Not all mothers deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day

Published: May 10, 2015

The 7-year-old girl was left alone in Sindbad, without any guardian, while her mother was downstairs, shopping away. PHOTO: PINTEREST

When I was around seven-years-old, my mother forgot me at the imambargah for a brief moment of 10 minutes. Since there was a bunch of us and we were in multiple cars, she assumed that I was in another car other than the one she occupied.

I remember being scared, very scared, and feeling unimportant since they forgot me behind, along with multiple thoughts running in my head about what will happen to me. Being the youngest of five, I always assumed that when it was time to take care of me, my mother just gave up after taking care of four children.

But the moment I laid my teary eyes upon my mother, who was hysterically asking around if someone had seen her daughter, I was instantly proven wrong.

Fast forward two decades, and a similar incident takes place, except the venue of the incident is a lot more fun, entertaining and not the least bit religious – Sindbad Dolmen Mall – and the victim is different too.

A few days ago, a bunch of us decided to go to Sindbad when we came across Sidra*. Sidra was, give or take, seven-years-old and the only reason I even took notice of her was because she would show up at every game we would stop to play. Since it was a weekday and it wasn’t very crowded, we could easily feel the presence of this girl following us wherever we went. It came to a point where she knew about every single game there, how to play it and how many rounds you get per token. That’s when we started to do a bit of inquiry into the whereabouts of her caretaker.

When we asked the management and staff if they knew who this girl was with or who she was, they were as clueless as we were. Upon inquiring from Sidra where her mother or caretaker was, she told us that her mother had left her all alone in Sindbad to play and keep herself busy hours ago while she was downstairs, shopping away.

I must say that this incident created two different opinions for me about the mother; either she had a lot of faith in Sindbad’s non-existent security or, I dare not say it, she was not fit to be a mother. The child could have walked out at any point or, God forbid, could have been abducted.

How often was this child left behind like this?

How often do mothers leave their kids behind, intentionally?

A similar incident entailed Shehnaz*, who did not get along with her side of the family. A few months back, Shehnaz decided to leave her 10-year-old daughter Aruba* with the very same relatives, while she went on a little trip to Dubai for a few days. While the mother was busy with an exciting experience of her own, the same could not be said for her daughter, who was being harshly mistreated.

And there are many more incidents that can make it to this list.

This Mother’s Day, how about we remind mothers all over the world the importance this day has? This day is designated for a position that needs to be earned in order to be celebrated. This is a day that sets examples for future mothers. A day to celebrate the nurturing, the endless sacrifices, the tears shed on your graduation or every time you got hurt, all the pain endured, all the worrying and sleepless nights. This is a day to celebrate something which cannot be put into mere words. It is an occasion that deserves a lifetime of celebration; just one day out of 365 simply does not do it justice. And therefore, the magnitude of this day needs to be understood by all mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother to death and vice versa. Yet, I still guilt trip her every now and then on how unintentionally careless she was that she forgot me, her youngest, the baby of the house, even if it was for a brief moment – just to bug her of course. But even when it’s mentioned as a joke, I can see the guilt taking over on her face, and that cleans the slate.

Rest assured, she will be getting her Mother’s Day celebrations.

This day is one not to be taken for granted, especially by those who choose to leave their child behind, unattended, for a shopping spree, regardless of what the reasons or circumstances might be. Every mother does not deserve to be celebrated, and every mother does not deserve Mother’s Day. Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honoured just because they are mothers. And that is not fair to all the extraordinary moms out there. That, in essence, is taking out the mother from Mother’s Day.

*Names have been changed to protect their identity

Zoya Zaidi

Zoya Zaidi

An undergraduate from Middlesex University who is currently working for a local daily. She tweets as @zozaidi (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    You should have mentioned those mothers also who leave their little children with their husbands and elope with their lovers. Many mothers have instigated their daughters to accuse their fathers of raping, sexually harassing and forcing them into prostitution. All because of personal grudge against their husbands. Men also do these type of evil things but they criticized also. But when you say something about women, people start calling you a misogynistRecommend

  • Zafar Z. S.

    A sad and harsh reality. A mother is a valuable treasure..but giving birth to a child does not necessarily make a woman a mother.
    You have to become a “mother”. Though very few, there are women who have children but aren’t really “mothers”.Recommend

  • Marvi

    Not every mother has Paradise under her feet Recommend

  • Truth

    This is true, not every parent is a good parent, there are plenty of terrible mothers and then they emotionally and religiously blackmail their kids to “love them” backRecommend

  • Rhea

    “Undeserving Mothers” this phrase leaves such a bad taste in the mouth that I am astonished that somebody could think of such an article.Recommend

  • citizen

    first of all please stop making her guilty every now and then . It is really not funny . It was a blunder that other lady dropped of her daughter at sindband and went for shopping . Hope she realize her mistake and doesn’t repeat it . Mother hood is a roller coaster ride and mothers can also get frustrated but it should not be at cost of ignoring your child . It is pivotal that husband take equal responsibility of kid so a mothers can catch some breath . Happy mothers day to all the mothers !Recommend

  • Juvaria

    Myopic and one dimensional. Thanks ET for promoting misogyny and the same mindset that results in the repression, abuse, rapes, and murders of women in Pakistan. Recommend

  • SamSal

    “This day is one not to be taken for granted, especially by those who choose to leave their child behind, unattended, for a shopping spree, regardless of what the reasons or circumstances might be. Every mother does not deserve to be celebrated, and every mother does not deserve Mother’s Day. Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honoured just because they are mothers.”

