Has Being A Mother Become More Complex Over Time?
Has the meaning of motherhood changed over time? Today, at least in Urban India, more and more mothers are bringing a paycheck home than ever before whether they are slogging eight hours a day at a traditional office or choosing to be their own boss and working from home while looking after their kids at the same time.
- Today motherhood is a choice and not a chance.
- We become supermoms to keep up with all these myriad sources of information only to be called a good mother at the end of the day.
- What has changed in fact is the perception of who is a good mother.
So, what are the things that have definitely changed from our mothers’ times? There is a greater awareness about sexual and reproductive health among women, and with an increase in support for women’s rights more and more women are talking about their issues. There has been a decline in maternal mortality rate and women are having fewer children. And there is an acknowledgement of unpaid housework duties and childcare responsibilities are beginning to get shared. Today motherhood is a choice and not a chance. On an emotional level, we are not longing for a male child to carry the family name forward. And we are also struggling hard to raise feminist sons.
For the modern Indian parent, operating in a nuclear family, parenting is a way more expensive and time-consuming activity than it used to be. Parents in general and mothers specifically are more involved in their kid’s life than our parents ever were. Today we are way more invested in shaping our kid’s future. Schools are also demanding a lot more of our time. So, parenting is a way more intensive process. Today, weekly reports and homework are sent on emails to parents, there are regular updates through school apps, GPS installed school buses and live CCTV footage for pre-schoolers. Every inch of our child’s life can be mapped daily. And with mothers exchanging copious notes post-school hours on WhatsApp groups there is hardly any independence left in the child’s life. And we become supermoms to keep up with all these myriad sources of information only to be called a good mother. But is it needed?
We become supermoms to keep up with all these myriad sources of information only to be called a good mother at the end of the day.
The only time our parents interacted with our teachers was during end-term parents-teachers’ meetings. And there used to be one-way dissemination of information, questions were neither encouraged nor appreciated. Was it right? Definitely not. There we definitely have made progress. However, our beloved mothers who stood quietly at these meetings were largely staying at home moms and hardly knew our best friend’s mother by their first names, were good mothers too. So, what has changed in fact is the perception of who is a good mother.
What has remained the same is we both take care of our children the specifics of which keep changing with every generation. We both love and discipline the children. We both are taken for granted. We both are/were shunned the moment we try to prioritize our own lives over our kids. Our mothers put up a fight silently but we are vocal about our struggles.
Our mothers put up a fight silently but we are vocal about our struggles.
Motherhood is a journey, so there is nothing constant about it. At a very basic level the bond you share with your child remains the same anywhere in the world and over centuries. So what we can change and should is how we look at a mother for all the things she does. We can give her the much-needed support. We can stop making her feel guilty for her choices. And dear mothers, let’s stop being hard on ourselves for not doing enough all the time.
The view expressed are the author’s own.