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A 'good' mother has to prioritise everyone over herself, not just her children, else she is considered selfish and not worthy enough.
A ‘good’ mother has to prioritise everyone over herself, not just her children, else she is considered selfish and not worthy enough.
When a woman becomes a mother, it is expected that the woman in the mother dies a slow death; if not instant death.
From the day the child is born, her every action is expected to be directed towards the child. Any decision taken for the happiness of the woman that resides in the mother is considered contrarian and selfish, and against the culture. Raising the child has to be her key goal. It is assumed that if a mother pursues her own dreams or desires, it will be certainly contrary to the interests of the child and the entire family.
Isn’t it time we move beyond the words ‘mother’s sacrifice’, ‘mother’s duty’ and stop glorifying sacrifices of a mother? I am not suggesting that we should become self-absorbed and selfish. I just wish to consider these sacrifices and duties to belong to both parents.
Child-rearing need not be restricted to mothers. The entire family, even the entire community is responsible for that. Barring carrying the child in the womb and breastfeeding, all other duties can be and should be shared by each person in a child’s life to raise an emotionally intelligent child.
Motherhood is an important part of a mother’s identity, not her sole identity. We must keep it that way. Motherhood is also about unlearning the ideas we’re conditioned to, and relearning and revisiting our values for raising a better future generation. It’s time we reclaim the woman inside us. It is important that we shamelessly shout aloud that “the woman in me is alive!”
In most cases, a mother is the first teacher in a child’s life. But that does not mean we should be the default parent. Mothers will raise a selfish, self-absorbed generation if they let others take them for granted.
Instead, isn’t it time we introspect and ask ourselves a couple of hard questions?
~ Do we wish to ingrain in our daughters that when she grows up and is a professional and well educated, she should stop pursuing her ambition and dreams as soon as she becomes a mother? Or do we want her to grow up into a woman who respects herself and her dreams?
~ Do we want our young sons to believe that it is natural to assume that his wife forgoes her dreams as soon as she becomes a mother? Or do we want him to learn that a wife is first a woman who has her own dreams that need to be respected?
If as mothers we choose to live our best life, we’ll be the best role model for our kids. Unless we demonstrate unequivocally that the woman in us is still alive and do not decimate ourselves to being only mothers, gender parity is a far-fetched dream.
Children grasp and learn more from what is practiced around them as against what is preached to them. Most children tend to see their mothers sacrificing throughout their lives, and think that it is the only acceptable norm. Daughters (on becoming mothers) stop prioritizing themselves, and sons (on becoming fathers) refuse to shoulder responsibilities of parenthood!
It’s time for us to shift the focus to parenthood, rather than just motherhood. It’s time we truly walk the talk of equality. Coming to this renewed realization wasn’t easy. It’s an ongoing process that continues to evolve me.
I urge mothers to try to love themselves as much as they love their children. Always stay connected to your happiness, self-care, needs, goals, and dreams while being a mom! Prioritize your happiness, as you cannot continue to give to others when your own well is dry.
Haven’t we seen mothers getting burnt out, trying to fulfil their sole responsibility of being mothers?! Counter-intuitively, only a healthy, happy and confident mind can nurture the dreams of future generations.
I am striving every day to value myself in front of my daughter in the hope that she will too! Will you do the same?
Image source: a still from the short film Sabak
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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