    What is this?! Just because she is a mother, she loses all the rights to all sorts of entertainment in life? Can she not go for shopping? Can she not catch a break and have a few hours without her children?

    And what exactly are a mothers responsibility? A lady is a good mother (in your eyes) only when she sacrifices her life and happiness?Recommend

  • madiha sultan

    wow. i think this piece is undeserving of being publishedRecommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    Having read the title I was expecting something abit more sinister like perhaps a mother being wilfully ignorant while some kind of abuse takes place, but being left by mistake? And you still give her a guilt trip 20 years later? Seriously?

  • a mother

    please don’t criticize the writer as she really has a point, I am a
    mother of a three year old and often thought about the matter the writer
    has brought up. I have a relative who would lock her kids (6,5 and 4
    year old respectively) in the apartment while they are asleep and hang
    out with her friends or family for a while. This is so horrific as
    children of such age can never be left unattended and I often thought of
    the woman as a real bad mother. Even though she loved her kids and the
    kids love her back, such actions can be due to many reasons. Lack of
    education, awareness and sense of responsibility to name few. Many
    mothers encourage children into lying.
    It is important to understand
    that only motherly love is not enough to up bring children but it takes a
    lot more than that. I believe every mother needs to be celebrated, but
    they also need to know the fundamentals of raising children.Recommend

  • Parvez

    An out-of-the-box, thought provoking article. Saying the difficult thing is not easy especially if it’s true because it’s easier to hide from the truth than to face it……well done.Recommend

  • Umar

    My mother left me at school when I was in the 4th grade. I put my bag in the back seat and shut the door and tried to come to the seat in front but she thought I already sat down. And so I had to walk home alone, in a city which is known for abductions. I only mentioned it when I reached home. I have never mentioned or even shown any animosity for that. That is the difference between me and you.Recommend

  • Sudesh

    I agree with the thoughts of the author. There is difference in making babies and becoming responsible parents – the same difference that separates civilized human beings from animals. But why put all the responsibility on the mother alone? May be mothers get a little tired of taking care of babies all the time. They deserve a day off too like everyone else.Recommend

  • maria

    yeah very right only and only a man can be blamed, women are angels straight from the heaven.Recommend

  • Amber

    Such a disastrous judgemental write for mothers who must be planning to take a break from kids to get back to them with full energy for them. You have ruined a healthy thought totally. BooRecommend

  • hira

    the writer is so judgmental its disturbing and her once sided view of things.. I don’t think this piece deserved to be published. I also think it is horrible that years after the incident she still holds a grudge against her own mother. Give her a break, we all make mistakes.Recommend

  • Qurat Ul Ain

    There are number of mothers who deserve not to be called “moms”. In addition to all such instances posted above in the article, there are some other instances too in general life that we all have heard. Its just because of lack of responsibility on the ends of mother, Although men’s are also doing the same thing. But a difference has been created in mother and father. If a mother has been given a higher rank than father, then this means a higher level of responsibility too.Recommend

  • Atif Rana

    In a nation where we esteem our mothers more than any other person, it is criminal to dig up such nonsense.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    I have witnessed first had the damage a neglectful parent (in this case a mother, but it can be a father) can cause. My grandmother was exactly the sort of woman who would leave her children at the mercy of , well, a locked door maybe, or a relative or a bunch of kids together because they would ‘look after each other’ while she went on shopping sprees and partied. And while the writer has only described this aspect of such a relationship, it is common for such mothers to ignore their children altogether (as in the case I mention) leading to severe emotional retardation.
    My grandmother does not know about my father’s favourite foods, cannot recall what he was like as a child or a teenager or a even a young man apart from vague sentences like: “You were never like this!” to which my father counters: “You were never around to see what I was like.”
    My father often looks at the way our mother spends time with us and wishes he had experienced the same. This void that neglect has created is painful to watch and it has affected how he is as a person right down to the way he deals with problems or with other people.
    Don’t diss the writer. She is absolutely right.Recommend

  • RR

    I don’t intend to spread any hatred.. But is the writer a mother herself? How can one be so judgemental? About mothers? About parents? The most I can say is that some parents err, they make mistakes.. Some mistakes leave a scar.. Some doom the child(ren) to darkness.. But what is the meaning of an undeserving mother? How can ANYBODY decide how deserving or worthy a mother is? I know of mothers who have abandoned their children.. But I am still not able to digest this term the writer has used.. Recommend