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After the birth of my child, till he was 4, I was a very involved mother with almost no life of my own. But, here’s how things changed now.
Motherhood is a journey on which I still have a long way to go. And it is a cherished, enjoyable, challenging and an intriguing journey at every step.
However, as much as being present has been deemed as the way to go for a good life, the ‘analyser’ and writer in me loves to go back into the past. I go back and forth into the past, not just to relish the ‘Oh! So good!’ times but some times just to compare notes.
It was during one of these back and forth analysis of the eight-year-long journey as a mother that a revelation and question that came up. ‘Am I as involved as a mother now as I was a couple or more years ago?’
Well, with a wee bit of guilt, I realised that the answer to that question was ‘No.’ I am definitely no longer as involved or as anxious and as ‘helicopter-ish’ as I was since he breathed his first breath till he was about four or five. He’s eight now, a long way to go before his teenage when he might actually resent or detest my involvement.
So what has changed in the past few years? Do I love him any less? Let’s not even ask that! I love him to the moon and back. But there are a few possible causes that I came up with for not being as involved now.
Possible cause one: Was I over-involved in the first few years that it tired me out? Yes, that is totally possible. I believe this might be true for a lot of stay at home moms as well. And if all you have is just that one kid, may the universe save your sanity!
My recollection of those years is filled with days of me worrying about every bite he gulped, every step he took, rather anything that he did. His tantrums were dissected to the minutest details – why did he behave like this? Am I doing something wrong here?
And all this happened amidst almost continuous sleepless nights. Would that have caused ‘motherhood exhaustion’? Oh hell yes!! But did I stop just because I was exhausted? No, I didn’t.
Possible cause two: Identifying as a mom is awesome! But is it a good idea to lose oneself in it? Did I lose the feeling of the person in me simply because I was too tired to be ‘involved’ somewhere else?
Years of different kinds of relationships teach you some valuable lessons. And one of those lessons is this – In the relationships that one walks in, one can walk out them too. There is always a line, albeit an invisible one, that you can always draw. And when you can’t walk out, you can ‘distance’ yourself to a place where you can take care of your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
However, there is no escaping from being a parent. I think it was on one of the Dad Facebook groups, ‘Once a parent always a parent.’ Maybe I made some extreme parenting choices and lost track of my personal choices or the person I saw myself as.
I have ‘followed’ (not literally, but figuratively) some parents for years. And each time I saw them, I would be like, ‘Wow! She is a born mom!’ or ‘Wow! He was born to be a dad!’ They are all so consistent over the years with their lives and kids, and not just one kid but two or four kids!
Well, I am not a ‘born Mom.’ Being super involved with my kid at each stage of his life was probably not meant for me. Some might say this was a late realisation but it is what it is!
Will I fail as a parent because of this? Well, I definitely hope not!
Possible cause three: Did my child’s independence over the years help me find my own independence back? And once I found it, did I not want to let it go? Yes. Absolutely.
Being at home with him for four years made it sort of mandatory for me to be involved with all his activities and I decided to do it all. Mom and Kid programs, tons of reading and playdates and everything I believed might be good for him.
But then, life happened and he started school and his need for my involvement decreased. At the same time, the need for me to get back to my ‘own life’ increased.
Of course, he still gets his meals, his play dates. He still gets to do all that he wants to, but I don’t look out for spending the mom and son time as much as before.
Is that a Red Alert of some sort? I don’t know.
Parenting will definitely throw a lot more life lessons and experiences. Maybe the journey is one of self-discovery too.
And the few grays on my head entitle me to say, whatever the journey, till we can make it a pleasant experience for all involved, there could be no wrongs here.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Helicopter Eela
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