In Indian society, the norm is that the male child is responsible to take care of old parents. But what baffles us is the fact that old parents’ responsibility is divided on the basis of gender. Why can’t a married woman take care of her parents or why shouldn’t she?
Now it is important to broaden our mindset before going through this article. Any child, son, son in law, daughter or daughter in law, all four of them are responsible to take care of both the sets of parents.
Another thing to understand is the fact, that while a lot of women suffer the guilt that they are not allowed to take care of their old parents, there are some who actually take advantage of the fact that girls aren’t expected to take care of parents. Once, I came across someone whose parents weren’t well and I casually asked, ‘You must be worried. Are you planning to bring them to your place for some time?’ and this was her reply, ‘Oh, my brother is there, I don’t need to worry. I belong to a different family now, what can I do?’
I am sorry, they are your parents and you must understand that your gender has nothing to do with it.
While this is definitely an important lesson for some women who casually put all the responsibility on brothers or even abandon their parents. They too are guilty. There is another major problem: The in-law issue. Yes, not the law but the in law issue. A lot of people believe that once their daughter in law becomes a part of their family, she should simply get detached from her parents. I wonder, how is it even possible?
A married woman is equally responsible for her old parents’ wellbeing and her husband and in laws should understand and support their daughter in law when the time comes.
I have seen some women around me who are taking care of both the sets of parents simultaneously. One of my friends’ mom and mom in law are both old and not well and I am amazed by her commitment towards her ‘mothers’ as she refers to them collectively. I really appreciate the fact that her husband totally supports her. Some people might say that he is not doing anything special, it is his responsibility but he needs to be appreciated because, most men and a whole lot of women in our society do not even understand this simple thing, that a child is a child, irrespective of the gender.
Parents give equal love, education, upbringing, opportunities to all their kids, irrespective of their gender then why does the responsibility of old parents lies only with the male child?
People who do not let their daughters in law take care of her parents need to realize that just the way they expect not only their son, but the daughter in law as well to take care of them in old age, similarly the girl’s parents need their child’s love and support as well.
It is this thinking that only a boy can take care of his parents in old age, that is one of the major reasons some people don’t feel their family is complete unless they have a male child.
It is 2019, and high time we let go of such beliefs. I am as much responsible for my parents’ wellbeing as my brother and so will be my daughter. She needs to be around us, take us to the doctor and I might go and live with her if I will feel the need when I grow old.