In Part 1 of this 2 part series, we try to answer the above question. 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 examine the challenges around unstated expectations, how this can become a drain when it comes to daily living. She also shares how she sought help and what actions she took and continues to take, to make sure the home becomes a place of love, care, freedom, nurturing and more.
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:
We start with our guest of the day talking about the concept of joint family in the US and why it is important to understand the challenges this particular aspect itself brings forth.
We discuss the additional burden of expectation to fit in, as a daughter in law and how this manifests in daily life. She shares a few examples of this, about certain fixed mindsets, about certain unstated expectations from the daughter in law leading to questions like when do the in laws want to be independent and when do they want help or additional care ?
She talks about constantly trying to watch very closely to figure out what is required vs what doesn’t work for her and what to do then. We discuss there is no such thing as we have figured out how this works and how it is a constant process. This tightrope walking leads to a lot of stress in one's daily life.
She talks about how she found this extremely stressful and how she decided to take professional help. She shares how they have got to a point of living in a harmonious state where there are differences, but they have learnt to navigate the waters without creating tsunamis.
She talks about the scenarios when for unstated reasons her mother in law would get upset and how she used to try to talk it out, apologize etc earlier. And how, after a lot of reflection, she has chosen to respond differently to the same triggers by thinking through, acknowledging and accepting her mother in laws right to have her own feelings and more importantly, there is no need to try to solve this - to believe that her mother in law can resolve her problems herself.
We discuss about such crucial points and the importance of being aware, of reflecting and making the choice of responding or not responding to the trigger. We also talk about this constant overarching need to respect and love the in-laws as husband's parents and the acknowledgement that they are not one's own parents.
We get into other practical techniques that she adopted and here, she starts talking about not getting time for herself in her busy schedule, caring for all and carrying out her responsibilities in her various roles.
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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