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Polish girls and traditions (esp. between mother in laws and daughter in laws)

Neharika 1 | 9
9 Mar 2011 #1

I would appreciate getting some cues about Polish tradition when it comes to the relationship between mother in laws and daughter in laws. My son is married to a Polish and they would be visiting first time. I would like to make it a good experience for her and give a real chance to our relationship. She is the mother of my grandson now too.

Good signs: she is eager to meet me as well. I had less contact with my son during the first two years of their marriage, I am least aware of what might be her likes and dislikes, or perhaps the customs or cultural norms which form different meanings. She did show her own eagerness to come and meet us with him. Hopefully if we can be respectful to each other then this critical relationship may grow. I myself planned to visit Poland to meet them for the first time, but they wish to come first for us, and this is a very warm move with respect to my customs. She is a Catholic Christian.

I will appreciate some help in this matter if possible. Any traditional cuisine tip would be delightful!

Thank you,

Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Mar 2011 #2
relationship between mother in laws and daughter in laws

Just treat her like you would a daughter :-)
I guess this will be expected. In Poland, the new wife / husband typically calls their mother in law "mother" when speaking to her, and if the parties get it right (and you for one sound very reasonable), they do form a sort of "mother-child" bond as time goes on. The trick is to not be too overbearing and intrusive. The young couple's life is their own. As long as you set the boundaries right, you will gain a new daughter :-)

Any traditional cuisine tip would be delightful!

I think it would be great fun to ask your daughter in law to teach you how to cook a simple Polish dish, while you might teach her an Indian one. Overall, cook whatever you would for such an occasion, but tone down the spices a bit, at least in the beginning ;-)
OP Neharika 1 | 9
9 Mar 2011 #3
Thank you Magdalena,

I do want to accept her like my daughter, also there are things she inherits from our ancestors by being the wife of our only son. In some families like ours, the successive daughter in laws pass on a tribute or token of blessings to their successors, and thus it becomes ancient and almost holy, so to be preserved and adorned with care. It took two years for me to see many things more clearly, and she is a decent young beautiful girl with sincerity. I also long to see my grandson unbearably, and wish my family can now be complete with her.

There is no reason for me to be highly intrusive, I were a daughter in law too and I can understand that. They will come for a couple of months in which this bond between a mother and a daughter can be formed. When they return to Poland, all I wish is to be more close at heart and certainly will visit them from time to time, while they can come happily now anytime, our home is none other then theirs too.

The tips for the food you gave me are priceless. We eat quite spicy usually, so I will keep this in mind.

I will keep a check on this place if anything new appears later. Welcome all positive inputs.


Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Mar 2011 #4
There is no reason for me to be highly intrusive, I were a daughter in law too and I can understand that.

I can see even now that everything will turn out just great for you and your daughter in law :-)
9 Mar 2011 #5
We eat quite spicy usually, so I will keep this in mind.

Poles tend not to like spicy food. Or at least they don't like it the first few times they try it but they tend to pick up on the fact that spicy food is good food.

They will come for a couple of months in which this bond between a mother and a daughter can be formed.

Ask her to show you how to drink vodka properly.
OP Neharika 1 | 9
9 Mar 2011 #6

We do not take alcoholic beverages in our family, and we believe that my son retains this. He was always a very responsible and capable boy. No reason for me to think on this matter.

Yet beyond that, it is a matter which is not mine to worry about. We did hand over our values to him with proper explanations and guidance when we were supposed to. Now he is a mature person and I expect so is she, therefore they can certainly look and judge the values they want to carry forward with themselves while being respectful to others.

If it was a joke, then I suppose I am just too serious now to afford a laugh here.

However, thank you for the response. I appreciate anything positive.

Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Mar 2011 #7
Ask her to show you how to drink vodka properly.

That was a really, really embarrassing suggestion for you to make, and it would have been very embarrassing for both Neharika and her daughter in law as well. It's like saying outright: I think you're an alcoholic from a country of alcoholics, and the only thing you can teach me is how to drink vodka. Nasty. :-/
9 Mar 2011 #8
We do not take alcoholic beverages in our family, and we believe that my son retains this.

