I always take a certain amount of pride in calling myself a mother. According to me, it is the hardest but most rewarding job that I have ever committed to taking on. Post college, I have worked in the IT industry as well as the Agricultural industry; both vastly different in their requirements and job descriptions. The skill sets and life lessons that I learned from both jobs were extremely different. There are some skills you learn from a job which may be relevant to that particular job but cannot be applied anywhere else; and then are those ‘traits or qualities’ you acquire which sometimes actually change you and become a part of who you are.
Motherhood, as I am sure you all agree, is a continuously evolving process, requiring mothers to adapt every now and then along the way. There is no start and finish line. As a mother, there is never the question of having learned enough. At every step, new qualities are developed and adopted, and some maybe qualities that you already had but after motherhood they become honed.
Different mothers have varying qualities which they think have helped them evolve and become what they consider to be a devoted and committed mother (notice I didn’t use the word good, since I do not believe that it is as simple as describing any mother as good or bad). I am not going to be unrealistic and try to make all the mothers out there feel better by saying “you have everything already in you to be a perfect mother” or “don’t worry you are already doing an amazing job so don’t ever change.” No, I don’t believe in those statements. Like I mentioned earlier, motherhood is an evolving process and evolution equals change.
Here is my list of top 5 qualities that have changed me, and which I have internalized after becoming a mother -
1. Never back down
Growing up, I was always more of an introvert than an extrovert. I think most of my school friends who are still in my life today would vouch for that. I was shy and unassuming. This shyness always led to accepting things the way others wanted them without any regard for my own wants and needs. I wouldn’t call it selflessness but more of a pushover.
Working in the corporate world is when I learned to ‘toughen up’ so to speak. More so once I became a mother as well. I learned persistence, a trait which comes in handy as a mother! In the face of absolute resistance coming from my son in certain situations, I have learned not to give up and let anything deter me. There are challenges and obstacles we face with our children every step of the way as mothers. I have learned to never back down.
When I was young, I expected everything and everyone to revolve around me. I think like most of the youth, I wore partial blinders most of the time when it came to others; it was mostly about me and my wants and needs. Weren’t we all like that once upon a time? My parents did their job by teaching me that showing concern for other people and caring about their wants and needs as well would make me a good human being. They set good examples for my sisters and me. At that point, I never believed that anyone could be 100% selfless. That was of course until I became a mother myself and then I finally understood what my mother had always talked about, and what it felt like putting someone else’s well being and wants and needs, ahead of mine. Being selfless is a quality that automatically is embedded into your personality as a mother, whether or not it was already present before. I realised that every thought in my head began with “would this be suitable for my children?” Every step I have taken and will take in the future will be to ensure my children’s happiness and safety.
When it comes to disciplining our children, it is extremely easy for mothers to fall off the cliff. We talk about two distinct approaches when dealing with tantrums - rational explanations and yelling along with punishments. The most ‘ideal’ way most mothers would like to adopt is the rational explanations. Easier said than done right? We all have our weak moments when we just want to hurl abuses at our children during their episodes. I don’t think there is even one mother out there who can deny this. I realised over a period of time, that in order to be successful (sometimes not always) at attempting rational explanations without flying off the handle, an abundant amount of self-control was required. This ensures that nothing is said which cannot be taken back; that point of no return is not reached.
4. Being fair
Question: How does a person know he/she is being fair to someone? Answer: He/she puts himself/herself in the other person’s shoes and then makes a decision. I wonder sometimes if every time we utter the phrase “this is not fair”, we really know what it means. I have never practiced the art of fairness more, than after I have become a mother. This is not just me but I would think all mothers, try to see most things from their children’s point of view. The world is a strange and different place to them so putting ourselves in their shoes would give us a clearer picture of why they do certain things. This, rather than just assuming that they are being manipulative, would go a long way. I would always want my children to think of fairness and integrity, when thinking of me.
5. The Power of positive thinking
In one of my earlier posts titled ‘The Law of Cause and Effect’, I talked about how everything has an equal and opposite reaction. When you direct positive energy at someone, minimizing the negativity, the same positive energy gets thrown back at you. The power of positive thinking is something I have tried to practice every day from the time I became a mother. This also links back to the self-control mentioned earlier, which can aid in pushing negative thoughts to the back of our minds and bringing the positive thoughts to the forefront for our children to experience. Putting everything else aside, I want my children to be happy individuals. Period. I am not going to shelter them from the challenges that they will face in life, but I do want to teach them to approach every situation in life with a positive mind, so that they can be a better version of themselves.
It is a mother’s basic maternal instinct to protect her offspring, both from physical as well as emotional harm. We are always looking out for our children to ensure that they never have to go through any pain and suffering inflicted by anyone or anything. Our children’s happiness is first and foremost on our list of accomplishments as mothers. I have always wondered though if complete and absolute protection from emotional pain is a positive thing.
