Ahhh mothers’ day, the only day of the year us mothers get our praises sung, get acknowledged, felicitated, recognized and basically be treated as the Queens that we are. You may count yourself lucky if all this lasts the whole day and not just breakfast in bed.
This grand production that the whole world participates in for mothers’ day really got me thinking this year. The more I think about it and the more I research online as well as offline with people I meet, I feel we have succumbed to self-glorification. A simple google search narrows down the meaning for us to easily digest this phenomenon. Self-glorification is “exaltation of oneself and one’s abilities”. Now, do you believe me? Don’t you think it’s time for you to think about it too?
Let me make my case. Yes. We carry a human being within our being for almost 10 months. This is not just carrying. This is while our bodies go through tremendous change and our minds and senses go for a walk on the wild side. When I say wild side, I don’t mean party like no tomorrow. I mean like ‘lost in the jungle, unable to focus’ kind of wild side. We lose control of many aspects of our lives, from what we like to wear to when it would be appropriate to pee!. Then after much toil and struggle out pops the little human, tearing your innards screaming the little lungs out. And within a week you feel like you want to stuff it back to where your little bundle of joy came from. No no, not back to your womb, but back to the place of origin. You know, sort of like a return to sender. So anyhow since that is not possible, you go through sleepless nights. Further ruin the already ruined body of yours trying to nourish the offspring. Then all your pregnancy vitamins and hormones wear off and your hair starts falling off in clumps, some of you may break out in acne as well. You might notice sensitivity in your teeth and bags and dark circles under the eyes which make you the envy of any owl will complete your new look.
Just when your body somehow pulls through boot camp and you get the hang of this mothering business, comes the dreaded weaning. In my opinion, feeding a baby and then a toddler should be classified as a competitive sport. You run, jump, dive, sway, duck, make silly faces, come up with unbelievable stories, lie, cheat, cry, laugh like a maniac and stand on your head if you must just to get a few morsels of nutrition into that little Energizer bunny. Then along with them, you get your primary and secondary education too. Because the school decides that giving homework to the kids is so last millennium and they give homework to parents as well. Lucky us! So we go through cutting, pasting, colouring, researching and ultimately we prep for life-changing exams with them too.
And through it all we complain with righteous indignation. Oh the struggle, the sacrifice, the torture, the toil. Let’s be honest and admit that once in a while we secretly enjoy the complaining too. We wear that crown of thorns like the martyrs we are. We take any opportunity we get to point out the hardships and the ensuing rewards of motherhood to any willing audience. We live for our children, we lay our life on the line for them. Everything I do…I do it for you….right? then alas! They grow up and they don’t need us anymore. Some just tell it to our face, point blank. Like a shot to your heart at close range. Mom, I can take it from here. Mom, you don’t understand. Mom, I can do it by myself. Of course we are relieved. We did our job well. I mean this is what we wanted all along, for them to be independent. For us to have a life of our own without keeping to their schedules. We don’t need to set alarms. We are not needed to pack snacks or lunches. We are not needed to drive them to and from practices or classes. We are not needed to give them guidance or advice. Basically we were not needed any more. The only thing they will need from us is space. And we should gracefully give in and let go.
But what will we do then? This is where it gets hard. Sitting around in an empty nest. Surrounded by memories and sounds from the past. We will be older and weaker not to mention wiser too. If we could talk to our younger selves we would tell them to remove that crown and face the reality. We would tell them not to merge our children’s life with ours so much so that we lose focus on where their end and ours begin. We will tell them not to allow motherhood overshadow your identity as a woman. As the poet Rumi said, “your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth”. Finally, we have to live our lives and them theirs.
Motherhood is a wonderful blessing. There is no denying that. The months of nausea, sleepless nights, the exploding diapers, sicknesses and exams, I would do it all over again. To be able to raise, guide and nurture a tiny human is an awe-inspiring experience. It’s a roller coaster ride like no other. But you have to get off that ride and continue to walk your path. So while you raise your little darlings don’t give up on things that make you happy, things that helps you grow and activities that preserve your identity as a woman. This mother’s day let the world glorify us as it should. But let us embark on a journey of self discovery. Go back to your roots. Go back to your hobbies. Go back to things that defined your identity as a person and not just be someone’s mother or wife.
Happy Mothers’ Day mums. It’s time we take care of ourselves for a change.