I don't suppose that you are a betting woman by any chance? If you are, would you care for a small wager with regard to the above?
9 Mar 2011 #9
However, thank you for the response. I appreciate anything positive.


Will an apology on behalf of the entire male gender for the above two idiots do?

(It's not much, but it's all I've got)

Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Mar 2011 #10
Any traditional cuisine tip would be delightful!

I was thinking. I understand your family is vegetarian? You could ask your daughter in law to show you how to make pierogi, a type of stuffed dumpling, distant relative of the samosa (they are boiled not fried, though they are sometimes refried later). Pierogi stuffing is often vegetarian, e.g. potatoes with curd cheese seasoned with black pepper and salt, or mushrooms (with our without added cabbage), or lentils... You can also make sweet pierogi with various kinds of fruit.

BTW I used to live in India as a little girl and I absolutely loved puris, alu gobi, palak paneer... :-)
OP Neharika 1 | 9
9 Mar 2011 #11

I do see patients still (I am a doctor) and so could not check more quickly. Thank you so much for so many beautiful and positive feedback.

Namaste alexw68, I have seen much of life and I really do not get bothered with stray words by some individuals. I am here for a purpose, to know Polish traditions or if there is anything specific to Polish young girls after their marriage when they first visit their in laws. If there is something good, it will only help me to be better prepared for my daughter in law who I presume is going to step out of Poland for the first time. Also the fact that this will be our first interaction, and I wish to do my part in it properly. But thank you for your concern, shows what you are made of.

Magdalena dear, my family is vegetarian, you are so right. We are North Indians, and we love samosas. Then if she thinks she would like to make pierogi, I would certainly be happy. She sounds very willing to meet us, and that was something very warm. All I can say is that she is someone I should have met a lot earlier.

You have been in India!

Those are pure vegetarian dishes you named, and all of them taste wonderful. Maybe they are the dishes I should get prepared for their arrival.

They will arrive in a couple of days.

You all have been very helpful, very warm. I appreciate this lots.

Thank you,

Marynka11 4 | 659
9 Mar 2011 #12
Neharika, I think you should just stick to your own tradition and food. I'm Polish married to a German. When I first went to visit his parents they prepared some Polish dishes, had all kinds of pictures handy from their Polish vacations, and all kinds of Polish this and Polish that. I really appreciated the effort, but I couldn't help but feel like with all this gestures they are saying you are not one of us, we need to accomodate you. I would be so much happier if they did everything their normal ways. I would fell more like I'm being "let in". Just my perspective...
OP Neharika 1 | 9
9 Mar 2011 #13
Hello Marynka11,

This is what I am planning to do already. I would welcome them in our traditional way, by letting her in with rice in her hands, her as she is the mother of my only grandson she needs to taste sweet yogurt from a silver cup and spoon from me and my daughter after she takes her first step from the door. These are some of our simple ways to welcome. It varies from different families, as the diversity of traditions in our country is very rich.

The cuisine we plan to serve them will certainly contain some of the dishes Magdalena suggested as puri, aloo gobi and palak paneer. I have no idea about Polish cuisine, and so I will keep that for later. I was curious, but it is natural.

Very useful views, specially that of the spices!


9 Mar 2011 #14
between mother in laws and daughter in laws

There is no difference between mother/mother in law in Poland, as a mother/grand mother you will automatically hold a position of respect from your daughter (in law). Poland is very family orientated, sitting round the table eating and drinking while telling stories about past and present family members is very common here. Just be yourself and pass on your traditions and values, also take the opportunity to learn a little about Poland from you daughter. Enjoy your time as grand parents, 2 months will pass very quickly.
enkidu 7 | 623
9 Mar 2011 #15
Well I know India only from the Bollywood films and from the stories of my friend who lived there for some time.

What amazes me is how the Polish and Indian family life is similar. How much we have got in common.
Really, it's a mind-blowing sometimes. We have more in common with Indians than with the British.

Of course, I understand that Indian culture is quite different. But on the other hand...

