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My open letter may be harsh, it may sound like a vent, but it’s the truth, so take it with a pinch of salt!
“You are the mother, of course, the kid will want you.”
“She is more comfortable with you.”
“Men are not emotionally or mentally equipped to take care of babies like women do, they can’t.”
“Don’t make him change the diapers, this is a mother’s job.”
“I can’t hold her, I am scared.”
“I can’t cut her nails; I don’t know how to.”
“Can’t you see I am on call.”
“He is such a nice father; he plays with her for 1 hour every day. Most husbands don’t even do that.”
“You have become paranoid after having the baby.”
“Stop breastfeeding her, that’s why she is always clung to you and doesn’t come to us.”
“I will help you, why do you need your husband to help with the baby.”
“His work schedule is too tight, he can’t make time, you should understand.”
“Now that you have a baby, you need to deprioritize your career. Try for a part-time job.”
The list of the comments I get for being a mother goes on and on…
So, I decided to write an open letter to all, answering all the popular statements above. It may be harsh, it may sound like a vent, but it’s the truth, so take it with a pinch of salt. Yes, the baby wants me because I am the mother but I need some time for myself too. Yes, the baby is more comfortable with me, but if the father tries, she will eventually learn to be as comfortable with him and therefore he needs to initiate the process!
Men can be as emotionally equipped to take care of anyone they love… Look at their dedication and love towards their mothers. Lol!
Where is the rule book that says that changing diapers is a mother’s job?
So you are scared to hold her, guess what, I am too, I have never ever seen such a small baby, forget holding one. But do I have a choice… no? What you can do is at least try.
Again, I didn’t go through a course on how to cut babies’ nails or how to bathe her. I learned it while doing it, because somebody had to, and you were not interested.
Yes, you are on your call, I can see that. But have you seen me on calls with our daughter running around singing Humpty Dumpty, while I repeatedly apologized to my team for the background nuisance?
He plays with her for an hour! That’s cute, but that’s easy. Try doing things that are difficult like feeding her (healthy food, not snacks), putting her to sleep, getting up at night to console her, changing her clothes.
Yes, I have become paranoid after having my baby because I have to worry if she is sleeping on time or not, or if she is cranky, or if her nails are too big, or if she isn’t eating anything. I have to run around with my laptop so that my daughter doesn’t press the shutdown button while I am working on an important presentation.
I feel the guilt for not being able to spend enough time with her. I feel the guilt of not being my best at work. Because I don’t have time to talk to any of my friends or to paint. Because I spent my first 3 months with severe back pain and barely 2 hrs of sleep daily. Because I can never go back to being an individual who can prioritize herself. Because I still have back pains and because I can’t have a sip of wine as I am feeding. Because I can’t exercise as my daughter doesn’t let me and because none of my clothes fit me anymore. So yes, I am paranoid!
Firstly, breastfeeding has a lot of benefits and I decided to continue for our baby’s sake, I don’t get anything out of it. And yes, I have been trying to wean her, but it isn’t that easy and no I don’t want to resort to harsh methods. Secondly, she clings to me because I understand her expressions, her discomfort, her babblings, I pay attention to her. Try it and maybe it will help me in weaning her.
I want him to help because he is the father. Period.
His work schedule is tight, guess what, mine is too. Yet I try to balance it out. And that’s what I expect, not to deprioritize his work, but to find a balance. This one is a classic but still, no, I am not going to set a wrong example for my daughter by deprioritizing my goals and my career. I didn’t study this hard to do a part-time job.
Parenthood is a new experience for everyone, mothers and fathers alike, so do not bring gender inequality in it. Just because something was done in a particular way in the past, doesn’t mean it was correct or should be continued. We need to change and evolve. And giving mothers a break from all these misogynist statements would be a start.
Trust me when I say, all mothers are trying their best, doing their best so instead of putting them down, uplift them, help them. Instead of telling them to do something, DO it. Instead of pampering and spoiling the kids, teach them good habits. Instead of making mothers feel bad about one thing they missed, praise them for the 100 things they took care of. And they missed that one thing because they were tired. Mentally, emotionally and physically.
(Do add if you have come across any such silly statements and what was your answer to them.)
Image source: Unsplash/FatCamera
Experimenting with experiences is the mantra of my life. Writing is a passion that helps me channel my emotions and recreate memories, publish points of view and create stories. A self-proclaimed creative soul, I read more...
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Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).
Gender stereotypes, though a by-product of the patriarchal society that we have always lived in, are now so intricately woven into our conditioning that despite our progressive thinking, we are unable to break free from them.
Repeatedly crossing, while on my morning walk ̶ a sticky, vine-coloured patch on the walkway, painted by jamuns that have fallen from the jamun tree, crushed by the impact of their fall, and perhaps, inadvertently trampled upon by walkers, awakens memories of the mulberry tree that stood in my parents’ house when I was growing up. Right at the entrance of the house, the tree caused a similar red and violet chaos on the floor, which greeted us each time we entered the gate.
Today, as I walked by this red-violet patch, I was reminded of an incident that my mother had narrated to me several times. It had taken place shortly after her marriage and her arrival in this house from her hometown.