To all the Wonder Mums out there, do not let society shame you for the choices you make
I have come to realise that no matter which part of the world they are from, mothers have one thing in common: putting up with unsolicited advice and dealing with intense scrutiny and judgement for the parenting choices they make.
Hence, this Mother’s Day, I decided to write a message to all the mothers facing this issue out there. These mothers are trying hard to do the best they can by their children, while being constantly questioned and being made to feel they have got it all wrong.
The constant unsolicited remarks a mother receives are not limited to family, friends or neighbours she is surrounded by. Random strangers she meets on the train or at the doctor’s clinic take the liberty to try and teach her how to raise her children.
So, to the mother reading this piece, I’d like to say: do not let society shame you for the choices you make.
Whether you delivered vaginally or had a C-section;
Whether you breastfed or formula-fed;
Whether you breastfed only for a few weeks or chose to breastfeed your children for a few years;
Whether you chose to be a stay-at-home mother or chose to join work a few weeks after delivery;
Whether you did it all by yourself or chose to hire help;
Whether you sent your child/children to day-care sooner rather than later;
The parenting methods you adopted;
The diapers you used;
The foods you did or did not introduce to your child;
Whether you choose to home-school or sent your child to a regular school;
You did what worked best for your family! And for that, you are a good mother.
It is not just the incessant ‘gyaan’ (knowledge); the constant comparisons between children are also tough to grapple with. As long as your paediatrician is content with the way your child is growing, you have nothing to worry about.
It is okay if the neighbour’s child is heavier than yours. Or taller. Or fairer. (Oh yes! Even infants are judged on the basis of the colour of their skin. Society is, in fact, that loathsome!)
It is okay if your friend’s little one spoke or walked before your kid did. It is okay if someone else’s child can recite short poems, while yours is still struggling to learn his ABCs.
Each child will follow his own growth trajectory!
As I said earlier, if the doctor is satisfied with the progress your little one is making, do not let others scare you into thinking otherwise. It is high time mothers learn to silence people and reduce the toxicity surrounding them!
Motherhood is the toughest job there is. Mothers (young and old) often feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities they have to deal with. It is absolutely okay to feel lost and exhausted. Why some people expect mothers to have super human abilities is beyond me! So many women singlehandedly take care of multiple children, run household errands/chores and have an outside job! Feeling tired or exhausted is only natural. That does not make a woman an incompetent mother, it makes her an ordinary human being in need of some rest and some ‘me time’.
Mothers, to beat the constant exhaustion, hire help if your finances allow it and more importantly, ask your spouse to be an equal partner and parent. Raising children is not only a woman’s job, despite what the people in the subcontinent seem to think, expect your partner to take on his fair share of parenting and household responsibilities.
The winds of change have started to blow; more and more fathers are choosing to be equal and hands-on parents and partners, but there is still a long way to go before the women in the subcontinent get their due. I think it is high time we break the shackles of patriarchy and both sexes assume equal responsibilities!
My wish for mothers this Mother’s Day is that all mothers are made to feel valued and special not only on this day, but every day! I hope you are able to take some time off for yourself not just today but every day. A happy and relaxed mind is better equipped to nurture!
And happiness begets more happiness.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing, Wonder Mums out there!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.