Motherhood isn’t new, but smartphone motherhood is
“They did not have the six months maternity leave. They didn’t have men taking care of children as much. They haven’t had smartphones so you can continue to work with your left hand while balancing the baby with your right hand.” Author Natasha Badhwar talks about smartphone motherhood and the many conflicts it creates inside us. At the SheThePeople Book Club, Natasha is reflecting on her debut book My Daughters’ Mum.
There is a generational divide in dealing with the idea of parenting, Natasha says that people of all generations have had conflicts and thoughts but its only the current generation that has got the opportunities to channelize it and discuss it in larger groups.
“And it is also true that when we first started speaking about parenting, there was almost a backlash saying ‘what’s the big deal?’ And one of the things I was writing about was an answer to this. Just because it has been happening in a certain way, it doesn’t mean that is the right way and doesn’t mean that is the only way it has to be repeated. So what I was doing with writing was I was giving a voice to the mother in me.”
When you are new mother you really know a lot but no one assures you that you are well-equipped.
Working in the media industry for close to two decades, Natasha talked about how she felt after becoming a mother, and bringing her professional and voice at home to converge.
“When you are new mother you really know a lot but no one assures you that you are well-equipped. In fact we are so well-equipped that today we get information from everywhere as also from digital spaces like online groups, communities and baby centres etc. And we are even accused of being ‘Google mothers’.” She says her life went through a transformation because she had children late. “So already I was aware of the fact that I was quite powerful at my work and suddenly I found myself sitting in a corner with a baby and feeling so powerless that for me it was very important to give a voice to the mother.”
Since today so much of data is available to children that if you switch off the WI-FI, they will switch on there 4G etc. But it is an everyday process and it is hard
Now that her children have grown have the challenges reduced? We are in the digital age and parents are discussing so many new issues like screen time. Natasha says one no choice but to keep negotiating it with the children. “Since today so much of data is available to children that if you switch off the WI-FI, they will switch on there 4G etc. But it is an everyday process and it is hard.”
Neela Kaushik, Founder of GurgaonMoms, who also spoke on the panel added, “Giving space also means that there will be rules and when you feel that the rules are being broken, it’s time to reiterate. My son knows that I’ll start to reiterate the parent-child relationship and you are no more a friend.”
Natasha puts the spotlight on issues that are tugging women who are trying to find balance at work and their life. Unboxing and not being judgemental about parenting may hold some cues. For the rest, parenting promises to be a journey that will leave us with more questions than answers.