Meanwhile, your Indian spouse would be loving the attention (especially if your Indian spouse is male - a prized son - usually pampered by the mother!!!)

Even more than the Firangi Bahu, the Indian inaws will be extremely nervous for this visit. They are coming to a foreign country and sharing a house with their foreign DIL, which is a nightmare they could have never imagined! It is extremely out of an Indian elder's comfort zone. There may be language barriers, they will wonder what they will eat, and many many cultural differences. Especially if they are not well-traveled. Plus, all their friends are going to be dying to know of the gossip when they return - what was it like sharing a house with your foreign bahu?

My MIL's first visit to Canada was before we were married. This was enough to make her feel uptight - staying with her eldest son and his foreign girlfriend who were "shacked up" together. It was also a few months after I was publicly shunned by her at a family event in Hyderabad, in which I fled the country. Perfect timing, right? To say that I had mixed feelings was an understatement. She was rejected for a Canadian tourist visa many times, but we kept applying. When she got the visa, I had to welcome her into our home for a 3 month long visit. Our "home" being a 700 square foot tiny apartment, in which she slept beside us - like a threesome, in which I was constantly being woken up by her snoring. AWKWARD!!! Not to mention, I had to dress conservatively (no more walking around naked) and pretend like I wasn't having premarital sex with her prized son. It was like a 3 month long course in Indian celibacy!!!

I could not say no to her visit because she wanted to spend time with her son, see Canada for the first time (scoping out her future home country), and also start to subconsciously train me as a Bahu. When my MIL arrived, she was extremely anxious. She was totally out of her comfort zone. She didn't know how to use the microwave or the bath. She didn't want to go outside because she swore everyone would stare at her. Seeing how nervous she was completely trumped my own apprehension - and I started to feel bad for her.

I decided to use the opportunity of her visit as a fresh start - to leave the past behind us. To build a proper relationship between us. I had to plead with her to come out, just so I could take her sightseeing. I took her under my wing (outside the home), she she took me under hers (inside the home). It was the beginning of a healthy relationship with my beloved MIL. We also discovered that we had so much in common. It was kind of like I had an arranged marriage - with my MIL!

Til date, I have hosted my inlaws 11 times. Nowadays, my MIL comes to Canada for a longer visit about once a year. Sometimes we fight, and sometimes we get along - but I eagerly await her visits as if a good friend is visiting me...

Here are some practical tips to survive a visit from the inlaws:

Before the arrival
- Find out their favorite Indian TV networks (Star Plus, NDTV, Gemini, etc.) and order them for the duration of their visit
- Find a nice Indian classical music radio station or make a CD
- Get basic spices from the Indian grocer (turmeric, chilli powder)
- Buy a copy of an Indian newspaper or magazine for them to read (either local Indian or an imported Indian - speciality newsstands have these)
- Arrange for a house cleaner to come and deep clean the kitchen every 2 weeks (that way you don't get resentful when you are scrubbing off oil spatters) and (Note: use the opportunity to take them out of the house on a fun outing while the house cleaner is there)
- Stock up on their favorite sweets (gulab jamun, rasmalai anyone?)
- Tidy up the house and make room for their things (clean out a drawer or closet)
- Ask them if they need any specific toiletries and stock up (do they like Rose/Jasmine/Sandalwood scents? Stock the bathroom with a nice soap)
- Save up money (you may be expected to pay for everything)
- Put fresh flowers in their room & water bottles by the bed
- Make sure there are framed family photos of them & their child in key spots
- Make sure you have a phone service provider with cheap international calling (like Vonage) and be prepared for this line to be completely hijacked!
- If they are devout, then you can set up a pooja corner with Gods/Goddesses their family worships (North West corner of the home)

When they arrive
- Make them a delicious chai (true Firangi Bahu test that will earn Brownie points and convey to them your potential!)
- Give them a tour of your home and show them where everything is and how to work it (every single thing from the stove to the microwave, the bath, laundry and where the towels are located)
- Be prepared to surrender your kitchen - completely (everything will get re-arranged)
- Take them to the Indian grocer in the few days post-arrival so you can buy them their unique regional spices/vegetables (Note: going to the Indian grocer together can be a bonding experience. Don't forget to ask questions)

