I am not a television buff. But I have a small list of programs that catch my fancy and I watch them when I can. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, loves watching television and has a long list of favourite serials she doesn’t like miss a single episode of each one of them.
A few days ago we had the house to ourselves and my mother-in-law started watching television at her usual time, The serial she was watching was Sembaruthi on ZeeTamil. Even though I don’t understand Tamil, the ongoings on the television screen got me curious, and I kept my laptop aside to watch it. Before I knew it my mother-in-law was translating the serial’s dialogues for me, and that episode had my complete attention.
Sembaruthi means the Hibiscus, in Tamil. The Serial is about a female servant who was married to her owner’s son, under unfortunate circumstances. The relationship between the mother-in-law Akhilandeshwari and her daughter-in-law Parvathy is the theme of this serial.
This got me thinking, how will Akhilandeshwari and Parvathy bond? How will they form a better relationship? How will Parvathy woo her mother-in-law?
All those thoughts led me to share some points to woo mothers-in-law, based on my own experiences:
Be a good listener: Everyone loves to talk, to share anecdotes about themselves and their lives. However, there are very few people who like to listen. As people grow older, they tend to talk more, reliving the past through their words and stories. Doing so, takes them back to the good times, and talking about the good times make them feel that they matter. Sadly, older people rarely find a listening ear, as everyone is leading a busy life these days. If you are a good listener to your mother-in-law it will help you both get closer. Also, who knows you might glean some wisdom and learning by listening to her experiences.
Don’t invade her kitchen: At least not until you’re asked to, that is. For most women who have been running a house for many years, their kitchen becomes their kingdom. With the kitchen being the most important part of any house, that is where they rule from, or at least they believe that they do. If that is the case in your house, respect that. Don’t take it personally. Instead, take baby steps by helping out your mother-in-law with little chores.. If she is receptive to listening, try sharing your little tips and tricks. It won’t be long before you both will be working side by side.
Be attentive to her needs: Is there a fruit she particularly likes? Or a brand of toothpaste she prefers? Is she taking her medication on time? Is there someplace she likes to go, but does not do so due to lack of company? These are the small things, small needs which all of us have, which if you are attentive to, can make her feel special. Women are always so caught up in taking care of everyone in the house that their needs are pushed on the backburner. Before you know it, their preferences don’t even matter anymore. When a person has someone caring about the little things, it becomes a very big thing for them. As it will, for your mother-in-law.
The echoes of small deeds and gestures are sometimes very great. Hope Parvathy understands that.
For now, off I go, to watch another episode of Sembaruthi. You can even watch the show from the start on ZEE5.