Let me explain what I mean by that. The line is thin between ‘protecting’ and ‘sheltering’. Sheltering equals over-protecting. Many times the line gets blurry because the two overlap. I ask myself all the time and rightly so, what my main hopes are for my children. What qualities and skills do I want them to possess, to enable them to have a fulfilling life? Like all other mothers, I of course want my children to be happy, healthy, safe etc and have all the dreams they dream of like every mother out there. But what I feel is important and sometimes lost somewhere along the way of them growing up, is their ability to deal with pain and suffering and emerge from it that much stronger. No one gets out alive without facing challenges. Giving my children the skills from a very young age, to overcome obstacles and be resilient, is key.
When it comes to protecting our children from physical harm, for example with our young ones, we try and make sure they don’t go and trip over their own feet trying to climb stairs before they can walk. So to protect them, we install gates all over the house. This is something as mothers we are obligated and trained to do. It is instinct. This does not have any bearing on their emotional state of mind but more on their presence of mind. We teach them to be cautious the next time around. This is protection, and not sheltering.
We as mothers, often feel that protecting our children from any potential hardship means actually preserving their emotional well-being. I am not sure how much I agree with this. I truly believe that a child’s emotional state is developed from infancy. The development takes place from experiencing positive as well as negative feelings throughout the child’s life. Getting pushed around by bullies for instance, is a stressful and sometimes painful situation for any child. One would view this as a negative situation. But the way he/she is taught to react by the mother makes all the difference. There is protection - teaching him/her to face the situation head-on and strategise on how to handle the situation in the event it happens again. Then there is sheltering - hovering around and complaining to the class teacher, which leads to the child being completely unprepared for handling future altercations, if any. The former way, the child is being exposed fully to the negative event at hand, and the latter, the mother is shielding the child completely by putting the responsibility of solving the problem on the teacher.
In the early stages, examples are set by the parents; especially the mother. I have seen my elder son watching me very closely for my reaction every time something upsets me. By letting my emotions flow and expressing my true feelings about a negative situation, I am teaching my children that negative and stressful events will occur from time to time, that they need to be confronted head-on without turning your back on them and pretending like everything is fine, and that it’s ok to feel pain because it only makes you stronger. Many people are of the opinion that nothing negative should ever be expressed in front of children. Is this true in every case? I don’t believe so. For example, if there is a death in the family, I would not want to shelter my children from knowing what was happening. Instead, I would want them to understand the situation and furthermore, understand how to manage their feelings and cope. Age appropriate explanations are of course required, but an explanation is definitely important. Removing them completely from negative situations growing up, will only create insecurities, uncertainty and fear for when they will have to deal with something similar later on in life. Pain and suffering is bad, but the lesson to be taken away from it will only make our children that much more resilient.
Emotions need to be regulated. Pain and suffering is sadly a part of life, a truth which my children need to learn early on, and this can only be done by exposing them to it, leading to development of emotional feelings. None of us want our children to be thrown into an unpredictable world. The development and regulation of emotional skills is crucial for children to protect themselves.
We can shelter our children by not preparing them for the world that we expect them to live in. Another way to go is to protect them by preparing them and exposing them to reality from early on in their lives. As mothers, we all want to do what is best for our children. Even if what’s best is not within our comfort zone, buffering our children from stressful, negative & painful situations is not enhancing their well-being for the long term.
As Robert H. Schuller said “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do!”
What are your views on this? Please feel free to share your thoughts on what you would do at home with your children!
Punctuality has always been a strong quality of mine. I am not trying to flatter myself; it is something that my friends have always joked about growing up. I have always landed up at a friend’s house either at the time specified or maybe 5-10 minutes earlier than scheduled. In today’s world (especially India) of being fashionably late, 4 pm rarely means 4 pm, but actually means approximately 5.30 pm. However for me, 4 pm always meant and still means 4 pm. It runs in my family; most members of my family are the same way, we end up at the airport 3 hours before a domestic flight. You would think that I would change to be in line with everyone else, but I am actually quite proud of this quality as I feel it adds a certain amount of discipline to my life.
I wanted to talk about this because I feel that it has affected most aspects of my life, including of course motherhood.
When we were pregnant with our first son, as most first-time mothers do, I spent hours and hours on Google, reading articles on baby sleep schedules, feeding routines etc. I wanted to know when the baby would start feeding according to a set schedule so that I could set his routine in place; set a certain time for his morning feed, massage, bath, naps and so on.
Now I am sure many mothers reading this post can relate to what I am about to say. I was a complete Nazi with my first son. The ‘eat whenever, have a bath whenever and nap whenever’ policy never settled with me. I thought that having a set routine with set times meant sticking to them come what may, not realising at the time that the world would not end if the schedule varied here and there by 5-10 minutes. At that point in time, even a 5 minute delay for lunch time or bath time was a catastrophic event. If he went down late for his nap, I would start to get fidgety. I was completely obsessive about his routine and sometimes it got to an unnatural level. The reality was that the delay made no difference to anyone’s life; my son was happy as long as he got his food somewhere around the time normal people eat lunch, and was not made to starve. These kinds of incidents led to many an argument with my support system and my son’s other caretakers, but actually the only person in distress was yours truly. I had become my own worst nightmare. I was a momzilla.
