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At some point, every mother doubts if she is being a good mother, especially when she faces so much scrutiny. Anu Ravi shares her experiences of feeling judged – and rising above it.
It’s been a year since my son was born and its a huge learning curve as a first time mother – from my own hormones raging into an emotional roll coaster ride to constant worry about when my child would achieve those major milestones of the first year.
In the middle of all this, what amazed me is the feedback (without been asked, mind you!) given by people, who realize how challenging this job can be. I found out over time that others always compare to themselves and gauge whether they did better than me. This bothered me occasionally, but over time I found out that it’s totally fine if some want to do it, no harm done.
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Having such attention my performance as a mother has been unnerving, whether at the park, in the mall or on the streets. But with time my confidence has grown and I realized how much pressure every mother faces, especially with her children. This has also been a humbling experience, realizing how hard it is to complete a task without interruptions (even this article took more than a week to write) or distractions and how I had to learn to switch context in an instant when my child was around me.
Between a full time job, living in the joint family and being a mother, sometimes I feel down. Then I take a step back and remind myself how incredible it is to be a mother, who can adapt to all these roles in a single day, without having any room for oneself. This made me realize, is it fair to put myself under the pressure and expectation of being an amazing wife, incredible daughter-in-law, a fantastic mother and to top this all, perform flawlessly at work as well? Should women face this kind of pressure? Should we all juggle different roles and not expect to drop any ball?
After much introspection, I realized that my top priority is to be a good mother and the rest will then fall into place. Yes, this means that I am not a perfect wife, daughter, sister, employee or daughter-in-law. But the honest truth is I can only do my best. Right now all my energy and resources are invested in trying to raise my child, so he doesn’t feel neglected even for a single moment when I am not around him.
I think this is what most mothers go through while juggling roles, handling tough situations, sacrificing one’s own interest to bring up a child, to be a better person and kudos to them for trying it all. And I think it is totally okay to suck at certain roles just to perform well as a mother.
By going through these experiences, I really have a lot more respect to all the mothers who on the surface make womanhood look like such an easy task. I know deep down no matter how tough it is, they are trying their best from not letting things fall apart.
So what if they let their children spend a little more time in front of the screen, so what if mothers are looking at their own phones when the kid is quietly playing around them, so what if mothers don’t cook food every single day for their kids. When I see all this, I know that she is a good mother who just needs that little break to rejuvenate and get back into the role of keeping her baby happy.
My message to all the mothers, just hang in there you are doing a good job! Nobody would have performed better than you in your unique circumstances.
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I am a new mother with a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University. I have
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