Monthly Archives: May 2018

Mother’s Day Special – The Mommy ‘Rules’ I Break

Mums get a lot of attention in early May every year. This has been the pattern strongly for advertisers, marketers and now the new breed – influencers. Apparently, I am supposed to belong to the last category.

To be honest, yes, it is an overdose of mommy videos, campaigns and contests but I do believe yet we need this day to celebrate and to accept ourselves. One, it does open up a lot of conversations, emotions and attempts to recognize moms for who they are and what they do.

I am quite sure I am not the ideal mum as prescribed by the unsaid rules of society; however, I do not aspire to be one!

So here are a few rules that define me as a woman, as an individual and as a mum. With this I also feel it ends in breaking a few rules too.

  1. As a mum, not being aware of everything in life – More often than not, I do admit to my child, I am not aware of the answer to the question asked by him and I do say that I will come back to him with the answer if he is really keen. As curious as the young one’s mind can get, he does come back to check for a few questions, if I have the answer and I do reply as appropriately as I can.

  2. Ditching the stereotyped colours for boys and girls – I remember once in a toy store located on the third floor of a fancy mall, I was browsing through the toys and stationery and so was my kid at a little distance from me.  Soon came the time when my kid decided to have a pencil box that was arranged on the shelf along with others. It was a PINK pencil box. Before I could take it ahead and go to the counter, the sales assistant, watching carefully if the child will pick something or not, rushed to his rescue to help him make an informed choice. She told the boy, “Oh no, pink is not for boys! You can buy the yellow, blue anything else.” It seemed like my boy had made his decision and now wanted a yellow box but not the PINK one. I remember that day, we rode back home with two pencil boxes. It took a long time for my boy just to open the PINK box and find it acceptable on his desk.

  3. As a mum, being not so excellent a cook – If you ask me, I am tired of advertisements which portray mums who love cooking all the time. There can be various reasons for one to dislike cooking and I, too, have my own – primarily because it takes a lot of time from me when I would rather be doing something else. I literally learnt cooking after having my child! Even now, I manage with bearable cuisines being dished out. Yet I have to admit I absolutely love it when my child says he loved the meal I cooked as only I am aware of the amount of effort I would have taken to make something tasty. It is not always in my hands, of course, for it to turn out that way. However, the learning and the acceptance has been that it is fine to have meals that are sometimes boring or bland. Kitchens at homes are not spaces to create magical menus every time or for every meal. Kudos to those who can cook very well every time, but for me as long as I am sticking to a few healthy options in the day, I can’t go further into it.

  4. The ‘Dress-down’ mum – Super mums in films, on television, in glossy magazines, in Bollywood are chic, have super fit bodies and are energetic all the time. I love dressing up and sometimes it can be really weird, according to others, but after a few years into motherhood, I really don’t see why I should strive to be accepted for my dressing sense. There are days when I really take effort and days when I don’t feel like it and what’s wrong with that choice?

  5. Omnipresent mum – Lastly, while I am at home, I have never taken an oath to be around at all times. Recently, I started enjoying my travels, as it was giving me the freedom of solo travelling. However, on a number of occasions, I have loved travelling with my child, too. But, when travelling is not on my itinerary, I do go for theater plays, art exhibitions and to restaurants without my spouse accompanying me or the little one tagging along. I like my space, too, and I think it is fine me not worrying what the next meal for the child should be or worry if the house is in order. As mums, we manage without our partners being around all the time, so it should be so for them as well.

Mums have the special quality of taking on a lot but one must remember, like everything else, motherhood too has changed over the years. We love the identity of being mums but it cannot be the sole identity of who we are.  This, I have learnt by finally accepting myself and through the interactions I have as the curator-content creator and founder of ‘Mums and Stories’.

Mother’s Day Special – Ignore Unsolicited Advice and Keep Motherhood Simple!

Mothers are complex, volatile, apprehensive and extremely emotional beings and I’m no different. Mothers are not perfect but motherhood does come with a lot of self-imposed pressure – to be on one’s toes and know the right thing and do the right thing for the children all the time. If something doesn’t go by the ‘rules’, the ‘big’, ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ guilt sneaks in every now and then.

Tell yourself this everyday – You’re not perfect! Nobody is! And the one rule to being a great mother is that there are no rules! Every child is different and every experience is unique.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from my 3 years of motherhood. And this is not a rulebook, but just my experience of what I’ve learnt to do and not do to myself, to keep some sanity intact in my otherwise eventful life:

1. It’s OK if you don’t fall head-over-heels for your newborn: When I learnt that I’m going to become a mother, I started preparing myself mentally with all the reading up and joining of social groups of first-time-mums, to pick up from their experiences. But I didn’t know what was coming my way until I had my baby and I took a break from work for the first time in 9 years! Reality struck and I slipped into post-partum depression and it turned my world upside down. I wasn’t ready for this change. I felt angry, frustrated, extremely emotional and exhausted. I wanted to run away. I wanted to sleep for days. The change was enormous and I wasn’t ready to deal with it physically or emotionally. Moreover, (this might sound horrible), I did not feel instant love for my baby. I only felt very responsible towards him and took care of him tirelessly. Love happened a lot later and that’s OK. Today, when I look back, I cannot imagine my life without my son. There is no rule that tags you a horrible mother because you took time to come to terms with the new reality. It’s a different experience for every mother and love does happen, sooner or later.

2. It’s OK to put yourself first: Being a mother isn’t easy. Like every parent, I’ve seen my mother juggle work and home and putting me and my needs first. In that process, she completely forgot to have a life of her own. Her world revolved so much around me, that after I got married, she was deeply affected by the sudden void and her recovery was long and arduous. Now, I’m a mother of a 3-year-old boy and I am aware every single day that it is very important to connect with your inner self, give yourself ‘me time’ to feel like any other normal human being. I love my son unconditionally and I will always tend to his needs to the best of my abilities. But, putting myself first doesn’t make me a bad parent. My husband made me realise once that our son will grow up one day and go about living his life independently and that’s the way the world works. Simple.

3. Don’t quit your dreams: As a mother, you have the right to make all the choices that make you feel comfortable and at peace with yourself first. I made a choice to go back to work only after 3 months of having my son. I felt guilty every second of my life, to have left him with a nanny and resumed office-work in full swing, but I learnt to grow out of it gradually. I realised that I cannot stop working. More than financial, it was an emotional need and it helped me get out of depression. It helped me regain my confidence and purpose in life. But, even if you decide to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mother, it should be entirely your choice, without a trace of guilt.

Going back to work was the hardest thing for me but I don’t regret my decision. I continued to work for 3 years thereafter, and now I’m a work-from-home mom. It doesn’t mean that I’ve quit my dreams or am taking it easy at all. But I want to accomplish something else in life that couldn’t have happened without this pivoting. This also allows me to strike a balance between work, self-studying and my son and gives an elevating sense of self-control and freedom.

Motherhood doesn’t mean that you and your baby be joined at the hip and that you sacrifice everything that defines your existence. Do what makes you happy in your head and heart and it’ll reflect positively on your child as well. Ignore the unsolicited advice that interferes with your peace of mind and just keep it simple 🙂