As a first-time mom, any and every small deviation is made to seem like a mammoth issue. I personally feel most first-time moms are wound up tight, and I was leading the pack. Over a period of time, I became more flexible and learnt to take things in my stride. In hindsight, after my second one has arrived, I keep wondering why I had made my life more stressful than it needed to be. I realised being a stickler for routine was one thing, but being an unreasonable stickler for routine was completely different altogether. I guess that is why practice makes perfect (although I don’t think ‘perfect’ can be applied to anything when it comes to motherhood).
With my second son, I am now just the opposite. Yes, as a mother, I am still a little OCD with many things, but toned down by many levels. I have to keep reminding myself of the following:
Hello to all my Bubbly Blogcast readers! Apologies for the long break in my posts...I was busy pushing another tiny human out of my V card. He is now 2 weeks old and looking a lot less like a little alien creature and more like my husband.
The night I delivered, I was lying in the hospital bed reading one of the magazines the nurses had given me. I came across an article a mother from Germany had written on postpartum depression; a condition which a large percentage of new mothers experience, post delivery. We are all of course familiar with it; whether we have gone through it ourselves or not. The author of the article spoke about her symptoms and severity of the depression, how it affected hers, her family’s and her baby’s life the first few months. The article got me thinking.
Depression is something we always think only others go through and could never happen to us. We sometimes talk about it as if we are narrating a scene out of a movie. So I wanted to dedicate my post this week to this topic, and to a milder version of depression which many new moms don’t even realise they are experiencing, called baby blues. There are so many websites out there which give moms advice on the symptoms of baby blues and how to overcome it. But I wanted to dig a little deeper so that if any moms out there want to share their voice on their experiences, they can do so without any hesitation.
I have personally seen baby blues set in faster and more frequently among new moms. I am not sure if it can be contributed wholly to ‘hormonal changes’. The thing I want to say first is this – baby blues is not something that you can control, whether it is your first, second or third child. It is not something that is right or wrong. Some of the feelings associated with becoming a new mom (other than happiness, excitement, anticipation, joy etc), are those of anxiety, loss of identity, loss of your former life and fear of what lies ahead. These feelings can stem from not having enough help those first few weeks, struggles with nursing, feeding every half hour etc. Sometimes there may not even be a reason for these feelings. If these feelings are not communicated and ‘vented’ to a family member or friend, they tend to fester and eventually lead to sudden crying outbursts for no reason and a general overwhelming feeling of sadness. I am not going to go into the symptoms as there as many.
Coming home from the hospital with a newborn is always an emotional event, stirring up mixed feelings for the mother. Dealing with those feelings by surrounding yourself with family and friends, and talking about them is key, to keep the baby blues at bay. Bottling those feelings up and feeling embarrassed to talk about them, is what pushes many new moms to experience baby blues. It’s ok to not be ok. If you are not ok, say so!
Many people have a very ‘blissful’ picture of motherhood in their minds. They believe that motherhood is made up of only hallmark moments. When reality kicks in and the baby is born, the hallmark moments blend together with the hoard of challenges of motherhood. No one is ever ready for the hurdles motherhood presents; we can only prepare for it to the best of our ability, without knowing fully what to expect. But many times because that perfect picture in our minds is torn away by the reality of becoming a mom, the fantasy is shaken and the gloomy feelings become overpowering.
I had a very mild version of baby blues after my first son was born, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought I was an overly hormonal new mom. Pushing myself to breastfeed when I couldn’t because the doctor said so, nanny issues the first two months and other things contributed to it. There were days of never-ending crying outbursts, nearly zero appetite, mood swings and an overall feeling of loss. But at the end of the day I had my entire family around me forming a wall of support. Now after my second son was born, the day we came home from the hospital, my family and I popped open a bottle of rose champagne, and celebrated us having become a part of what a friend of mine aptly called – ‘The two boys club.’
When we decide to have children, as parents, we have our own aspirations for them, and desires of how we want them to grow up. As the world develops, we make choices changing with the times, that affect our children and hope that they learn from those choices which will sometimes have both, positive and negative consequences. We also look at the country we are raising our children in, and sometimes wonder if this is the right place for them. We judge the levels of safety, protection, opportunities, resources etc for them in our country. We look at freedom of speech and the freedom to make choices; not only do we judge the opportunities that they will have growing up, but also as adults.
Womens rights have been a long standing issue and point of discussion, all over the world. From education and the right to vote, to working women, equal pay and violence, womens rights have become fundamental human rights. They have become a way of life in most countries and have changed the way countries work, for the better. Having said this, there are still countries where women are denied their rights in many areas, and India is one of them.
