Dear Maa, Please Be A Little Selfish

Parents Need Emotional Support
Maa, I didn’t learn the funda of “kuch paane ke liye khona padta hai” from Bollywood films, I learnt it by seeing you every day. Here’s an open letter to all mothers who sacrifice so much for so little every day. Do they ever realise how their behaviour shapes their daughters? Shouldn’t mothers be teaching daughters to be a little selfish by living a little for themselves?

Dear Maa,

A lot of people say that when children are born, you can forget about sleep for a few days. And yet, you made Baba and Didi’s tiffin, even when I kept you up all night. Why couldn’t you ask anyone else to cook our meals while you took some rest? Why couldn’t you tell Baba to put me to sleep? That’s not the only time you gave up your comfort or lifestyle for the sake of your family. I remember how you would keep sitting outside my class because I would cry when you weren’t around. Why didn’t you prioritize yourself?

Maa, I hope someday you decide to make up for all these times you let go of your dreams for us.

I remember you telling us, your daughters, to always stand our ground and do what we love, but sadly, we never saw you do the same. We have never seen you put yourself first, so are we to follow your footsteps or go by your teachings, because there seems to be a contrast in the two?

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Is a selfish mother always a bad mom?

Dear Maa, I’m sorry your mother taught you how to sew and make dal before she taught you to put yourself first. And ever since, you have been trading what you like for what your family loves. You always made rajma chawal on Sundays when you clearly prefer aloo ke paranthe. You ate what we likes without complaining. You never asked anyone to make your favourite dish for you. If only Baba’s mother had taught him how to cook. If only we hadn’t been conditioned by society to see mothers as robots that had no desires, preferences or likings.

Dear Maa, don’t see yourself as a mother, but as a woman- raised by another woman, raising another generation of girls, and you’ll realise why sacrifices need to be cut down from life.

I also remember that you didn’t get to visit your mom when she was sick because Didi was sick too. I wish you could slide your throbbing, worrisome, anxious-motherly heart under the pillow, because you had someone to depend on. Isn’t raising children the responsibility of a father or the entire family too? Why must women suffer the consequences of society’s stereotyping of women as primary and irreplaceable caregivers?  Thank you for showing me what the purest form of love is, but sometimes, it’s the things we love the most that destroy us, so please; love us a little less, and love yourself a little more.

Suggested Reading: Are Women Forced to Be More Selfless? Is That Sacrifice Worth it?

Dear Maa, you raised me to be a woman who is strong, fearless and fierce. You passed it on to me, but on some days, I really want you to live for yourself, not for me, not for Didi, not for Baba. Don’t give me that cup of chai you made for yourself, instead ask me to fix one for myself and let you sip your tea in peace. Don’t make yellow dal for dinner just because Baba likes it. Don’t wear pink if it’s just a colour your mother-in-law said looks good on you. Our love for you is unconditional, it won’t get diminished if you stop making meals that we like and cook what you want to eat, or if you spend a day with your friends or devout a couple of hours every day to a hobby of your choice.

Dear Maa, thank you for everything. But do me a favour, will you? If there comes a time, when you have to choose between you and us, Please choose yourself.


Your Daughters