Special things to do during their visit
- Take them to museums & for sightseeing around your city
- Do a day-trip to a nearby destination
- Go to a local cultural event (Chinese New Year, Fourth of July celebration, food festival, dance performance, etc.)
- Set up a time for a "cooking lesson" so that you can learn to cook your spouse's favorite foods from your MIL
- Try a cooking class together of a cuisine where you are both beginners (or baking class)
- Take them to your favorite restaurants
- Take them out to a gourmet ice cream shop after dinner
- Go to see an Indian movie together (even if you find it boring); and then take them to a Western movie (make sure it doesn't have any nudity) (Note: Indians love cinema!!!)
- Get them addicted to a Western TV show (for example: House Hunters, Real Housewives of ___, Lost, CSI)
- Go for evening walks (especially if they don't get out much)
- Attempt to pamper them (hair salon, nail salon, buy them new moisturizing shampoo)
- Go to your favorite local bookstore together (Note: you can locate some books by Indian authors they may want to read - do this ahead of time)
- Show them photo albums of your childhood (so they can get to know you better and your Western "family values")
- If they are religious, you can go to a local temple and introduce them to other elderly NRIs
- Show love to their child in non-physical ways (serving him a plate of food, giving him a quick hug, and generally being nice to him like saying "have a good day at work" - no kissing!!!)
- Plan a family get-together so they can get to know your side of the family
- Ask your MIL to give you a tutorial in draping a saree (and take video for future reference)

(Note: You don't always have to wait until your spouse is home to do something with your inlaws. A lot of bonding can happen WITHOUT your spouse there!)

If you are going to have a meltdown...
- Take a break by going for a walk in nature (my psychic friend says that trees absorb negative energy!)
- Communicate GENTLY your needs and feelings ("I am feeling a little stressed today because...")
- Go out with friends so that you can openly complain about your inlaws and release some steam
- Do NOT fight openly with their child - they will already be freaked out about divorce!
- If you have a big issue, then talk to your Indian spouse privately and ask for tips on how to approach the situation (they know their parents' best)
- concentrate on your work/studies (this is actually a good thing because it will make you appear to be hard-working which is a quality that many elderly Indians admire)
- If you need help with a household chore, ASK nicely (it may not occur to them that the dishes require to be washed, or if you are feeling swamped with something then simply ask for help!)
- emotionally separate yourself from the situation (if serious negativity is going on, then you need to take yourself to a higher plain to protect yourself emotionally)

Even if you get along with your inlaws, the constant togetherness and unsolicited advice may push you to your breaking point - this is totally normal. Before reacting, identify the meltdown and take preventative measures!

Also, remember that this is a temporary visit. Three months may seem like forever, but it will be over so quickly. Focus on making good memories that they can take back with them. In Indian culture, "guest is God" and you should try to embrace that cultural aspect as much as possible.

Bonding with the inlaws is kind of like dating. You have to think of what things you can do to make them feel loved. (Note: In Eastern cultures, it is typical to show love through thoughtful actions) They will already feel strange being in a foreign country so sweet gestures will mean a lot to them.

A visit from the inlaws is a make-or-break situation. It is not only a major test in your relationship with them, but it can also positively or negatively affect the relationship with your Indian spouse. You have to make a conscious decision - every single day - that you are going to come out of this experience positively.


Dear readers, have your inlaws visited for longer periods of time? What were your experiences?
What tips do you have for fellow Bahu's?



  1. Sweet article! So many couples in our community have such issues when it comes to visits from inlaws. This article is a must read for all masala couples.

    1. This will be a Godsend come March. :) Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wonderful article - it is a topic that definitely needs extra attention. My MIL came to stay with us last summer, which was the first time having her with us since we had been married and it was a mostly positive experience. I loved spending time with her and meeting all of her friends she had made in the park. I actually led a baking class for my MIL and all of my new Indian Aunties. I taught them how to bake banana bread and introduced them to the Cuisinart mixer.

    The biggest issue I had was with my husband and him trying to navigate the son/husband dynamic. My MIL went home earlier than planned (she stayed for two and a half month but the plan was for four months) because my husband and I were fighting a and she felt she was causing most of the stress (she wasn't). I didn't envy his situation though - I know he felt torn between being a son and being a husband. It was a learning experience for all of us and I am looking forward to having her stay with us again. I think we have all grown a bit since that experience.

    The advice I would give is to make sure you make time for you and your spouse to have alone time, even if it's just a dinner nearby or a longer shopping trip. It is important that you both get the time to reconnect and check in with each other. Also, make sure you let your foreign in-laws know that it is okay to approach you if they are unhappy with something. They don't need to rely on their child to communicate their needs to you (unless there is a language barrier).