There is a saying in Polish: "The man is a head of the family, but the woman is the neck that turning the head."

A can see exactly the same in Indian movies.
Or our respect to elderly. I don't want to say that the British don't respect their parents or grandparents. They just doing it in different way. In Poland the grandma is important part of the family.

Anyway - I think that if you both show each other respect and honesty - it can't go wrong.

One word about honesty. I don't know how much the Indian culture is influenced by the British, but I know that in England is perceived quite rude to tell somebody something "not flattering" strait into his face. For example (strictly theoretically) - you may be not "entirely happy" about the clothing of your daughter-in-law (like mini-skirts etc). You shall take her aside and tell her that. You shall tell her how do you feel about this and suggest changes. It shall be done in the respectful way. And you should accept her decision whatever it may be.

And you shall be not offended if your new daughter would do the same to you.
In Poland being direct and honest is a way of showing respect.
And being honest not always meant to be nice.

My suggestion - on your first meeting ask her to call you "mama". And hug her. Hug her a lot.
You are a great mother-in-law. Great indeed. :-)
OP Neharika 1 | 9
10 Mar 2011 #16

Warszawski, that is a marvelous thing which I came to know here. It is so much like us, the daughter in law actually should be treated like a daughter. I do expect the two months to be a very delightful experience to all of us. Without my son, and my grandson and her the family cannot be complete.

enkidu, bollywood is not India, it is just a film industry and they sell whatever is entertainment. Entertainment is usually what people wish to see, not what actually happens in their lives. Modern India is much more different than many of the old or the new movies. Neither are people singing on the streets, nor are people forcing their children for anything. Yes, the man is the head of the family, but women have their rights intact. You have aptly described the matter with the head and neck theory :). Indian culture is not actually so much influenced by the British. We are still very collectivist, while the British are individualists. We use the English language, but that is to benefit our economy and interactions with the rest of the world. Indian English in itself is different from the British English. I do not judge people based on the kind of cloth they wear, it is the inner part of a person which gets people close or distant. By the words we have shared on the phone, I could only find affection from her, which is very positive given the 2 wasted years we had least communication due to my own flawed perspectives. I would be keen to see how she would like to represent herself, given that she is an important member and certainly my successor, while being the mother of the first grandson in the family in its whole. But really, I cannot worry, I am just looking forward to meeting them all with open arms!

I will certainly hug them all. I am a mother, and I have denied myself from too much already.

Thank you for all the warmth, it speaks volumes of the Polish tradition of being friendly.


beckski 12 | 1,611
10 Mar 2011 #17
Hopefully if we can be respectful to each other then this critical relationship may grow

Genuine respect is the key factor. There are a few negative threads on the forum, pertaining to mothers-in-law. Some people basically would like to see them burn at the stake.
OP Neharika 1 | 9
10 Mar 2011 #18

There is no such prerequisite for a mother in law to be cruel. Yes, sometimes they are stubborn, but that phase can pass. I have been a daughter in law too, and I can sense what a daughter in law may wish for.

Anyone who prefer a family structure rather than remaining singular in relationships (which is a personal choice among those where it can be accepted), should know that even though they are a daughter in law now, in future they will be a mother in law too. So there is no reason to think of this relation as something negative, but as a relation which like any other relation needs compromise and understanding.

As you said, genuine mutual respect is the key factor.


enkidu 7 | 623
10 Mar 2011 #19
Neither are people singing on the streets, nor are people forcing their children for anything.

My father-in-law is an Indolog and he love to talk about his job. I am not sure how to translate this. He is an university lecturer specialised in Indian matters. His job is mostly to translate old Pali and Sanskrit texts into Polish. Yeah, I know - this is not about modern India either, but I did read quite a lot of books written by the modern Indian authors and have got some Indian friends. I think I can spot the difference between Bollywood fantasies, tourist attractions and the real life.

You said that people don't dance on the streets? My heart is broken. ;-)

Your patriotism is appalling. I suppose - this is another thing we have got in common..

Anyway - good luck!

