My Mom’s Wise Words: If You Don’t Define Your Path, Others Will Set It For You

Posted: May 11, 2019

A mom decides to reach for her dreams finally after 20 years of being in a corporate career, but will her family, friends, colleagues, and mainly, her daughter understand that she could dream of something completely out of the line?

The day was bright and clear on this wintry January morning in Bangalore. The sunshine coming through the gaps in the curtain was bright. I loved watching the small particles moving around in the path of the light, called motes. I remember watching them as a young girl, with delight. Especially, while waking up a little late on some vacation mornings.

I never wanted to accept them as dust particles. They were particles dancing in the air, feeling the glow of the morning sunlight. I myself felt like dancing in there, feeling the warmth of the sunlight, a day of new beginnings!!

New beginnings

Today, was day one of my new life. A life where I need to create a new identity, or not! Today is different from 42 years of my life, especially the 20 years of being a working woman in the IT industry.

Well, we kind of grew together, me and the IT industry. Now, I have chosen to step away from the line; from that straight line which was sometimes going up and sometimes being horizontal. I can see those lines on a graph – go up, go up, be horizontal now and then go up and so on. I can see my life in those lines, when the ups and horizontals happened – aligned with my life as a woman, as a mother. Now, I have decided to dance around, taking steps in different directions, exploring life, one step at a time

I was living this dream, of having a wonderful career and a family. The so called fine act of balancing work and life as a mom, making compromises, reaching for the stars. Now it is time for a different dream. Well, I am a mom – so what? Does it mean I cannot dream?

But how do I explain it?

I smiled. I smiled when I thought about all my ex-colleagues who didn’t get it when I said I want to step out of the line and explore. For them, it was simpler to understand that I am stepping out to help my daughter prepare for her 10th board exams. Well, I did mine already so many years back, why should I be doing the prep with my daughter? It is her decision on how to prepare to face the board exams. Of course, she knows that I am there for her anytime for any kind of support she needs. But, if my colleagues wanted to understand my decision to move away from IT career as a natural choice to help my daughter in her boards prep, well, so be it!

I thought about the whole day spread out in front of me. I got up without any hurry, finished my chores and then asked my daughter, “Shall we go for a walk?”

My daughter, my inspiration, my strength

She was so delighted. So, off we went, roaming around, talking about this and that. Well my girl, do you remember the day we had an extended family get together 2 years back? I remember you were paired with a cousin for the ‘getting to know more’ game. You had to talk for some time, and then each had to share something about the other person that everyone didn’t know.

I remember my nephew getting up to share with everyone what you had told him a little while ago. I understood both of you were talking about something unique in each person’s family.

It seems you were sharing how your mom is special, how she handles stuff very and finds time for everything. I felt so touched upon hearing this. I remembered all the ‘I want to give up’ moments. What motivated me was that doing things in a different way, the biggest learning would be for my children. And you, my girl, what you had shared that day, you have no idea how much it helped me start thinking again. Start thinking about what I want to do, what I want to dream.

No falling into the trap of ‘superwoman’

So here I am, getting calls from my relatives, wishing me well for this new phase in my life. Well, good intentions, no doubt. But I hear almost everyone telling me how I would now be able to take care of my family in a better way. Cook better, care for their studies better etc etc!

Then I remember my mom’s call. She asked me not to fall into the trap of giving up my career to care for the family stuff. “Figure out what you want to do, and then build your new routine. Do not allow everyone around to take your availability for granted. If you do not define your path, others will set it for you. Without even knowing it, you will start travelling in a path defined by others.” Well, she should know. After all, she is the one who dared us to dream..

I got up, made a phone call, and was very happy to hear the person at the other end welcoming me.

I went to my daughter who was setting up stuff aligned with the timetable we prepared together in the morning. She was a bit surprised to see me dressed up to go out. “Where are you going now?” she asked. Off to start my first step out of the line, my girl.

“What is it that you plan to do?” my mom in law was curious.

“I enrolled in a sewing class,” I said. “It has been a dream for me right from my college days – I would like to start going from today!”

“Won’t she need help for her exam preparations?”

“She will.”

She knows I am there for her, for now, forever. Both of us ready to chase our dreams, dance our little steps. Like the beautiful golden particles glistening in the ray of sunlight.

What happens in a social milieu like ours that anyway tells a woman that she is not important enough? That her dreams are secondary? That everything else comes first, and maybe after everything is taken care of, can she dare to dream for herself? What happens once she becomes a mom? 

But the badass woman of today doesn’t have to put herself last – maybe she can do both? Being a mom AND being herself? Finding a place for her dreams too, and going after them, without attempting to be the ‘superwoman’ society wants her to be? Do you believe in being #MomAndMore?

Editor’s note: Krishna is the third winner of our #MomAndMore blogathon for Mother’s Day! She wins an Amazon gift voucher for Rs 500. Congratulations from Team Women’s Web!

Image source: Krishna

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