The Indian mother who fusses over her children
I remember the day I cried as my little son walked into the kindergarten on his first day. I was trying to hide my face from the other parents out of embarrassment, only to realise that the other moms were teary-eyed too! In a few minutes, I saw that my boy was happily getting to know the other children. He seemed to have forgotten me. I realised that a mother will always be a mother, fussing over her brood – no matter which species she belongs to!
My mother always fussed over us, in spite of being a working mom. She still does. I remember how she used to get into the kitchen almost immediately after she returned from office and freshened up. She never let us work in the kitchen, and would always say ‘you go and study’. The same habit passed on to us, I guess – fussing over the kids and hovering over them. And Indian mothers are rather fussy I dare say. At least those of the previous generation.
So, as I look at life in retrospect, I see that I spent quite a big chunk of time in regret. How I must be a bad mother for wanting to go out and work; how hard-hearted I must be, to want financial independence at the cost of not being home for my loved ones. Especially those days when the kid was not well and I chose to stay home, somehow feeling that he fell ill because of me, because I must have been careless. No matter what, I always had that feeling at the back of my mind of falling short.
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The one who stayed home
And then I met her. A schoolmate I had not been in touch with for many years. She had been a bright student, and there had been a sense of healthy competition between us, to see who scored higher. I visited her house the following week. A homemaker, she was the most wonderful cook and the best mother her kids could ever have. Her husband must have really done some good deeds to get a wife like her, I thought…not without that slight pang of jealousy. And as we got talking about everything in general, I noticed that she had a sense of missing out on something. She nurtured a feeling of having wasted an engineering degree to sit back at home. She was happy in her life, yes, but she felt that she had missed out on the fun that working women had!
That’s when realisation dawned. Here we were, envying each other’s ‘perfect’ life, while feeling inadequate in our own selves! We all nurture that guilt feeling at times. Of not being enough. No matter what we do, we feel that we should have done more.
No matter what we do, we feel that we should have done more.
We invite unhappiness this way. The kids grow up watching us. We need to be happy and confident, for them to feel the same. We make a choice when we decide to go out and work, or to stay home. So we need to respect that choice and make the best out of it. And no matter how busy we might be, we are always there for our children when they really need us. The rest is just mind games we play with ourselves.