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If A Married Woman ‘Steps Out Of Line’, Why Is It Always Her Mother’s Fault?

The Hindi word 'parvarish', which means the 'correct upbringing of a child', is often considered only a mother's responsibility, especially in case of married women considered to be 'stepping out of line'!

The mother-daughter relationship has always been a complicated one. There is whole gamut of emotions that plays out: love, humour, drama, anger, confusion, joy, and lots more. In additional to this, we have a society waiting to pass judgements on mothers regarding their daughter’s upbringing.

How many times have we heard people squarely placing the blame on the mother for their adult daughter’s life choices? If everything is smooth sailing in her life then the positive parts are attributed to parents, lineage, environment, education, and all other plausible combinations. However, God forbid if her life is not as per the societal norm, then the blame shifts completely to the mother.

And mothers, God bless their souls, accept the blame and wallow in guilt which turns to grief which in turns drives a wedge in the relationship. Why do we give society a free pass to criticise the mother?

I remember as a little girl I used to watch movies on Sundays with my mum, and in the good old days Doordarshan used to show regional mythological movies. While viewing once such movie my mum recounted of story of Parusharam who severs his mother’s head and while bringing it back trips over a rock and the severed head in his hand immediately checks on him and comforts him. This was supposed to be the gold standard of a mother’s love and it frightened me at that age.

But now I realise, that if not literally, figuratively the mother’s head is severed for her child’s transgressions and if it’s a daughter the blaming starts very early and stays throughout. The Hindi word ‘parvarish’, which means the ‘correct upbringing of a child’, is often considered only a mother’s responsibility, especially in case of married women considered to be ‘stepping out of line’!

This starts a vicious cycle of the mother trying to correct the perceived wrongs and the daughter’s frustration or rebellion as she feels she has a right to live her life the way she wants. It certainly does not help when daughters themselves start blaming their mothers. This can range from anything – starting with their looks, to a breakup, a job loss or even not achieving a career goal.

Why do we blame mothers for our behaviour?

I read a funny quote which left me in splits – “You can’t scare me I have two daughters”. My own mother would identify with this quote as the amount of emotional drama that I end up sending her way is unjustifiable and sometimes even toxic.

But she powers through and turns herself into a human springboard and helps me release any anger or pain to bounce back. Tony Robbins the famous motivational speaker says, “Blaming effectively allows you to release the pain of your past and use it as a springboard to your future”.

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He goes on to say that “blaming effectively” makes you stronger, gives you better clarity and helps you to reach your goals. I have no idea how fool proof this is but subjecting your old mother to unwanted grief is a cross you will have to bear for life, and I would not recommend it even though your mother willingly submits herself to this torture.

As a daughter and the mother of a daughter, I whole heartedly embrace the complexity of this relationship and hope that society softens its hard gaze on mothers and allows them to enjoy this beautiful bond without any guilt.

I sincerely hope that the next time I use the phrase “Blame it on my mother!” it is only when someone accuses me of being a decent human being.

As my mother turns 77 years young this year, I would like to declare my undying love and gratitude and that despite the doubts she often has on her ‘parvarish’, she is the best mother I could have hoped to have. And if in the future I point fingers at her for my own shortcomings, I hope she forgives me and knows that it helps me heal and makes me stronger!

Image source: a still from A Suitable Girl

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About the Author

Roopa Prabhakar

Roopa Prabhakar describes herself as a mother, a working woman, a closet feminist and blogger. read more...

18 Posts | 55,598 Views

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