Let Go Of The Oars – A Mother’s Day Post
It’s that time of the year again, Mother’s Day, when our inboxes and chat windows will be filled with pictures of babies, hearts, virtual flowers and ‘Mother is first teacher’ kind of posts- a celebration of the ‘most important job in the world!’ For our generation, it has also transformed into one of the toughest roles in the world, one without breaks and consistently moving targets. Unlike a corporate job where you have the opportunity to give feedback to your HR manager on the work environment, hours or compensation even, here there is no opportunity for critical feedback, because the boss, you see is always right 🙂
Read other Stories in the #SheTheMom series here
“Our generation”, in the words of social researcher Brene Brown, “wears exhaustion as a badge of honour”. We take great pride in talking about how little time we have for ourselves, how little we sleep, how much caffeine we need, in order to fulfill what we believe are the basic requirements of the many roles we women perform, each of which comes with its own clear responsibilities and ‘key result areas’. And somehow, we seem to be working a lot, all the time but all the check boxes of the to-do list on most days (if you are like me) don’t get ticked. It’s never enough.
Nowhere is this sense of exhaustion and guilt of not doing enough more pronounced than in our role as mothers. We need to feed our offspring nutritious (preferably organic) meals, support them in being academic super-achievers, various extra-curricular activities and classes mandatory and we have to expose them to the arts and history. They need to learn programming, ballet, capoeira, creative writing, rock climbing, take extra tuitions… it’s an endless list to mould this little person into a superhuman. And guess whose primary responsibility it is? Another superhuman called mom.
A superhuman who is also supposed to earn money, look fabulous, be in touch with the latest trends in all aspects of life, be dutiful towards everyone in her life and run an efficient home-operation, while never for a moment dropping the supermom standards.
On Mother’s Day, my humble submission to all mothers, my plea to all, including myself is to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, slow down, take it easy, chill. You are doing enough, you are enough. Take time to nourish yourself, nurture your own inner child, channel the silliness, invite in the random agenda-less days, play lots of games; that’s the stuff memories are made of. And please stop comparing yourself to your mother, she was good enough too, and so are you.
I have a little chili plant in my balcony. It produces the perfect, feisty, bright chilies. But to think even for a minute that the plant could produce these without sunlight or water is preposterous. Your child needs you to be smart, strong, and an efficient multi-tasker– yes for sure- but what your child really needs above all is YOU; just as you are, your natural, real, unhurried, beautiful self. Delegate the rest, drop some of it too.
For me, lying in bed with my son’s little head nestled in the crook of my arm as we read a funny story and giggle together, that is priceless and irreplaceable. That’s what I signed up for.
Make time for you as a mother, to experience the joys and rights of motherhood, not just the responsibilities and goals. A friend once shared a beautiful thought – we only have our kids with us for 15 summers and 15 winters (and in our case 15 chaotic monsoons too) before they fly the nest into a life of their own (even while still living with us). Make the most of this time. Do this consciously, for your child, for your family, but most of all, for yourself. You deserve it, you’ve earned it- this authentic experience of motherhood.
Let go of the oars. Everything you want is downstream (-Abraham Hicks)
Preeti is the Founder-Director of FunOKPlease Publishing and mother to 9-year-old Neel. Views expressed are author’s own.