Monday, April 30, 2007

Husbands of the 20th century

Come on girls I need your opinion today cause I 'm really going insane.

Here's the scoop...
As every year, this year too, me and my friends want to celebrate 'Mother's day' by taking a day (actually couple of hours) away from house chores/kids/husbands/or whatever. On Saturday, I was calling my friends one by one to check with timings and finalize the venue.
Well, a very dear friend of mine said that she won't be able to come with us. We always try to accomodate everybody so, I asked her if she wants a different day/time. But, she said that her in-laws are visiting them (they should to be here today) and her husband said that she should not go to such activities till they are here. To this I said that she can bring along her MIL too, but her husband said that he doesn't want his parents to think that she is getting westernized (partying without the family).

What? (my emotions exactly)

I know when my ILs are here, there are a few changes we do around the house. Like no non-veg, no poker nights or beers for my husband, no shorts/tank tops/swimsuits for me, no getting up late on weekends. And I am perfectly okay with it. Its not a big deal for me. But, all this is a way of showing my respect for them.

Is my friend insulting her family if she goes out with her friends for 2 hrs. I mean, come on she takes care of 2 kids (ages 7 and 41/2) every single day. And its not like we are going to a disco club or a strip club, just a nice quiet lunch. Is it too much to ask? I know I am a feminist(well not 100%) and now and then I have to be reminded that I 'm a wife/mother first and then a woman. And its okay to put your family first. But, I am really sad since I talked to my friend.

Am I being paranoid? My husband thinks I am taking it way too seriously. According to him its a typical Indian husband behaviour. I still don't get it.

Okay, let it come. Don't be shy to tell me that I am wrong in thinking that my friend deserves a couple of hours of 'me-time'. Maybe I do need to calm my 'feminist' side a little bit.
(Thanks for reading :) )

31 comments:

Dee said...

That was really interesting! I totally agree that we have to tweek and twist a bit to respect the opnions of our elders. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I don't think your friend is being disrespective in hanging out with her female friends that are also mothers?!! I am not able to understand the logic behind her husband's reasoning. I don't want to judge someone that I don't even know, so I'll tell you what I do in my house.We respect each others' space, freedom and opinions...and this includes my husband, my parents and in-laws. If I am displeased, I make it clear in plain words so everyone knows what I think and there is no room for hidden greviences. I know I am making it sound easy, but the fact is if you don't speak for yourself , who will ? :)So, if your friend is fine with it then thats ok...but if it was me, that would not be ok!
-Dee

GettingThereNow said...

I think the husband is bending over backwards to accomodate his parents. There is nothing "westernized" in spending an afternoon with your friends over lunch. I feel sorry for your friend but then as Dee said - if it is fine with her then who am I to judge? If it were happening to me, I would make it known that I do not agree and I WOULD go to the lunch. Not to show any disrespect towards my in-laws but to assert my need for social interaction as an individual. In fact, when my in-laws were here last year, I went to a friend's place for a "sleep-over" just so we gals could hang out and bond. Fortunately (for my husband :D) he didn't interfere with my decision.

Sandeepa said...

Ummmmmmmm...interesting question :)

I can only speak for myself. If this would be my home I would keep the Mothers Day plan for home with family and would have decided on another day to go out with my friends. I would have done that both if my Mother or Ma-in-law were with me.
My Ma-in-law is usually a pretty sweet person and I don't do things much differently when she is around.


But if your friend is fine its ok I guess, maybe situation is different at her home.

But you are going to have fun on Mothers Day it seems so enjoy :)

Asha said...

Good one Saheli.I don't think it is very "typical" Indian husband behavior at all but depends on the individual family one belongs to.

Personally,I think he is little jealous!!;D

She can always cook and make the in-laws feel comfortable before she goes out for a lunch.It's up her really.We can sit outside and become arm chair psychologist(me) all we want but it's her who has go back to him,poor thing.Can she stand up to him is the question and may be she doesn't want to stir the pot!!!

I personally go out and stay longer deliberately if my hubby tells me not to go!!:D

Saheli said...