Living in India, each woman rightly has her own opinion on various topics concerning mothers and their rights, like abortion or female infantacide and therefore the law against sex determination. Is abortion 'right' or 'wrong'? Female infanticide in India due to archaic beliefs of a certain section of the country, led to a nationwide ban on sex determination while the mother was still pregnant. How did this help? One would think that the inability to determine the sex of the child would increase the female infanticide once the child was born. Mainly due to the fact that the mother and her family were not given the right to determine the sex while pregnant. If they had been, maybe they would have made a choice to abort the baby by the legal 20 weeks (which also has its restrictions to an extent). Whether or not giving families the opportunity and right to make this decision during pregnancy, again has debating views. But is that better than giving birth and then resorting to female infanticide?
Abortion and female infanticide is not the main topic of my article. I bring up womens rights and a mother's right, due to the Surrogacy bill which has been passed, and has been a disappointing and controversial topic for women throughout India. For years, the surrogacy laws in India have been undergoing continuous revisions. It is common knowledge that surrogacy in India has been embraced by people all over the world. It has been a popular avenue undertaken by many celebrities as well. Therefore in the past, there have been no strict terms and conditions regarding the marital status and sex of the person wanting to have a child through surrogacy. Women use surrogacy as a business, becoming a surrogate birth mother only for commercial purposes. Are there opposing views on this from people? Of course. Some believe that women should be able to do whatever it is to support themselves, whereas some believe that becoming a mother just to 'sell' the baby (even if the child is going to a good family), is an unthinkable thing to do.
There are women who have no other source of income for reasons we as outsiders may not be aware of, and have therefore decided to become surrogate mothers, even though they may not already be mothers themselves. Who are we to judge? Surrogacy clinics regulate this process and if they do it right, the process is smooth ensuring that the birth mother gets what she needs and the baby is given to a good and happy family.
In November 2016, a bill was passed to abolish commercial surrogacy, at the same time imposing restrictions on who can actually be a surrogate mother and who can adopt a surrogate child. The only reason that a couple can even consider having a child through surrogacy, is if the couple is infertile; removing a couple's choice of how they want to have a child. Over and above this, unmarried women, single parents, homosexuals and couples living together, cannot consider having a child through surrogacy.
India has always been a country where the systems and processes in place are 'imperfect', for a lack of another softer word. This is not to say that other countries aren't; we have a million examples staring at us right in the face even today to prove this. But living in India, I can only look at some of the tainted systems, here. When faced with a serious, sensitive and challenging issue, we more often than not have a tendency to push aside the actual issue at hand and focus on the surrounding non-essential points, just to make things move faster and arrive at a solution. Are we addressing the main issue in this case? Surrogate clinics and agencies have not been registered till now and therefore face a lack of regulation, thereby leading to encouragement of exploitation of surrogate mothers by them. They have also been known not to provide copies of contracts to the adoptive parents. Is this something that surrogate birth mothers and adoptive parents need to suffer for?
Where does the real issue lie? Is it such that, like other systems and processes in India, this too cannot be streamlined and regulated on a deeper level, with the easiest route to a solution being taken? Why take away the rights and choices of unmarried women, single parents, childless women and homosexuals all over on how they want to have a child? How is allowing a single parent to adopt from an orphanage or agency, different from adopting a child through surrogacy? How is taking away the right of a woman regarding her source of income, a sign of fairness?
When our children grow up, I am sure we all hope that they are not denied any fundamental rights when addressing the way they want to have children of their own. Married or unmarried, married or divorced, homosexual or heterosexual, I would want my children to be able to make their own decisions, without obstructions at every corner.
Questions can be thrown at the existence and features of the Surrogacy bill from all angles. The sad part about this is that we call our country 'The Better India'. According to me, the word 'better' should signify strength, good health, compassion, happiness, freedom and most of all, development; development of our country to reach new heights that other countries have. With bills like this being passed and even considered, I worry for the future of my children in today's India.
What are your views?
Women’s day. One day in the entire year to recognize, applaud, pay tribute to and honour women, and their contribution to society. It is a day dedicated towards glorifying women or ‘superwomen’ all over the world; mothers, sisters, daughters, mother –in-laws, sister-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, cousin sisters, aunts and so on. But the day comes to an end and the recognition fades away; this is the sad reality. Do we really take the time and make the effort to recognize women in their various roles in society on regular days as well? How do mothers as women, contribute and make a difference in the lives of their children?
We are sometimes made to believe that mothers are ‘required’ to make sacrifices, in order to be effective. Is it necessary to sacrifice being a friend or sacrifice working, to be a mother? I believe that mothers today can be whoever they want, do whatever they want and whenever they want. Mothers today are breaking barriers and reaching new heights in their quest to fulfil the dreams and ambitions they have. This is what I would celebrate on women’s day and every day.