    1. Awwwww I love that idea about the baking class! My MIL also wants to learn how to bake, since there is no baking or use of the oven in her culture. In North America, everyone bakes and roasts things.
      Ahhhhh yes, the son/husband dynamic - that is a really good point. Around his mother, my hubby can act like such a pampered prince. Around his father, he gets very easily frustrated. Generally he is more uptight and less free than usual.
      I have also fought in front of my MIL and she literally thought that it was the end of the world and she totally blamed herself. But in reality, she helped me solve a lot of fights because she was on my side.
      Great advice about the alone time - I should add that.

  3. I love this. What a fantastic and funny article. Thank you so much!

    1. Ha ha thanks! When I told my male (Western) cousin that my MIL was staying for 3 months, he was like "what about your sex life? Major buzz kill!" bwahahahaaa!!!!!
      Now is is easier because we are in a slightly larger apartment.

  4. Wow, you really put a lot of thought and went all out to make your ILs feel at home, more than what an Indian bahu would do I think. That is why your MIL has now become an integral part of your life, she loves you like she loves her own children. Plus, she is now most impressed by your ability to handle the home without cooks and maids!
    It is a two way street, I would also recommend that the Indian spouse brief the parents about the dos and don'ts of your life style in your own home & in the firangi country; and to make sure they know the road rules (jaywalking, if stopped by a police, call 911) deal with local businesses, and get familiar with the public transportation. that way they can go out on their own too esp to library, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
    Your friends & family might also be added as occasional hosts to take the ILs on a day trip, and some of the local ethnic travel agencies have very economical bus tours of national parks and cruises. They may like some alone time too and experience a real adventure on their own.
    All the best,

    1. I totally agree - coming from a DIL it would be harsh - it is better actually that the Indian son/daughter explain things up front.
      Last year, my inlaws and my husband went on an Alaskan cruise, I opted out but they had a fantastic time.

    2. Love this reply from Anoymous !

  5. Great article - lots of great tips that many daughters-in-law don't figure out for years and years!

    1. Thank you :) I tried to compile all my knowledge thus far! Hope it will help others, especially those who are welcoming their inlaws for a first time.

  6. Hats off to you for going out of your way, Alexandra. I am very glad I don't have Indian in-laws (I am Indian married to an American) and this has to do with my basic personality- my home is my castle and it is where I go to recharge (a thorough introvert)- having someone around other than my husband and daughter for three (or more!) months would be unthinkable- I would go crazy. I can't even take it if my own parents are around for more than ten days and of those ten days I make sure I stay very, very occuppied at work. I have found that Indian parents in general don't understand the concept of privacy and space (which is what contributed to my pretty much dying to get away from my parental home as soon as I could because I felt stifled) and if one is an introvert a three month stay must be hell!!


    1. Fellow introvert here, with Indian in-laws. I totally know what you mean about needing space. The two times my in-laws visited us in Bangalore in our tiny 600sq ft flat I felt stifled and suffocated, and not helped at all by the fact my MIL does not seem to get that if a door is closed that mean we want privacy. She would barge into our room all the time without as much as a knock on the door. When my mom from Switzerland visit us in India, two weeks is more than sufficient for me.

    2. @raina - yes, concept of privacy at all! Literally the only private time is when I have a bath or am getting changed - any time where I am naked, I get to have a good chance to be alone! Ha ha!!!!!

    3. @Raina - I completely get this! I would consider myself an "extroverted" introvert, but an introvert at heart. I keep trying to explain to my husband that it's nothing personal - I love his parents, but they are constantly there and I never get time alone to recharge my batteries! I also work from home so that has made things more difficult; however, recently got a new job outside the home so it will make things much easier. They are also visiting right after we got married and are in the process of moving into a new home. It's amazing I haven't lost it yet but I have noticed because of the tension of them always being here my hubby and I are bickering more. I am trying to have perspective and realize they won't be here much longer and might not see them for awhile, so that helps. Only a few weeks to go, I think we will have to compromise on 1.5 - 2 months max next time. :-)

  7. Alex,

    Great post, you give some great ideas for in-law visit.