That is what my husband says, 'don't poke your nose in others business'. But when it comes to someone that I care, it hurts to see them hurt.

Thanks Dee, Gettingtherenow, Sandeepa and Asha for you comments.

After my friend's in-laws go back to India, our group had decided to confront our friend's husband (of course, in a casual way) and maybe educate him that its ok for his wife to have a little fun :)

B o o said...

I have loads of friends who even stop calling or visiting once their in laws visit. They just want to put a stop to their social life temporarily! But I kinda understand as they dont want one more issue to be dealt with! ;) But it has to be the womans decision no matter what.

Ranjani said...

going out with friends for lunch is westernised !..give me a break . even in my village ( back in india) , sometimes my aunt goes out for movies with her friends even though my granny( my aunt's MIL) was still there . well, my granny also used to go out with her friends to things they enjoy like bhajans, temples, etc..
westernised , it seems..
its just abt being a MCP ..and of course kudos to ur friend for actually being ok with this...that guy should thank he is not married to me..

swapna said...

Hi saheli
As ur hubby said it is a hubby's way to say some rules to wifes.It is from long long ago in our culture.Hubbies think that they are the superiors to us and we have to obey their rules and regulations.But in this situation we also have to think.What u are thinking is perfectly correct as we think of middle aged wifes and newly married couples.But in the older ages people don't understand the situations and they think that they are right in every aspect.

Some inlaws don't like these type of behaviors.I know some of them.So normally we have to adjust because in their age they don't want to think of our problems .May be it is a cause for ur friend.
Sometimes they don't give values for our thoughts and ideas also.In these days because of these software jobs parents are staying too far from their sons.They come for either 1 month or 2 months to stay with them.So the sons also think that why to disturb their moods when it is a matter of 1 or 2 months.U only said that u people do these celebrations every year.is he said anything then?Sometimes the hubbies has to think of their parents also na..?
What do u say?

In these type of situations as wifes we have to understand our hubbies and give support to them of course it is not our wish.If not unnecessary things will be created by the parents(sometimes) and the pain will be for us.

i am writing a long story here...
Sorry if i hurt ur feelings.

swapna said...

Hi saheli
As ur hubby said it is a hubby's way to say some rules to wifes.It is from long long ago in our culture.Hubbies think that they are the superiors to us and we have to obey their rules and regulations.But in this situation we also have to think.What u are thinking is perfectly correct as we think of middle aged wifes and newly married couples.But in the older ages people don't understand the situations and they think that they are right in every aspect.

Some inlaws don't like these type of behaviors.I know some of them.So normally we have to adjust because in their age they don't want to think of our problems .May be it is a cause for ur friend.
Sometimes they don't give values for our thoughts and ideas also.In these days because of these software jobs parents are staying too far from their sons.They come for either 1 month or 2 months to stay with them.So the sons also think that why to disturb their moods when it is a matter of 1 or 2 months.U only said that u people do these celebrations every year.is he said anything then?Sometimes the hubbies has to think of their parents also na..?
What do u say?

In these type of situations as wifes we have to understand our hubbies and give support to them of course it is not our wish.If not unnecessary things will be created by the parents(sometimes) and the pain will be for us.

i am writing a long story here...
Sorry if i hurt ur feelings.

Sandeepa said...

Hey Saheli
I am so sorry to see you sad about your friend.
Why don't you ask her if it's ok that all of you order food from outside and then all you girls (send the hubby and FIL and kids some place else :) have lunch at her place with her Ma-in-law in tow !!!

She gets to have fun and once her Ma-in-law meets all of you maybe she would be comfortable next time around.

Trupti said...

You're a very concerned friend, and it shows...however,this issue is so touchy, its better to respect your friends's decision...after all, she is the one who will have to face the music(good or bad) with her inlaws and husband after its all done with.

I am all for asserting independence, but sometimes, even us independent minded ones have to bend our rules a little to accomodate others.
Maybe all of you should meet this MIL and make her feel comfortable with you and the rest while she's here....provided she's up to it.

you're certainly not "wrong" in your thinking at all....everyone deserves time alone. The ability to make this particular decision, though,should come from your friend.
I hope all goes well.