To me and numerous others, women’s day, mother’s day, children’s day etc is every day. Upon hearing this, one might think it sounds cliché.... which it is; but nevertheless, true. This is something I strive to ensure my children keep in mind, and will continue to do so growing up. Children view their mothers as role models and base their perception of women on them. They imitate every action they see around them which also includes the treatment of how individuals (in this post, women) should be treated; whether in their home or outside.
I came across a video on Facebook today by Vaya India, where men were asked to describe the favourite woman in their life in one word. The following were the words used – strong, beautiful, sexy, smart, charming, caring, daring, independent, inspiring, soft, strict, bold, funny, fantastic, cool, warm, perfect, and great. Many of these words are what I want my children, especially my son, to always remember. Strong, daring, independent, inspiring, bold, are some of these words and are seldom used in the context of women.
How we portray women to our children is of utmost significance in today’s profoundly changed world; a world where no one and nothing is sacred. Yes, on one hand, this is something that fathers should ideally focus on drilling into their sons heads. However as mothers, it is as much our responsibility to teach our sons that women are empowered individuals, who are not considered as being the ‘backbone to a man’s success’ but successful themselves. It is our duty to teach our sons that their sisters, girl friends in school and future wives are equal and capable individuals, whose boundaries are to be respected, and who in return will respect them. A father leading by example is of course the best starting point. I recently heard a 3 year old tell his mother that a girl in his class was playing with a cricket bat and ball and was that not meant only for boys? I don’t think there is any age that is considered ‘too young’ to start imbibing these values.
So in light of all the women’s day greetings and posts all over social media, the one thing I want to say to all the mothers out there is this – “Mothers are kickass, strong and selfless women who inspire others to be better human beings every day. Extending this inspiration and motivation to our children means raising our daughters to be them (strong women), raising our sons to know them and for us as mothers to always be them.
Evolution is a way of life. It is defined as the gradual development of something....anything. I apply it to everything in my life, be it relationships with my loved ones and friends, work, or me as a person. Evolution is a natural process.
Motherhood is a learning process, and is one that mothers embrace over time. It is rare to find women who immediately ‘fit’ into the role of a mother the minute her child is born, especially without any guidance and support. It is a milestone where women go from being a daughter, sister, wife etc to a mother, a role which has been put on a pedestal by people for generations. The evolution required by a woman to fit the role of a mother is phenomenal, and moreover is required to evolve with the times. Can we survive motherhood today, in the 21st century, with the guidance and support from mothers from previous generations? Is modern parenting still possible?
‘Millennial mothers’ are raising their kids in the age of the digital media and they don’t know a world without it. Our parents would call them ‘kids these days’ and would define millennial mothers as those who stare at their iPhone screens more than they do at their child. I would agree with this to a certain extent. But how do we define this changing face of motherhood and how do we differentiate millennial mothers from our more primitive allies? The average age of a first-time mother now is more than in previous generations. So is age a factor and an important feature of a millennial mother?
As a first-time and new mother, Google was often an angel and a devil in my life; it used to be my bible. From questions on how to put on a diaper for my child, to how long he should be sleeping at different ages, Google was permanently open on my laptop and bombarded with questions. After a point, I would not even remember to check which website I was clicking on, as long as the information I needed was at my fingertips. Did I think about asking my older and more seasoned family members first? Of course, but as a second thought. My main concern was whether or not they would be aware of all the new information out there and modern techniques, to be able to find the most effective solutions. I would have rather been influenced by other millennial mothers. At that particular point in time, ‘experience is the best teacher’ was something that did not exist in my mind. It took me some time to realise that what you read, is not always what is best or even necessarily true; a harsh reality that my child’s paediatrician pointed out to me after some very unnecessary ramblings. I am a millennial mother.
‘Any healthy food’ for children, is no longer sufficient for mothers today. Neither is ‘clothes that fit’. Local & international brands have evolved over time – clothes, makeup, food, electronics, furniture and more. Every corner we turn, we see various brands showcasing themselves and can practically see desire being created on the spot within people. We see often that the price of a certain product is no obstacle for people, especially mothers, who are brand conscious and believe that a certain brand is better than another for their child. Our mothers raised us in a world where food was food, clothes were clothes and diapers were diapers. It didn’t matter what brand they were. My favourite brand of clothes for my child is Carter’s. I am a millennial mother.
Apart from a woman’s role as a mother being made more comfortable with help from the millennial father, having a full-time babysitter at home is a way of life. This does not mean you are employing the babysitter as a substitute in your place to parent your child, but to be an additional caretaker who can give the mother some space to do be someone else for a while. If I had asked my mother when she was raising me, what the word ‘space’ or ‘full-time help’ meant, she would probably have not been able to give me a straight answer. Babysitters are given work which mothers in previous generations would have never thought of NOT doing themselves. My child has a healthy and comfortable attachment to his babysitter, who is like family to us. I am a millennial mother.
I have never wanted to let motherhood consume me 100%; and I never have. Even though as a mother by definition, we never have a ‘punch-in’ and ‘punch-out’ clock, there is something known as ‘me-time’. I need ‘me-time’ every day to be an effective mother and this is something that is encouraged by my family (husband, mom-in-law, mom etc). I am not sure what mom-in-laws in previous generations would have to say about this. I am a millennial mother.