  8. Even if you are living in Inia but in a different city you can expect your In laws to come hang at your place for weeks, happened to us twice.
    My in-laws however just about HATE going out of the home, so when they are here it is this awkward kind of lock down situation. We tried inviting them to restaurant, taking them out shopping and all but the few times they reluctantly agreed to get out of the bedroom, they weren't happy and didn't enjoy much. So the first time they came we ended up going out just hubby and I while they held the fort back home.

    1. Oh yes, totally. Being a bahu is like a lifelong course in being a good hostess! ha ha!
      Oh that is really hard. My MIL is like that, she is a major homebody, I have to BEG her to come out and it is like pulling teeth! She always finds some excuse about the weather - too hot, too cold, etc.!
      But when we do go out, she has a great time.

  9. Good post Alexandra - First time my in laws visited we lived in a 600 sf apartment as well but would have never shared the bedroom with them. We got a sleeper couch, hung a rope with curtains on the ceiling so they could close themselves in for privacy when needed and that worked out just fine. Just a heads up for new western bahus with limited living space :)

    My in laws usually come every year (sometimes every other year depending on our traveling schedule) and usually stay 4-6 weeks. We cannot do the months long stay; we need our privacy and after a while we start going crazy not to mention that this very long stays get very expensive.

    I usually have everything for the bath that MIL loves like the Body Shop products, Dr Harris Milk of Cucumbers and Roses cleansing milk and anti aging products. I make sure that I also stock the guest bathroom with nice toiletries and put fresh flowers in the guest room. I make sure that I have Ovaltine for FIL and fruit tart for my MIL; she loves it. A couple of days later we go to the Indian grocery store and stock up. Little touches like this make them feel special and welcome.

    We also set up gardening projects for FIL so he doesn't get bored. He loves to work in our garden and is very proud of the flower and fruit garden he planted this past summer.

    Other than this, we don't rearrange our lives and the way we live. We don't eat Indian food every day and we not only go to Indian restaurants when we go out. They know that when they come here so we encourage for them to leave behind life in India and live like we do in the US. Like someone said, is a two way street and actually they are fine with this arrangement. We spend time with them and take them out but also still keep our Friday night dates and our once a month girls and boys night outs. Hubby and I work long hours in NYC and NJ respectively so they are very independent and know how to take public transportation.

    We also like our private time and at the very beginning I had to explain to her that I was not mad at her when after working a long day I came home, sat with them for 15-20 minutes and then went to my room with a cup of coffee ready to watch Judge Judy in the DVR or take a nap. I need that time to unwind and she understood. Hubby does the same. The key is balance and honesty from the beginning to avoid misunderstandings, resentment and hurt feelings.

    Millie B

    1. Hi Millie,
      That curtain idea is a great idea, totally wish I had known that! My MIL is crazy about The Body Shop too...she loves the scents... I will check our Dr. Harris.
      When we rented a house several years later, my MIL used to love helping me garden. During our wedding time we fixed up the garden beautifully and planted Marigolds. Now we are back in an apartment in the concrete urban jungle!

    2. Oh my God it's way too much work... I have to pick up my in-laws in 3 days and I dread it every year... the taking over of the house...the grease in the kitchen... my husband's 50 years old and they still treat him like a child... as a white woman knowing what I know now I think I would think twice��

    3. Oh my God it's way too much work... I have to pick up my in-laws in 3 days and I dread it every year... the taking over of the house...the grease in the kitchen... my husband's 50 years old and they still treat him like a child... as a white woman knowing what I know now I think I would think twice😪

  10. @Alexandra

    You have made a real effort to jell with your in laws. Your love and commitment to make the relationship work is wonderful. You are really the Griya Laxmi (Laxmi of the household), custodian of family traditions and the one who hold the family together.

    1. Wow....thank you...I feel very appreciated :)

  11. @Alexandra, you are so kind and thoughtful! I did have a question about how you are hosted by your in laws/Indian family when you visit them. Do they also ensure that you are comfortable and plan special activities? I ask because my in laws expect to be hosted the way you've described above and also expect us to pay for all expenses. When we visit them, we're also expected to pay for all expenses and they don't plan activities or go out of their way to host us. I was just wondering if this is something that is normal and should be expected, or just in my family. I am trying to come from a place of understanding:)

    1. Right now my inlaws are living in the Carribean because my FIL is working there. I have not visited but my husband did.
      When we visit the home in India, we are always taken care of under "atithi devo bhava", which is why I try to repay the experience here. But generally we do pay for the majority of things there outside the home, such as if we go out for dinner, hiring a family driver, or on an outing. In India, my inlaws do not like to go out that much, they like to stay at home and host there mostly. But generally, I find that I do have to do at least 70% of the effort. It is definitely not equal. (Not to mention they show their love in different ways, culturally.)
      Maybe that is because I am lower on the hierarchy...ha ha! In reality, many elders may expect you to baby them.
      However, many times when my MIL comes here for a stay, she will do so much cooking and that helps me out a I really enjoy eating ;)

    2. Hi Alexandra,

      It's really heartening to see your relationship blossom to a place of understanding & love. It is something that so many women can only hope for ! It seems you are a genuinely caring & empathetic person who wants to make the effort !

