Right off the bat let me state the very obvious, that it’s never easy being a Mother, whether you belong to the current century or the one gone by or the next one.
I have heard off the many challenges our mothers faced in being the best mother they could be. Any line that preceded ‘wait till you have children and you will know’ was a good indicator that mommy was facing a parenting challenge. 🙂 Well now I have children and I KNOW! I am a 21st century mother.
I want to be an ambitious mix of Raavan with his 10 heads, an Octopus with its 8 arms and a Spider with its 8 legs. I have no time to look at my reflection in the mirror and see what a sight it will be. As long as there are 24 hours in a day, I will happily adorn this new Avatar and here’s why
- Information Overkill: I need those multiple heads to process all the information being passed down through generations of well-wishers, whether I like it or not. At one point after giving birth to my first born, I was drinking Fennel water, Ajwain water, Haldi milk, all in one day and all independently. After a couple of weeks of this liquid diet I gave up. If that was not enough we also somehow (magically I think) have to cut to the chaff when privy to communication from social media, books and Internet articles on how you should feel and what you should do. Be strict with your children, be lenient with your children, make sure they do not waste their food, do not force feed, technology is bad for them, technology is educational and the contradictions carry on. Maybe I need an extra head to do what I am most comfortable doing and being the mother that is natural to me. Play to my strengths.
- You are alone: Behind that main door of your house, you need to become superwoman. Time for those extra arms and legs. Wake up at the crack of dawn, cook breakfast and lunch, feed breakfast to the family, get everyone ready and out of the house and the day has only begun. Since you are superwoman you will also squeeze in time for yourself, your work, your health and come evening have a clean home and a warm dinner ready. Before we kill ourselves to attain standards that are ridiculously impossible, lets take a step back. While we take that step back lets try not to feel guilty for everything, guilty that we spend less time with the children, guilty that we do not help our partners out. Prioritize guilt free
- You are never alone: Now the fun begins. In the bygone days it was as easy as, shut those doors and you were left to yourself and your family. Today we have a mobile and are always connected. Like anything else this has its merits and also the parts where we can never really disconnect. For one, we don’t have to wait for telegrams to ask our mothers what should we do when we see a crazy coloured poop. But God forbid you don’t answer your phone because you could be cleaning that very poop, or feeding the children or just taking a break, the panic button would be hit. Not to forget the time we enter other’s homes via facebook or start to ‘research’ how to be a better mommy. Pause. Switch off that mobile at night (I cannot remember the last time I switched off my phone, but need to try it). But before you do, let near and dear ones know. Buy a landline phone.
- Gadget police: Add a police hat to my new Avatar of part Raavan, part Octopus and part Spider. Its time to be the Gadget police. In the earlier days a mother had to mind the children coming in and out of the house and playing with their toys. Today’s mothers have to do that AND keep a watch on tv, laptops, ipads and phone usage not just for the children but for us also. We are their role models and as mentioned in the point above with the phone being an extension of our hand, the children only see it as natural to also want to use it. Of course these gadgets are also such a blessing when we need time off and to be fair there’s a lot of educational apps and programs available. For the creatively challenged (like me) these prove to be unique experiences for the little minds. Find the balance. And while I police the children around I might as well look good doing it. Wink. Wink. Walk this tightrope in a sexy police hat.
- Concrete jungle: Tarzan would have died a million deaths if he had to find ropes to swing from in this ‘new’ jungle we live in. But with every child born, a Tarzan is born. As mothers we have to find these Tarzans a place to make merry or our house will become their jungle. For those mothers who live in apartment complexes, ‘green’ area is limited to a few swings and slides. For anything else recreational, a dedicated plan has to be made to take them to the few real parks/ gardens that are left. Greens are on the way out and concrete is setting in strong! For mothers with their own patches of green, I’m green with envy. The light at the end of this concrete tunnel is what I call the ‘concrete extended families’ – our neighbours. Isn’t it just awesome that there are similar aged children as ours and they have instant company without much of an effort? So as mothers we ‘need’ to socialize for our children, if for nothing else it just expands our children’s social circle and playing fields in the absence of green patches. Join a Kitty party.
- Population Burst: For the new age mom this is really troublesome and adds oodles of stress to her otherwise stressed-out being. Traffic, everywhere and all the time! This really takes the fun out of any family outing. Not to mention if you just want to run a quick errand or want to get back home after a long day at work to be with you child. That we have to deal with serpentine long queues for anything and everything including school admissions and it starts as early as Pre School. Long queues are directly proportional to the stress levels and the queue is only getting longer. The only silver lining I can possibly see for overpopulation is that it ‘may’ inculcate patience in the children. 🙂 Jokes apart, have a crisis backpack for each child. Water bottle with not too much water, otherwise you will be adding to your stress when susu comes in a traffic-jam; non messy snacks, sticker books, books to read and some awesome earphones for myself. These are a few of my favourite things. Add noise-cancelling Headphones to my avatar.
- Business of bringing up children: Every single thing that our child needs (diapers, books, school, medical attention) or desires (toys, hobbies) has a rather hefty price on it. As mothers we are the finance head and accountant for our home keeping a hawk’s eye on that money flowing out. It started with when I became pregnant. The exorbitant consultation fees were sure shot signs of the expenses headed our way. Scans, blood tests, delivery, hospital rooms, diapers, baby clothes, school fees, toys, hobby class fees and god save me if my children fall ill…I have not even reached teenage years or college days! Yikes! I have dialled back to the Stone Age and use the barter system. Sure it will not help in school fees but its still saving a lot of money. We practically bought nothing for Peanut and Buttercup’s birth. Family and friends gave us a crib, pram and old clothes. We still recycle clothes and shoes with our friend’s children. Old is gold!
- Who is the maid? A favourite topic with all mommies – maids. That the house help have us on a short leash is a gross understatement. Hubby always wonders if they further add to my stress or are they actually helping. U2’s – With or without you, was probably written for our maids. ‘I cant live with or without you. I’ll deal with that stress (Do I have a choice?) as long as my house looks ‘fairly’ clean. Either that or start a training school for the children early on so that they contribute to the house tidiness. And for those days when they are not around – Wear Comfortable shoes.
At the end of all this, if I can kick off those comfy shoes, take off my sexy hat, leave those extra heads, arms and legs on the bedside table (I’ll keep those earphone on – LOVE music) and still be left with a SMILE, then that is enough to know that #EveryDayIsMothersDay .
Or as a new mommy friend of mine wished – A hot meal that I can eat with both my hands. Give her that and its mother’s day for her. 🙂
#EveryDayIsMothersDay Contest #MothersDay Contest
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