Finally, moving onto the decades of discussions on working mothers and their journey through motherhood, the desire and ambitions of millennial mothers to be a part of the working class are more powerful now than in previous generations. Reasons may vary; wanting to be a tycoon in the corporate world, have an outlet and something else to focus on for a part of the day other than being a mother, or just to pass time. But the willpower and determination that millennial mothers exhibit to accomplish their dreams, is unlike any of the previous generations.
Are we all millennial mothers today?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We have all learned Newton’s Laws of Motion at one point or the other during our education and applied it mainly to Physics. I have however tried to apply this to all areas of my life, unrelated to Physics. Commonly, when people have problems in life and feel powerless to solve them, this third law of motion is utilized to try and improve the situation.
I have learned from my own experiences that when you direct positive words, actions and energy (‘positive energy’) at someone, the same positive energy gets thrown back at you. The quality of your thoughts controls your actions. If you have a negative mindset, your actions immediately start to follow suit, and thereby the energy directed at the people surrounding you becomes tainted with negativity.
Try and think about how this applies to mothers. We all begin our journey of motherhood with the intent to be calm, level-headed, fair and happy mothers; not only for our own sanity, but for the main purpose of setting a good example for our children. Do we all become OUR mothers? No, because as we evolve through life, we learn to judge right from wrong and make our own decisions on what to teach our children, however keeping in mind how our parents raised us. We most definitely learned from them every step of the way. As adolescents, we watched them closely and mimicked their words and actions every minute of every day. Everything positive and negative would have been picked up and ultimately embedded into our subconscious, waiting to thrust through the surface at some point in the future.
We want our children to be healthy, happy and free. Simple as that. For them to be so, their mothers need to be healthy, happy and free individuals. No one can deny that every family has its own set of problems and setbacks; however I have always been a firm believer of people being responsible for their own lives and the direction it takes. Similarly, I truly believe that mothers are responsible for the energy that is received by their children and we all want to nudge positive energy in their direction. If we are able to do that, based on Newton’s law of motion, this energy will bounce right back to us.
I have briefly mentioned in a previous post that articles all over the internet, preach to us that shouting at our children when they are throwing a tantrum about something, will only bring out the worst in them. So the best solution and RIGHT way is to let them calm down before having a rational conversation, and not shout back. This may be true, but easier to accomplish in theory than in practical life. Whether we are able to control ourselves and follow this piece of advice, or we are unable to control ourselves all the time resulting in heated and mean words being thrown at our children, the respective energy is absorbed by them. If we shout back, the negative energy is absorbed and emerges in the form of tantrums, lashing out and days of crankiness. We wonder why the shouting does not keep them in line and make them behave. I am not going to bring anger management techniques into the picture as there are already millions of websites with this information. Maybe we have our answer here....the law of cause and effect. If we are in a difficult situation with our children, the burden is on us to find a way to attract the kind of energy we want to reflect onto them, enabling them to make use of it and send it right back to us mothers.
I have often sat brooding after a ‘non-desirable’ session with my son, over the consequences that would result from the shouting which had just ensued. Practice makes perfect; so I have been training myself to nab the anger which often rises when your child is throwing a tantrum. Sometimes mumbling “calm yourself” to myself helps too. Would he repeat everything I said to his teachers in school? Would he think that this is the way that people are supposed to manage and solve problems.....by shouting at each other? Would this behaviour manifest in him and follow him for the rest of his life? Most of all, did I scar him in any way?
It is okay to shout back at your child sometimes. It should not be something that other mothers criticize, seeing a mother go through this. Often, on the street, in a restaurant, or even in school, we would have all seen a mother in a tough situation with her child, and others around her whispering, and for a lack of another word, ‘judging’. It happens in movies and in reality too! Isn’t this something that all mothers resonate with?
Making ourselves aware of the effect of this on our children, can help us be a little more pro-active in trying to send out positive energy instead of negative. We need to fill our minds with the kinds of thoughts we would want our children to be thinking 24/7; thoughts that can enable us to be a better version of ourselves, and be spectacular mothers. It’s a vicious circle, so at the end of the day, practice makes perfect!
I was out with a few friends for dinner a few nights ago; 3 of us being mothers. Once we had silently shovelled enough food into our systems, we took a break and started discussing whether or not a holiday in the near future seemed like a possibility. When the spotlight rested on me the question became would I be able to take a few days off from my soon-to-arrive baby bundle? My answer was yes; since I was planning to solely formula-feed, it would be no problem. So my friend turned to me as some of my other friends also have in the past, and said “you are probably the most chilled out pregnant person and mother I know.” I laughed and told her that if she were to see me at home and ‘behind closed doors’, she would probably have a very different opinion! But her statement got me thinking about how all mothers handle motherhood uniquely – both at home and when out.