      I do have a question (and feel free not to answer it, as is your prerogative)...are you expected to bear expenses even on foreign trips ? And when they visit you as well? It does make it difficult when you consider it's a few months (and not weeks). I am trying to figure out the right balance...but it is hard my spouse is the elder son

  12. Wow, you really have a heart of gold. I don't know whether I would have been able to be that nice after an acrimonious prior experience. Actually, I know I couldn't be so nice. I'm Indian married to an Indian from a different part of India and a much more conservative family, and my first experiences with my MIL were not pleasant, though I could only articulate why fully much later even to myself. They would visit us for two weeks and I used to dread it.

    I admire you for your ability to look past your own hurt and start afresh. Don't think everyone can do it though.

  13. Happy Women's day Alexendra!!! I was googling for women's blogs today morning. I follow Desi guide's wordpress blog, and today morning I found your blog link from there.
    Awesome awesome blog!!! Keep up the great work! Like many mentioned, you write great! I can be hooked up to your blog for days together. I am glad I found you and I will follow you :)!!

  14. Wow this is such a great post am sure it will help all firangi and non-firangi bahu's too :)
    Thanks a ton for sharing



  15. I wanted to share this post on my fb page but could not find the share button, u should have it

  16. Your blog is amazing, you really seem to be the perfect bahu. Amazing. I'm an Indian girl from Bangalore but grew up in Belgium, Singapore and London. I've recently moved to Berlin because my (German) husband got a job here. We're expecting our first baby (boy) in October this year. I find it so interesting how you have taken such a genuine interest in Indian culture... having grown up outside India and not anywhere near a Kannada community, I have never taken much interest in getting to know the reasons why Indians do things a certain way etc. etc. My parents are both Indian but live in the States and although they do practice our culture, they've never been very strict about it or rammed it down my throat. Subsequently, although I strongly identify as Indian, it rarely stems beyond my love of food, being vegetarian, loving Indian wear and loving Buzzfeed India. But with the baby on the way, I'm starting to think that it's important that he grows up identifying as half Indian to me. I'm scared he'll be completely 'German/European' and that his Indianness will just fade away. I've never lived near family or with a big Indian community so its kind of hard for me to just get sucked into a big Indian community. But your blog is such a great read, maybe I'll get some inspiration :)

  17. I'm one month into the first two month visit. The first month was just my partner's mum and sister, now his brother and Bhabi have joined us for the next month. As we aren't married and have a large enough house for separate rooms for all, I too am taking a crash course in pretend celibacy. The hardest thing is the lack of alone time just to talk with my partner, but as you so rightly say, it's only a couple of months in the big scheme of things. I relate to many of the points in this article and can only hope that they leave having had a positive experience.

  18. What a lovely comprehensive list. Bookmarked!

  19. Great articles, giving me loads of ideas.
    I am a western girl recently married to an indian man.
    I am a bit worried lately, because in couple months me and my husband are moving from our current country to another one, a total change.
    I really have a good relationship with my MIL, we call each other every other day, things are going well.
    I am a bit concerned because MIL told me that as soon as we move she s planning to visit and stay with us for 6 months (!)....
    for me 6 months is like settling down somewhere (I moved out to another country to do the internship for 6 months)
    That's a lot, I also know that my husband is not the biggest fan of that, for him maximum stay at back home with parents is 10 to 2 weeks. Me and my husband are people that like quiet lifestyle, we don't like to talk loud about anything and everything, it is just tiring for us, we love our free time just as we want. MIL is lovely but she loves talking a lot, quite loudly, at her home always loads of things happen, loads of talking, and in our case me, my husband and FIL is rather listening ;)
    It is quite funny and I don't mind for a while, but 6 months....don't think can handle that easily....
    any advice?

