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Let us recognize that moms are people too, and have a right to their downtime, no matter what the ideal of the MAA has taught you!
Recently, I was away from home for a couple of months to attend a training. When I told my mother about this, she wondered what would she do without me.
After I am back, I realised she managed alright, actually, a little more than alright. She re-found some of her interests. She watched her favourite movies, kept herself up to date with the latest news, cooked what she loved, got in touch with her old friends, started using Facebook and Whatsapp to the fullest, read a few books, took walks in the evenings, practised Yoga in the mornings. And on top of all that, she was more cheerful and enthusiastic than ever.
The time I was away, gave her the ‘me’ time. So what happened when her children were around her?
When it was the time to read the newspaper, she was busy making tea. When she should be enjoying a special dish, she was saving it for her children. When she was supposed to be relaxing in her easy chair, she was running around the house to make it an easy morning for everyone. And in the afternoon, as everyone often thinks of as her free time, is often spent preparing for the next day.
At the end of the day she might be relaxing on the couch with a cup of tea and even when I come home, I would still find her setting something right, fixing this or that. In the evenings, she played the host to all of us. The night would fall and the busy cycle begins again. This became so her way of life, that she forgot to spend time for herself.
Thankfully, she has now remembered what it is to live for herself and not just for the family.
So, why do mothers sacrifice so much (as much as their life) for us? And so do fathers, but fortunately, they do enjoy some privileges. Often someone or the other ends up answering that by saying, our parents love us and it is for our bright future. Reminiscing about my childhood, I came up with my own answer.
We don’t get our virtues right. Children are taught that selfishness is a bad virtue and sacrifice is the greatest one. But selfishness is not greediness and sacrifice can be replaced with sharing. It is taught ‘Give and you will receive.’ So, someone might have ended up sacrificing their favourite seat in school, because they want to bag those good girl/boy brownie points. Someone else might have given up a bigger piece of cake for a friend because it was commendable to give things up. In reality, it is not OK to give things up. And by the time they realise this, some irrevocable damage would already have been done.
When we are busy ingraining our kids with these virtues, we forget that chances are high that some might grow up sacrificing a lot more than they need to and some simply grow up enjoying such perks. And India being the country it is, held men at a higher position over women from ages. And that’s how the gender decided who the sacrificer is and who the privileged. Not just the gender, the smart-minded gained ground to win over the weak-minded.
Back to the present, I declare I am engineered to share tasks and not quite fit to take the entire humongous responsibility on my shoulders. Doesn’t that apply to my mother too? Having got a new perspective now, I take a few hours off my timetable and that itself will add them to my mother’s. I am responsible for my things, myself and I own my tasks.
I struck this deal with my mom for many reasons, but mainly because of two. She too, just like me had been enjoying the perks of being a beloved daughter in her youth. When did her happy-go-lucky life change into that of caretaker? All I want is to bring back that happy-go-lucky girl. I love my mom like that more. And also because I wouldn’t want a future like that. And something I wouldn’t want for myself, my mother too wouldn’t want for herself.
Just like how I fight for my freedom, I decided I will fight for hers too. And to do that, I realised I have to fight against myself. I am the main obstacle for her liberty.
If you’re a son/daughter, these are the ways you can adopt to liberate your mother:
Let us make our mothers selfish. That would mean, let us find that book, those shoes or that dress for ourselves. That would mean, we should take up step by step one responsibility at a time off her shoulders. Now my mother fights for her side of the bed!
Image source: shutterstock