We have many sides to our personality. I am talking about the roles we all play as women – daughter, sister, wife, mother etc, and about the various emotions we experience and are able to manage and maintain. I know that being a Gemini, I can easily turn my different ‘faces’ on and off! My family has always joked about how diplomatic I am, and that I can be one person one second and a completely different person the next. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes bad. Jokes apart, the various roles we play in our daily lives lead us to experience a range of emotions which we, over time, learn to turn on and off as the situation demands, and also depending on whether we are in our own space at home, or outside.
As a mother, you experience so many emotions that you previously didn’t realise existed! You also feel a mix of various emotions, and you have no clue which one to deal with first. How do you separate and deal with them? As an adolescent I was told that I used to bottle my feelings and not talk about them, and that this was unhealthy. At that point in time being young and stubborn, I never understood what those words meant….until I became a mother. I realised that opening up and talking to my mom friends about what I was feeling and experiencing behind closed doors, helped me not only handle the situation at hand well, but also emotionally be more stable and a better mother to my child. No mother enjoys only hallmark moments at home; that is not how motherhood works. The effects of not having dealt with the challenging situation at hand, eventually seeps into other aspects of life. We end up channelling our irritation and negativity onto our loved ones, through no fault of theirs.
What we don’t realise most of the time, is that our sponge-like children are watching and soaking up every word we speak and every move we make. There are times when one second I have been dealing with a situation at home with my child, and the next second I am in the car with my friends going out for lunch; situation unresolved. My happy face is on with great difficulty, but subconsciously the irritation and anger still linger. I have always wondered to myself – is this healthy for me as a mother and for my child who had no idea what just happened and was left without any resolution or compromise?
What kind of example are we setting for our kids? Are we subtly teaching them that it is acceptable NOT to deal with the emotions they are feeling and that they will disappear on their own if left unexamined? We may not be doing this knowingly. A controversial topic which is still a hot topic for discussion is whether or not boys should be allowed to cry. There were a series of ads released by Vogue (VogueEmpower) on this very topic. I have recently learnt to control myself when I realise I am starting to tell my son to stop crying. Telling him that sets a precedent that it is not ok for him to express himself and it is better to keep all the pain and frustration inside. Something to think about.
Social media, especially Facebook and Instagram have become a source for people to portray what their lives are like. It has become a necessity these days for many, to make a point and show the world that they are happy, problem-less, everything-figured-out -24/7 kind of people. By people in this particular article, I mean mothers. But is that an accurate portrayal, or are they mothers who face challenge upon challenge behind closed doors, but to the outside world they seem invincible?
When you start telling yourself that something is true because you desire it, when it actually isn’t, it is just a matter of time before it becomes a fixed truth in your mind. If you keep wishing away a problem, keep telling yourself it will disappear on its' own, and go about your day, that more often than not will not work in your favor. Handling infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, teenagers etc, all have their share of difficulties. I think it is unreal for mothers not to be up against any walls at home when raising a child. But you need to be able to accept that these walls are there and find ways to break them down without trying to create small holes and crawl through them.
To all my fellow moms out there, we all want motherhood to be a fairy tale and sometimes we do whatever it takes to get as close to one as possible. I know I do. But somewhere we need to draw a line between fantasy and reality, not caring about how others see us as mothers, and handle motherhood the way it should be handled – with lots of LOVE, COFFEE & WINE!!!
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this!
The 30s are the new 20s. We all remind ourselves of this when we see our 30th birthday fast approaching; except maybe for the ones in denial. We hear many 20-somethings say “The relationship I am in now is just a fling; I have my 30s to find someone and settle down”, “It’s okay that I don’t know what I want to do career-wise; I will figure something out by the time I turn 30”, or “What have I accomplished in my 20’s? I have nothing to show for it.” Different strokes for different folks.
I never had my path laid out for me and I never knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. My parents always made sure I knew that they would support my choices and they gave me the space to make those choices myself. Once I completed by undergrad in Indiana and spent a year in New York ‘soul-searching’, I then moved back to India when I was 24. I didn’t know if I wanted to start working and try to become the CEO of some company, work with my dad in the family business and eventually take over, travel the world, or get married and have babies. There are those who know step by step what they were born to do and they waste no time in following their plan. So I started working, hoping that this would pave out at least the short term future for me and add some certainty to my life. I am one of the lucky ones who met her future husband a few months after moving back home. After 5 years of being married, we had our first child when I was 31 and my husband was 35, turning 36.
Different women are ready to embrace motherhood at different points in their lives. Some are ready when they are 21 and some at 35, for various reasons. The 20s are a good time to start thinking seriously about what you want and for many that includes planning motherhood. This also doesn’t mean that sometimes things don’t change along the way and you are forced to take a different path. The things that you may have wanted to accomplish in your 20s are pushed to your 30s. So what are some of the factors which lead women to prefer becoming a mother in their 20s/30s, and does everyone feel the same way? Some of my mom friends have been kind enough to contribute quotes based on their personal experiences as well.
