This post is all about the NOISE….the never-asked for, the never-encouraging and yet the never-ending NOISE mothers receive on what are the qualities of good mothers, how to be good mothers…oops Super-Mothers.
Ah! What an irony. And here I was guessing that 9 months of a hormonal-ly challenged pregnancy, 17 hours of labour, unlimited wake hours, sleepless nights of breast-feeding, anytime and anywhere poop-cleaning, frequent meal-planning, my endless love and care for my daughter etc etc had already made me one.
Well! I guess not. So here, TWND is setting up a few challenges for us all mothers. The challenge to shut this noise out whenever we want. The challenge to confront these assumptions of what all makes MOTHERHOOD a rather tiring journey than a blissful bond between mother and child.
Challenge No 1: No comparison with other MOTHERS:
It is true that we ourselves are our worst critics. Shouldn’t how we raise our children based on our own knowledge, research, and comfort? What other mothers are doing with their children suits best to them, fits their own unique life scenarios. Whether I breast-feed, bottle-feed or choose a combination of both, whether I use diaper or nappies, whether I take help or manage everything on my own, whether I lose baby-weight early or let it be a long-term guest, etc etc…. everything will be based on what suits me and my baby the best. I will let nothing….Nothing interfere with my sanity of how I would like to bring up my child.
The best report card of my parenting style is right in front of me- My happy child. I don’t need no comparison and bring my esteem down.
Challenge No 2: No unnecessary ADVICE taken
And it is not just from Know-It-All moms or Been-There-Done-That moms. Advice is everywhere, not just in words but in looks also. When you stop your crying child by giving him your smartphone or when you try to breastfeed your child in public…Hush…hush… hush…the advice comes running…..sometimes in raised eyebrows and sometimes in clicking of tongues.
And, when you think you have shut yourself all out from ‘Humne bhi bacche paale hai’ advice, you open your smartphones for help not knowing that you have opened another Pandora’s box. Thus, I challenge myself and you others to be Not-Open-to-all-Advices. While I understand that not every advice is bad, however I shall let my judgement and research choose on what advices to let in and what to let out. I shall also not let my eyes go through a visual torture by reading each and every post on motherhood and parenting and child illnesses and baby food and toddler tantrums and kids activities etc etc. I won’t let my free time rather go for free like this.
Plus, so much interference and advice is only allowed if also I get as much publicity as Kareena Kapoor got after being a mother. Anything less than that….sorry. I would not let other people discuss, question, judge and then advice on my Motherhood journey to fulfill their sense of enjoyment. Period.
Challenge No 3: My husband is already a FATHER
While it is unfair to assume that every woman is a born mother, it is equally absurd to dismiss that every man needs time to become a father. The man becomes a father no later than the woman became the mother. The baby will not fall from his hands, he will not put a dirty soother in baby’s mouth, and he will also not throw the baby out with the bath water while giving him a bath. It is again all that noise of society that puts a mother at the forefront for every need of the child.
The fault is of no one else then but me when every time the child comes running towards me, the mother. From now on, I will trust the father of my child from day 1. He will also figure out the crying, the sleeping, the feeding, the comforting, the way a mother figures it out. I will encourage the father to actively participate in dividing the parenting responsibilities. No more coming to mommy for comfort and daddy for sports.
I will seek help from my partner as and when needed and not make a big deal out of it. After all, it is called Parenting and not Mommying-otherwise I would have been a single mom with husband.
Challenge No 4: No shame in taking help from husband
On any given day, I can exercise, cook, clean, read, write, walk, socialize etc etc but all this I can accomplish on any given day and not everyday. If I am able to do all my activities with the kid myself, then I will but reality be I am not able to and hence I need help. Joint families are no more common, hence I will definitely take help from my husband. Oh yeah! But he has come from work and has to go to work the next day. Oh yeah! Like I will get manicures and pedicures here all day.
Also, what’s with all the over-publicizing and glorifying each and every act of love that a father shares with his child? While the NOISE considers what a mother does with the baby as regular, natural, and just used-to behavior, a father taking his child for a stroll while picking up groceries is considered Godly. Awww, what a caring Father! Yeah, no more happening.
I will take help from the father because hello! He is the father. We let the fathers compare themselves to their fathers (in the bygone era) and hence they look like Gods to us and to the world. Fathers now need to compare themselves with the wives and hence share the responsibilities in a way that suits both the partners .
Challenge No 5: ‘Me’ too, ‘Me’ too
This is the most difficult challenge I am giving to you mothers. I challenge all mothers to take time-out for themselves. It is difficult….not impossible for us mothers to put on hold, for a while, our child and our other so-called wife-daughter-sister-daughter in law etc etc duties, but what we all avoid is taking out that ‘ME’ time. We find time to cook, but we lose the opportunity to eat warm food. Our hot coffee becomes cold-coffee by the end of the day and though cold-coffee might be priced higher in restaurants, in life terms this is a sign that we have put ourselves last in the priority list. We have lost the appreciation of our own NEEDS.
And while, we are fulfilling all our duties, we are creating a void within ourselves. We need to fill that void. If I will be happy, so will be my child. And, yes I have to be selfish enough to be a selfless mother.