Mother’s Day! This day is special to me for more than the obvious reasons. Call it destiny’s decree that it was on this day I saw the two pink lines which transformed my core. Months later, my daughter sashayed her way into our lives and became the epicentre of our world with her exuberance and delightful impishness. Like it is in the case of a majority of mothers, the first few weeks post her arrival were overwhelming and every cell of my body used to be in a dead beat state for most part of the day. And then, there came a time when I was not enjoying motherhood. I was, however, petrified to share my thoughts with anyone about what I was going through. After all, how could a mother not take pleasure in playing the role which is celebrated by one and all? Aren’t mothers the embodiment of sacrifice? There was an outbreak of questions in my head during that phase and I was too hard on myself. I could not handle this thwarting feeling and just kept mum and carried on with my farce. But, fortunately for me, I reached a breaking point one day. And that is when one of the most important life lessons I have imbibed from my mother came to my rescue – to take charge. Hence, after shedding bountiful tears, I began to perform my own research and discovered gradually that it is quite normal to feel the kind of emotions I was experiencing during motherhood and not acknowledging them makes matters worse. In my case, acceptance and minor changes in my routine helped me to get my positivity and zeal back but I know there are many mothers out there who are having a tough grind and are struggling in their own ways to live up to iniquitous expectations. This can be detrimental to their mental and physical health, and it is a matter of concern that so many of us are not willing to even acknowledge the situation, forget acting upon it. There is also a lack of awareness about the reality of motherhood because its glorification is so deeply entrenched in our minds that we cannot think about mothers beyond “greatness” and “selflessness”.
While it is absolutely wonderful and an appreciable gesture to recognize the humongous efforts of our mothers and express our gratitude and love for them, I also feel it is high time we change the narrative around mothers and motherhood. We already know that mothers do a lot out of their boundless love for us, even at the cost of their own happiness. But has this become an unfair presumption on our part? We are always ready to place them on a pedestal but have we ever thought about their passions, their aspirations and their dreams? Have we tried to reduce and share their load, even if that might mean standing up against some family members? I was having an interesting conversation with some friends and most of us shared that even after asking our mothers to think of themselves first, there was no change in them. While for some it might be their inherent nature, for others it probably has become a part of their personality owing to having been raised with a certain ideology instilled into them. And this is exactly why it is all the more important to raise the right questions –
Why is there a big question mark whenever a mother does something which is not in line with the conventional expectations from this role?
Why is it that there are still many people who dismiss PPD and motherhood blues as “excuses mothers give for their unacceptable behaviour”?
Why does a large section of our society still think that rearing kids is a mother’s prime job?
Why is a woman told that she is lucky just because her husband is equally involved with the kids?
Why is a man still considered by many to be “helping” with the kids when they are also his responsibility?
Why is the mother always blamed for whatever is going wrong in the child’s life?
The truth is that even if you feed your kids left-over food, you are an awesome mother. Even if you leave your child with a trusted caregiver and go on a trip alone, you are an awesome mother. If you do not give all your time to your kids, you are still an awesome mother. If you hide from your kids to have your share of chocolates or cakes or ice-creams, you are one heck of an awesome mother. Neither do you have to feel guilty about an unwarranted incident related to your child nor do you have to oblige to your kids’ special meal requests if you cannot to be considered an awesome mother. It is also absolutely fine to hate or repent motherhood at times – it is all a part of the journey. None of these aspects of parenting define your motherhood.
Motherhood is about nurturing not just your child’s soul but your own as well. Motherhood is as beautiful as it is gruelling. So, this mother’s day, let us not only talk about what mothers do for everyone. Rather, let us talk about what we can do to make life better for mothers. Let us stop the glorification. Let us unburden mothers. Let us say it like it is. Celebrate the relationship but do not take mothers for granted!