-Trupti

Praba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praba said...

Now this makes a good post...Was waiting for a gossipy(sorry no offense meant) post like this one!!! :-) Sorry about my cheap thrill out of this...:-)

Bring MIL along to the party - nice of you to offer that! :-) My MIL always loved my girl friends. May be your friend and/or you all should talk to her MIL once she is here, and ask her if she wants to join the party and who knows - she might very well say "Chalo, let's go beti!" Who knows - she might even say "No I don't want to come. But you should go!" :-)

Sometimes it might be helpful to be diplomatic - a win-win situation for all!If the avenues of communication are not open, and if they are too old-fashioned, may be wouldn't work.

I guess it's different in different families! Some of these older moms I have noticed love "Mother's Day" for some reason...My MIL gets angry if I don't call her on Mother's Day...It's such a hyped up thing now and noone wants to be left out - even in India...

Meera's Blog said...

Well, if the mother in law is visiting on the same day, I would change going out to a different date. I would do that even it’s someone else! Just showing the guests respect. Otherwise, if she is settled from the travel, then I don’t see why your friend cannot go out and have fun. Personally I like to spend special days at home with family and like to go out with my friends on normal Friday nights or some Saturday mornings for coffee and talks.
But all depends on what exactly your friend feels. If your friend is okay with what her husband says, what can we say? But certainly telling that, mil would think she is being westernized, is way over the edge, come on!! She is in a western country!! If he didn’t like that, he should have stayed back home!!
I don’t change my routine when my mil visits me. I get up after 10 on weekends; I wear whatever I feel like according to the temperature. She doesn’t mind one bit. But then each person is different! if we keep on trying to please everyone we might end up feeling very displeased I don’t think that’s worth the trouble taking ,at least when it comes to silly things like this! I hope her mil is more westernized in thinking than her hubby and that she wont mind her dil going out for a couple of hours with her friends.

Me too said...

May be she thinks it is easier to explain to friends! Though your friend could've let you guys know her plans long time back so as not to upset you all at the last minute. After all, India trips don't get decided at the last minute.

Like Swapna says, this attitude of husbands trying to portray the 'adarsha' family because the parents come only for a few months is quite common.

I am reminded of this episode in 'Everybody loves Raymond' when Debra has this Tupperware party without inviting Marie and Marie gate-crashes and drives everyone mad.

And if I had to cook and then go, I would rather stay home! ;)

Saheli said...

Thanks Boo, Ranjani, Swapna, Sandeepa, Trupti, Praba for your comments.
My husband and other friends are telling me to let go. But the evil side of me has plans! I 'm thinking of making a big deal on Father's day. That will make him think what his wife missed. If I can get my husband's help I should be able to pull it off.
Nah! he won't go for it.
My friend won't either.
I think these are the people who balance evil thinkers like me ;) in this world.
After all this feminist talk, my husband just handed me a basket full of dirty laundry and took the kids to tuck them in.
Well, life goes on...
I'm just going to wait till 10th or 11th and ask her again in front of her in-laws.
As always I have hope :)

Tharini said...

Interesting post. :)

As a reply...I firt put this question across to my husband...

This is what he said...

"Sure you can go out with your friends...and I'll take my mother out to a nice lunch."

So what do we make of that? :)

Do I get J or not?

Saheli said...

Thanks Meera , Metoo and Tharini!
Well, my friend's MIL were supposed to be here today.
Well, getting all these comments shows how differently we think...

Saheli said...

Hey Tharini,
Sorry, I 'm not good at internet lingo. What does 'J' stands for?

Tharini said...

J = jealous.

Of course I am being silly in this case, but that was my first reaction when he said that!

Reena said...

In this whole scenario I would say 'Jab miyan biwi raazi to kya karega qazi' :)).

Just like how the poster is trying to adjust to accomodate her in-laws by getting up early or wearing clothes according to inlaws preference, this friend of hers is too by not going out. If she is fine with it then leave it at that :).

