The responsibilities of daughters in law are not only restricted to keep her in-laws happy by pleasing them but be happy with them as a family.
A woman is a responsibility bearer as soon as she gets married, she is held responsible for everything which happens after she enters the house. Directly or indirectly she is held responsible for things not working out or even if something unfortunate happens.
In this blog, let us try to discuss as good as 21 responsibilities of daughters-in-law and how they are expected to fulfill all of them.
Responsibilities of Daughters in Law
As soon as a girl gets married taking care of everything and everyone becomes her prime responsibility by default. Especially in India, where we are treated as paraya dhan right from birth and in law’s house is considered as our real house. We have to keep everybody happy and please everyone, seek validation, and have no expectations.
Sounds good to in-laws, but how does this work in reality? How can we expect daughters in law to fulfill all the responsibility alone when relationships need two-way efforts. Till the day you carry on all your duties with a smiling face and never complain about anything, everybody is fine but the day when you start expecting, start complaining you are labeled, and your thousands of good deeds go down the drain.
Many women share a wonderful relationship with their mothers-in-law which is great. Sometimes, expectations are placed on you that may not be realistic for you. Like if you are already responsible for a job, a household, and a family and you are a busy person you might also need extended help, but you can say NO to your mom and not your mother in law. 99% of the time you will be misunderstood and your in-laws will get annoyed.
21 Responsibilities of Daughters in Law
Marrying a man does not make a woman enslaved to give any particular treatment to her man’s family. Respect is earned. Kindness is earned. Love resides in one’s heart & is something you show to others but only if said person is not taking you for granted or treating you unequally.
There are certain parameters derived from the old wives’ tales, our ancestors have set some rules and all the daughters in law are judged on those parameters. I can list out at least 21 responsibilities of daughters in law set by the society and if you pass all the points, congratulations to you, you are the best daughter in law and if you do not match either of the set rules then I am sorry, you are not trying hard (as per society) and your overbearing in laws will be annoyed with you forever. Lets us discuss these responsibilities and what does it actually means to fulfill them and how it becomes a criterion to judge us.
|1.) Keeping everyone happy|
|2.) Serving tasty food|
|3.) Keeping home well-organized|
|4.) Taking care of elders at home|
|5.) Taking care of husband’s parents|
|6.) Children’s upbringing|
|7.) Work-life balance|
|8.) Maintaining distance with her own parents|
|9.) Not share things with husband|
|10.) Wake up early|
|11.) Keep everything smooth|
|12.) No personal space|
|13.) Share her things|
|14.) Financial management|
|15.) No reasoning|
|16.) No questioning|
|17.) Taking care of home’s sanity|
|18.) Mending relationships|
|19.) Informing things|
|20.) Forgetting her identity|
|21.) Accepting everything|
1.) Keeping everyone happy
Why is keeping everybody happy is one of the prime responsibilities of daughters in law? Why does the onus rest on her alone? Why do in-laws create problems in marriage by staying ignorant? It is a way arrangement when you give love you get love and you give respect you get respected.
2.) Serving tasty food
A woman is expected to cook delicious food right from day one, the fear of getting judged makes her even more nervous. There are thousands and lacs of women who have learned cooking after marriage and have gain expertise over the years and some still struggle to balance the salt as per taste. It is normal but when a thing is made compulsion and judgment criteria, will you enjoy doing it?
3.) Keeping home well-organized
Right from cleanliness to keeping things in order, it is the daughter in law’s duty to keep things organized and neat. House belongs to everyone and as a family when we all stay together then why the baggage of responsibility lies only on her shoulder? Even I love to keep things organized but I will not stop doing it in case I become a mother in law. Why does a mother in law stop doing things just because she has got a daughter in law now?
4.) Taking care of elders at home
Taking care of elders is a good thing and we must do that, but here also I have seen that if you are in a joint family then suddenly whole responsibilities come on the shoulders of a daughter in law and other members step back.
5.) Taking care of husband’s parents
Your prime connection is with your husband and then with your in-laws, which is your husband’s parents. Then why is the care-taking part and expectation becomes your duty only? It could be a combined duty and in-laws should also expect an equal amount of care and attention. Will a husband ever take care of her wife’s parents, no? Because no hone has mentioned this thing when the societal parameters were being set.
6.) Children’s upbringing
Now, this is one of the major challenges among the responsibilities of daughters in law. If you can manage to control your kids then you are safe otherwise if kids the way they usually behave, which is their childhood. YOU are responsible for the way they behave, you are blamed for their upbringing as if others have no role to play. But when your children will achieve and bring success home, they will become their children, and all the gene glory and ancestors will come out to take the credit.
