A mother-in-law is the mother of your husband legally by marriage. So when you marry, you come with new dreams in your eyes and are welcomed by close relatives led by mother-in-law. She welcomes you with open arms and tries to make you comfortable. In Indian households, the daughter-in-law (considered symbolic of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth) is welcomed by lighting of lamps and placing them on a gold or silver plate for good omen. You jointly take blessings from her and start your life in the new family.
It is quite true that even if the mother-in-law may be working, still she may initially get insecure over losing her son to a more beautiful and smart aide emotionally. So she may slowly start interfering unknowingly having established the daughter-in-law as adversary in her mind. It is also true that daughter-in-law may also be insensitive but the reverse is truer. If the daughter-in-law is a career person, she may object to her rising late in the mornings, not visiting temples, postponing having children , non existent kitchen work abilities etc. in such a subtle way that the son may just observe it to be a suggestion rather than an insult. The daughter-in-law feels let down and is asked by the husband not to retort at any cost and eventually, the mother-in-law succeeds in driving a wedge through their relationship.
The urge to dominate and control the proceedings may find nemesis in her earlier days as daughter-in-law when she was verbally abused in the similar fashion. It is that they just want to feel that thrill of victory by putting down their daughter-in-law in front of their relatives. When kids arrive, they interfere in terms of advice on how to raise your kids at the drop of a hat.
PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE WITH MOTHER-IN-LAW
It is possible to proactively deal with all the barbs by following the golden strategy of mostly silence and not angry retorts. Calmly state your side of situation to other elders and husband. Involve her in family decisions and display your generosity.
If you are able to turn your mother-in-law in your favor, heaven shall exist on this earth. Your patience and tolerance can win her to your side and she will start giving you the most genuine of love, help you teach raising your kids like no one will. So, make room for her idiosyncrasies and she will start confiding in you as a real daughter.