  20. Just curious if others have Indian parents that visit and make no move to cook anything, ever? My MIL doesn't cook anything and expects me/my husband to cook and serve all food to her and FIL when they visit. We also have 2 little kids and both of us work full-time. I am white, and raised with the belief that when you have guests, everyone pitches in to help. They obviously believe their job as guests is to sit around and watch us work. After some time, I generally have a meltdown privately with my husband (who completely doesn't understand), and then we move on. I dread their visits because of this.

    1. My inlaws have been here for a month and a half now. My MIL cooks some days and I cook some days. She has complained that she is a guest and shouldn't have to make her own food,and yet she brought an entire suitcase filled with spices, pans, etc. I think guest status wears out after a week or 2 and then it's time to pitch in!

  21. My inlaws are visiting from Bangalore currently. They will be here for 4 months. Not only is this their first visit to the US it is my first time meeting them even though we have been married for 13 years and have an 11 year old daughter. They did not accept our marraige for a long time and begged my husband to leave me so this has made me feel very uncomfortable to say the least. They seem very sweet so far. His mom has taken over the kitchen which is fine with me as I love Indian food. His dad does not speak English at all and his moms English is hard to understand. I'm hoping it gets easier as time goes on. Your article was great!

  22. I was looking for an outlet for my frustration and stumbled upon your blog! This line SO resonated with me right now: "Even if you get along with your inlaws, the constant togetherness and unsolicited advice may push you to your breaking point - this is totally normal." Yes! My in-laws are WONDERFUL by many standards, and we get along swimmingly most of the time, but my FIL is the typical know-it-all, offering unsolicited advice constantly, even to my husband who is better about brushing it off than I am! We are one month into their three month visit (their first visit with us as a married couple). My MIL is sweet as pie and cooks delicious food regularly. Most of the time I just laugh at my FIL but today when he randomly told me he thinks I'm too emotional I had to go get some air at a local cafe (I work from home, too!). I have a feeling I'll be visiting your blog very regularly over the next few months. So thank you!

  23. Thank you for post. I was in desperate need to read something like this. I am not a firang Bahu but an Indian Bahu who never lived in India with her in-laws. I am in 1st day of my in-laws 2 months visit and I am already feeling overwhelmed. They are not bad people but in our 7 year marriage they have already caused enough trouble for me to dislike them. I think I will be coming back to your post.

  24. One year into marriage in Mumbai, and I am already so suffocated thinking of visiting in-laws. I am an extreme introvert. In fact, I hail from a family of introverts. In my house, we all had a lot of space for ourselves. We never had too many overnight relatives, nor have we stayed at others' places unless absolutely necessary.

    I didn't have an idea how the equation would work after marriage, although I was very insistent I wouldn't stay with my in laws. Fortunately for me, my in laws live abroad, but they will be visiting this Summer (and shifting permanently for good after a year to India), and I can't imagine how it is going to be. I found that I am unable to stand my own mom's visit if it exceeds ten days. It just starts getting stifling. I sometimes feel terrible and guilty about it - like I am a bad, cold, mean person.

    My husband becomes a boy when his folks come over. He acts like a kid who enjoys the pampering and attention. It is me cooking and cleaning up. I don't mind his parents or relatives coming and staying over as long as he can leave me alone. This obligation to spend time and "take care" of them day in and day out is so tiring after awhile. I would prefer just being in my study and having them entertain themselves after awhile. I suck at small talk. It is also annoying that they expect my husband to spend for everything when they are here - like every expense involved, although they are really well off.

    These things look more unfair to me since when my parents are here, they feel they "owe" something, so my mom cooks extra hard to "please" her son in law, and my dad always insists on sharing expenses. All this seems very patriarchal to me.

    1. you will be fine, just tell them your problem

  25. I am an Indian Girl (born in India) living in US, google searching how to deal with Indian In-laws.. stumble upon your article. It's an interesting read. You really made efforts. I would really like to point out that she is happy with you or adjusting with you because you are firangi bahu.. If he was married to Indian Girl she will throw so many tantrums and none of the above will work.. But I am so glad that Indian MIL's at least care for some women kind.

  26. Thank you so much for this excellent article! So so relatable. My Indian MIL is here on her second trip to the United States and has been here 3 months. She's so sweet, but I'm finding myself getting easily frustrated by the uncertainty of when she is leaving and always feeling like I should include her with every activity or outing. I feel like I'm at my breaking point!


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