7.) Work-life balance
I personally that this work-life balance thing should exist for both the partners but here too when women who are working and when she is at home she is expected to fulfill all the duties without much help from other family members, which becomes very exhaustive and frustrating for daughters in law. We as a family stay together to support n stake care of each other and don’t stay ignorant and keep to ourselves.
8.) Maintaining distance with her own parents
This is the most heartbreaking thing a daughter in law is expected to, staying away from her own parents. Expecting a child to forget her own mother and father is the worst mentality I have ever come across with in-laws. The nasty and toxic thing a mother in law could do is distance a daughter from her parents and criticize her for taking care of them.
9.) Not share things with husband
She is expected not to share anything with her husband. In the daytime when the husband is at work and when her biased sister in law treats her unequally or her mother in law criticizes her, she is expected to keep it to her. In case she tells about it to the husband because she is hurt, she is labeled as someone who is trying to snatch their son.
10.) Wake up early
Yes, this is a must. Waking up is a good habit, most of us do it but for a daughter in law it is a compulsion to wake up before other family members wake up, make tea for them, and start her day, I am again saying that there is nothing wrong here but there are times when she unwell or doesn’t feel like doing anything but has to get up and show up because no one cares.
11.) Keep everything smooth
Keeping everything neat, clean, and in order. Keeping everything running and smooth, To mean the badge of a perfect daughter in law we do everything, we clean house, we maintain and organize everything but still, we are judged even if we miss out a single thing. Sometimes even we need help and when we depend on others for help we are not liked much.
12.) No personal space
Being a daughter in law you crave for that “me time” your personal space. You are so tied up in the daily household chores that you are hardly left with any space for yourself, you stop investing in yourself and it leads to frustration.
13.) Sharing stuff
As a daughter in law you are expected to share all your beautiful pieces of stuff, like your clothes, your jewelry, including other things, if your sister in law or mother in law likes it. It is like they have this stake on your things, they consider it like yours. You can’t even refuse because you don’t want to be rude and they take you for granted.
14.) Financial management
Besides, keeping the house in order and organized, a daughter in law is expected to run the house with minimal expenses and save money for the future. Saving for the future is good, minimum spending is also good, being a minimalist I agree with spending for the things which is needed and not wanted but the onus should be not held on her shoulder alone, it is again a combined effort.
15.) No reasoning
A daughter in law is not allowed to ask for reasons behind a decision. She is expected to mind her own business which is taking care of the house, cooking, children, and household chores.
16.) No questioning
You cannot ask questions, make suggestions, and if you do and something goes wrong you will be blindly held responsible. The prime responsibilities of daughters in law do not only restrict to sort and organize but to stay quiet too.
17.) Taking care of home’s sanity
Forgetting about her own mental well-being, she is expected to take care of everyone’s sanity. No one cares about their sanity, no one thinks that if she will be happy from inside who will be more happily serving all her family members.
18.) Mending relationships
If you had an argument with your mother in law or sister in law, the responsibility of mending things comes on you. You are expected to apologize and they will never shed their ego and get along. This is very heartbreaking and frustrating for a daughter in law because many times even without her mistake she has to apologize just for the sake of peace and harmony in the house.
19.) Not complaining
Yes, a real hard-hitting responsibility of a daughter in law, you are not allowed to complain and cry. It is your prime responsibility to suffer in silence and still carry that beautiful smile for the world to see and not say a word of criticism or you will be blamed for defaming them.
20.) Forgetting her identity
You are the best daughter in law is you are adjusting, sacrificing, and compromising. If you are ready to forego your dreams, ambitions, and your own identity in order to raise yourself, your kids, and your family, be available for everyone, you are doing a great job.
21.) Accepting everything
It is good to accept things like it as but accepting everything opens the doors for troubles too, Then you become restless, lose control and feel helpless. Accepting goodness will be helpful but accepting the hurtful behavior of your in-laws will only create havoc in your space.
In the end, I would say that no matter how many responsibilities we try to discuss here, it varies from family to family. What concerns me here is that you will see the amount of good or bad in every duty and every responsibility demands patience, sacrifice, and attention from a daughter in law. But what about her? Does she get the same in return? If yes then I am sure she will be happily fulfilling her responsibilities, if not then she will be leading a frustrating and not so happy life.
A married woman has a responsibility towards her husband and so does he toward her. Taking care of his parents is a part of marriage but in many households that’s the only thing that becomes a major task and in such cases If a mother-in-law wants to be treated a particular way, she needs to hire a servant. The responsibilities of daughters in law do not come with a manual and there is no rule to fulfill each of them while whittling self.
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.