Personally if my inlaws or parents come to my home even then we try to continue with our way of life. We respect them and attend to all their needs and care for them but clothes, timings and parties are our personal things and if we are not doing anything wrong then why to hide it? My MIL is anyways a very broadminded person and even if she is not in some cases, she respects my decisions because I respect hers. Respect should be mutual. It shouldn't be forced.

So my POV is to leave this friend alone and go ahead with your party. May be you can drop in at this friend's with some goodies later and tell her in front of inlaws that how nice the mother's day get together was and how much you missed her. May be inlaws will get a hint and her hubby too :)

Asha said...

Saheli,
I like Reena's post and suggestion.Leave your friend to her wish right now and then get her a box of dessert or something.Take it to her,give it to her in front of hubby and in-laws,hug her and tell her how much you missed her!!;D

Sometimes a soft punch in the stomach(for the hubby) is better than confrontation and don't bother about celebrating 'father's day' for that guy!!He doesn't deserve it.

Kay said...

I agree with Asha, such a guy will enjoy the father's day, if you celebrate it, and go his way. He won't take the time to realize what his wife missed out on. If he was such a guy who'd realize it, he'd probably accommodate his wife's wishes too (by at least sending her off as if she's visiting a friend or just grocery shopping on her own).

If I were you, I'll probably call the mom-in-law and talk to her and sincerely invite 'her' for the mother's day party as a honor guest! I bet she'll be thrilled and her dil or her son will not have a chance to say 'no' to a party thrown for her mil. :) heheee

Westernized! huh? There was a maid who came to work at our place a few years back. she went to movies two days every week with her girlfriends, with her mil babysitting her children. Yeah, maybe that maid from a small town in Tamilnadu was probably westernized. Or maybe she was just 'living' her life the way she wanted it to be.

Saheli said...

Tharini: Yes, you are right, your husband did have a wonderful idea. Lucky you!

Reena: Looks like my friend too is just trying to accomodate her in-laws by not rebelling. Thanks for the 'goodies' idea too.

Asha: Well, I wanted a "Father's day" for the MCP in a sarcastic way but, anyways no nothing special for him. Thanks!

Kay: Three cheers for the maid. Yea!

Initially, I was so angry at my friends husband and his thinking and also at my friend for not standing up for herself. But, after 23 comments later, after reading all the views posted it just feels that maybe it was right for her.
Yesterday, when my daughter asked for popsicle before dinner, I said no (of course). And she argued that her friend Natalie got to eat it before dinner. And at times like this when kids compare to their friends, I say 'In our family we do not eat popsicle before dinner'
It all comes down to what you do as a family. Families from different cultures, with different education and different thinking will do things differently.
Live and let live (nobody mess with me and they can live ;))

bee said...

she ahs a husband problem. if my husband pulls that one, he'll be out of my life. really. it's not about going to a party. it is about respect.

Saheli said...

Right Bee!
Mutual respect is key to healthy relationsip.

mommyof2 said...

Desi hubbys (most) don't like to do anything special for their wives and on top of that they have stupid rules or thinking too to ruin the day;-)

Its wrong of him to say that and maybe you should call him and tell him to do something special for HIS mom too so that she will remember this and enjoy something special from her son:-)

mommyof2 said...

oh btw, it depends on MIL too.. If she is very conservative, it won't work but if she is like my MIL who loves to explore new things, she would enjoy it and expect it every year;-)

Saheli said...

Hey Mommyof2, as of now, I only hope that my friend gets some courage and stands up for herself. I can't imagine what else tortures he has for her in store.

Anonymous said...

i don't want to comment on the issue anymore - coz everyone has said everything there is to be said!
but really i have learnt one important thing from all of you here. the ability to see something from another persons point of view - even if they can't see from yours!
i am usually very opinionated and have strong likes and dislikes and even opinions on how i think other people should live their lives etc (of course all this in my head only - i don't go around telling them that!) and this was a good learning for me - how so many of you could actually not agree with the situation, but yet be willing to see it from someone else's point of view.
d

Archana said...

So what happened finally?