Many Moms Aim To Be Perfect, But Shouldn’t They Seek Happiness Instead?

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Who is a perfect mother? The one who cooks well? The one who senses her child’s footsteps from far? Or the one who is always ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of her children? These questions might seem as if they have been penned after watching a bunch of Bollywood movies. But the fact is that these questions, or let me rephrase, these expectations from mothers are very much real. Our society hails mothers as goddesses who bear the ultimate power to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their children.

But is there no limit to expectations that moms must fulfill? Every mother is a woman first, who has an individual identity, dreams, and goals. Why must we expect women to sacrifice what they want, for the sake of who we want them to be and how we expect them to behave as mothers?

Mothers certainly play a vital role in our lives. They support us when we are low, they become teachers when we lose track of life, and they become the audience who has the most enthusiastic claps to offer when we succeed. But what do we do for our mothers? Do we care for their individuality and happiness?

Even after becoming fathers, men don’t lose the right to work. They grow professionally and fulfill their desires. If fathers can manage both personal and professional happiness, then why can’t mothers?

Here is the catch. In our society, mothers are expected to be perfect but not necessarily happy. A mother’s ordeal doesn’t end at the delivery of the child, this is a lifelong responsibility that she must fulfill. But must she have to make all the sacrifices that society demands from her, simply to be labelled as a “perfect mom”?

The perfect mom trap

In our society women are always told that their role is to produce and rear new generations. Their entire life is defined by how good they are as mothers. When a mother tries to prioritise her own goals, she is regarded as an irresponsible mom that doesn’t love her kids. This is the reason why after marriage and motherhood, most women quit the workforce and become full-time moms. This is despite the fact that working women are important contributors to the country’s economy. Mothers who are breadwinners or co-breadwinners do not only maintain the financial stability of their household but that of the country too. It is estimated that women generate 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in India. If female labour force participation is increased, women can add up to 700 billion dollars to the country’s GDP by 2025.

But society would rather have women focus on child-bearing and rearing duties. Leave work for men. Let them be the breadwinners. No one cares if both men and women are trapped in roles that make them unhappy, as long as the fabric of society is preserved?

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The problem is not in becoming a full-time mother because that is a job too, albeit not being a paid one. The problem is in burdening women with most of parenting duties, expecting little to no contribution from fathers, apart from bringing home a paycheck. If parenting duties are equally divided between men and women and the latter is not shamed for being career-driven, they will have a chance to focus on their goals and needs as well.

The change in the narrative can be brought about when we prioritise happy mothers over perfect ones in our homes. Being a mother shouldn’t be a roadblock in a woman’s life. And when a family comes together to ensure just that, moms have a shot at happiness. The idea of perfect mom is based on a myth to guilt-trap women. Let us bust this myth and set Indian mothers free to live on their own terms.

Views expressed are the author’s own.