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After becoming a mom, a woman is seen only as that – a mother and nothing else. Let her be both – her own person and a mother!
On becoming a mother, the expectations from a woman go up by several strides. Many a time, she finds two ‘shes’ conflicting with each other within her. There is this endless dilemma that a mother faces, pursuing her own dreams versus her children, going hand in hand with the guilt that never ceases to be.
Yes, she is a mom and her kids are her world. Her kids make her heart go gooey like soft chocolate. They make her feel wanted while dissolving her stubbornness and bring a new meaning to her life. She holds them close to her heart for the selfless love which they shower on her.
The mom celebrates their innocence and is delighted by their achievements, whether they are big or small. She loves the touch of the soft and velvety folds of their skin and falls in love with the beauty of their eyes, the softness of their tender lips and chubby cheeks. The mom gathers their little utterances like precious gems and basks in the warmth of their affectionate hugs.
She quivers for every tiny mark on their bodies and cringes when they trip and fall. And she is constantly worried about their welfare. She is astounded by the ease with which they let go off of things and she is on the path of rediscovery of the forgotten ways of life with them.
Her heart swells with pride as she sees them growing up, taking one little step at a time. She looks back every now and then and revels in the memories and the footprints that they have left behind them.
The mom is keen on leading them and equally ardent about being led by her children. She is filled with awe on looking at them because they are works of art. To her, they are divine creations of which she has been an important part and held them for nine months within the confines of her womb.
They are considered the most beautiful and precious gifts of Nature and she is overwhelmed by the beauty of that truth. And this is precisely the reason why she places them over everything else even her own self.
Yet, there are times when she cannot afford to be who her heart desires. She cannot afford it because the world has barricaded her frontier with assumptions and expectations. We find that there is this other ‘she’ concealed in her, lurking nervously, tied by strange doctrines and principles. This other ‘she’ is desperately waiting to break free from the chain.
In another world, stripped of these expectations, she is a revolutionary. Being a human, she also loses her temper like any other human is wont to. And this includes her not being an angel all the time but yelling at her children when they test her patience and cross the limits.
In this other world of hers, her life is her own and she lives her life on her own terms. She is a caring mother but at the same time, she takes care of herself and has her priorities too without being called ‘selfish.’ Meanwhile, she is still a seeker of small innocent pleasures and thinks of negotiating with her kids for a piece of cake, for example. And she manages to come with a compromise without sacrificing her own wants and desires and dreams.
She is still the same girl at heart who dreams constantly and believes that a day will dawn when those dreams will turn into reality. And she rises and rises steadily into the blue, bright, sky, flapping her wings happily and enthusiastically.
She looks below her and sees her children waving joyfully at her, cheering on her to rise still further and fetch the stars for them. But through all that she feels and does, her heart and soul feel light as she is not pulled down by the miserable guilt that squeezes her heart in the other world.
All these feelings surface the moment she attempts to break free from the rigid mould of a mother. When cast in the mould of a mother, guilt seems to plague her when she is judged unrelentingly for all her decisions and motives. She is derided for betraying the very essence of motherhood, which is an equal-to-sacrifice equation, for which the society has conveniently set the bar over the years.
It is this guilt that has become her curse, the guilt which is in no way self-inflicted but forced upon her by society. A society, which instead of being supportive, has formulated several ways to heap accusations on the mother. According to society, the mother, ‘has been a failure in advocating her first and foremost duty.
This is the story of several mothers. There may be a few exceptions who have been fortunate enough to combine the joys of motherhood with the exhilarating experience of being achievers and dreamers. And being able to do this without being consumed by guilt.
But do you think she is spared from the fate of being judged constantly for her actions by society at large? I don’t think so. The world really needs to think logically and seriously about its entrenched notions and beliefs about motherhood. Especially the hesitation and unwillingness to accept the woman as a separate entity from her kids. Until this thought process is changed, the battle between the woman’s two identities will continue to rage.
This battle of the two identities within her seems to me like forever, and the ‘she’ of the other world would perhaps, be nothing but a fruitless dream. Well, this unfair judgement by society still exists.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie English Vinglish
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