I meant appealing, of course. :)
10 Mar 2011 #20
I think you will get a new daughter very soon :) congrats! ;) you seem very gentle :) Good qualities any girl would like i think ;) I would suggest you talk more with her, do write more after your experience.

there are less Poles in this forum, but anyone who wrote positive is a Pole :) and you will find too when our girl win the heart :) ;)
10 Mar 2011 #21
I keep my fingers crossed for your meeting and wish you good luck! And...... I wish I could taste some of your cooking. Sounds so yummy! You are a truly gentle and lovely person.
enkidu 7 | 623
10 Mar 2011 #22
there are less Poles in this forum, but anyone who wrote positive is a Pole :)

That's true. Frankly.

You know - Poles on this forum are usually described as racist an violent bunch.
I don't see it on this thread. :)

Of course - sooner or later there will be somebody, who would try to troll a little bit.
Probably he would say something about the brown under-humans that dishonour the European blood etc.

I want Neharika to know that these are not Poles. We don't think nor act that way.
In fact - the real Polish person is very rare specie here.

How many of us? Ten maybe? Of five hundreds of active posters.
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,226
11 Mar 2011 #23
I wish you good luck! and fun :)

Oh Get a grip!
Everyone has nightmares of brown-shirts invading your debating arena
Eurola 4 | 1,900
11 Mar 2011 #24
Neharika, all the best to you and your daughter-in-law. If your son is just like you, she is one lucky girl to be married to him. Apparently, he saw the qualities he wanted in a future wife.

I would love to hear how the meeting went.
rybnik 18 | 1,453
11 Mar 2011 #25
I agree. I hope you will find some time and relate to us how those two months went. It will undoubtedly make for very interesting reading.
OP Neharika 1 | 9
12 Mar 2011 #26
Hello friends,

Brought my son, daughter in law, and my dear grandson :) today.

It is a blessed child, born with the best stars. My Grandson have Polish first name, and the surname (or title as we call it) is ours ofcourse. The feeling of carrying him, hugging him, is so overwhelming, I will never be able to express in words. The symbol of our entire dynasty, and he seems to know he is among his own :). What else can we wish for? God bless him and save him from evil eyes!

My daughter in law can be described as a beautiful young girl with clear sincere eyes, the first thing she did when we came face to face was to bow and touch the feet for blessings of me and my husband in the most traditional way. Then she rises up with that unique bright, expressive and cheerful smile, to which I met with a warm hug from the heart (as one suggested in here, about the hug). On my curiosity she answered later in the car that this knowledge of our tradition was a discovery internet! My son is helping her surely, but this was a very deep knowledge. She researched a little it seems. We seem to have a similar start with each other :).

My son and I have spoken less in the last two years, but he was always in contact especially with his father, and he is just as sincere and responsible. Both of them look very good together and have very good interaction. They seem very mutually understanding and cooperative couple, something very important in any relationship to make it last for a lifetime and in our traditions, even beyond. Not to mention the positive affects for the child which it brings, unmatched.

I will write more as I opened this topic. You all have been very helpful and refreshing. I will copy the link, and after a quick two months, will write my experiences. Somehow I have a funny feeling that I will have a very good experience :).


Marynka11 4 | 659
12 Mar 2011 #27
Glad to hear everyone made it safely to India. Enjoy your time with your family Neharika.
rybnik 18 | 1,453
12 Mar 2011 #28
Can't wait to read more!
12 Mar 2011 #29
lovely ;) :) ... want to know more maybe after two month :) ... she should light your home :) ;) ... you all r lucky :), beautiful family :) ;)
enkidu 7 | 623
12 Mar 2011 #30
I have got nothing more to say.

Good luck! I wish you all the best.

Today we (me and my wife) went to the North Sea's shore and we drink a toast for the happiness and well-being of your new grandson. We don't know his name, so we decided to call him "Stasiu" - this is a old, traditional Polish name. We wished all the best for the Stasiu.

We drop a little bit of "Navy Rum" to the sea as a gift for the Gods.
I know that your family don't drink the alcohol, that is why we decided that's our duty to do it.

Wszystkiego najlepszego!

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