1. Career ambitions & independence
“I know that I am done having kids and that I am only going to get more and more free time as they get older. I can start a career and not have to worry about taking a break from it to raise a newborn.”
Many married & un-married women today want to ensure and establish their independence in their 20s before anything else, so taking their careers to a certain level is of utmost priority. This is not only in the ‘developed’ countries where women have always been on par with men, worked their whole lives and made their own money regardless of their husbands. There are women who want to do one or the other, not both, since establishing a career takes dedication, time and hard work. Once they are satisfied that they have achieved what they set out to do, then comes the option of exploring the next step. Gone are the days when only the husband is ‘supposed to’ support the family. Now both the husband and wife are content. From the 30s angle, there are women who want to finish having babies when they are in their 20s so that they have time later to establish their career without interruption. I started working in my 20s, got married and had a baby in my early 30s. My career is not fully established; I am still in the process of doing so, pregnant with my second child. So again – different strokes for different folks, revealing that nothing is written in stone.
2. Emotional & mental readiness
“I had my baby when I was 28 and I think it was just the right time. I am glad we travelled and spent a lot of time with each other before we had someone else joining us and becoming a part of our everyday lives. I also feel it makes it easier to divide responsibilities because we both know who is good at what and we are happy to perform our roles as parents.”
“You have more mental and physical energy to raise a kid in your 20s. You aren’t as afraid of trying new and interesting activities and methods to raise them as there is no set benchmark.”
“In your 20s, you are not as fixed in your parenting thought pattern.”
"I had my kids in my 30s and it was a good fit for me. In my 20s, I didn't know who I was and I think it would have been hard to become responsible for someone else's life, when you are still figuring out your own. When I didn't have kids, I thought parenting would be a breeze. Now I know the truth from experience..everyday is hard and challengung and you need to be mature to be able to manage those challenges. I am glad I waited till my 30s to have kids"
How mature are we (women) in our 20s? I know that in my 20s before getting married, I went to work and then at night my sole aim was to make plans with friends and go out – somewhere...anywhere. Moreover, once I got married, I wanted time alone with my husband for a few years to explore and live life together, without a third person depending on us for their every need.
There are women who get married young and in their early 20s, who have babies soon after as a ‘custom’ and ‘expectation’ in their families. But are they mentally ready for their lives to change? Are they able to take care of themselves, let alone take care of a tiny human? Many times, these young moms also do not have a benchmark to compare their motherhood experience to nor do they have a sea of information to arm themselves with. On the other hand, the younger we are, the more open we are to trying new things and listening to opinions and suggestions. From the 30s angle, women have benchmarks and stories from friends who have already had babies on what to expect. Confidence is in abundance and the world is their oyster.
Is the emotional & mental maturity needed to take care of a child equal in both our 20s and 30s? Often when it comes to the readiness of men, we say “he may not be 100% ready today to become a father, but as soon as the baby is born, he will be ready.” How many people believe that this maturity can appear overnight and can it be applied to women as well?
3. Fitness & fertility
“The main benefit (and a big one at that) of having my kids before I turned 30, was that I was physically strong and able to have healthy, easy pregnancies and deliveries, and was able to get my shape back relatively quickly.”
“The biggest question in my mind was – do I want to be active, run around with my kids, be a young energetic mom, or will I not be as energetic if I have a baby later on in life?”
The age at which women are most physically fit to have a baby, is a discussion that has dominated social gatherings. There are two aspects to this – one is being physically fit to be able to run around after your child without having to rest every 10 minutes, and the other is medical fitness. Yes, it is believed that women are at their agile peak in their 20s.Therefore some women look at it this way – they would rather give birth as ‘young 20-something moms’ with enough energy to be active with their kids, rather than ‘older 36 year old moms’, who are over 40 when their kids become Toddlers.
People quote studies and research done on this as proof of what age is best. Popular medical research states that the 20s are your more ‘fertile’ and are the most ideal to have kids, with minimal medical problems that can creep up. Many factors dominate medical fitness in your 20s, one of the main factors being lifestyle. Often we are told to believe that unhealthy eating, alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of sleep, stress etc are the biggest vices and affect the body negatively, even leading to infertility. There are tests which doctors recommend women in their late 20s/early 30s should do to ensure that the body is working right. Having said that, you can be the biggest protestor against alcohol and smoking but still face challenges in getting pregnant at the time you planned, in your 20s.
There are women who are unable to conceive in their 20s for many years and then finally do. You find that for them, conception the second time around may happen in a jiffy! The human body is strange that way.
This article is not meant to be a final consensus on whether the 20s or 30s are more motherhood friendly, but to provoke mothers into sharing and discussing what did and didn’t work for them.
I would love to hear from you!
Hi! I'm Antara and I was once a 'let's get the party started, consume a bottle of Rose Champagne on the weekend' kind of girl. Now at 33 and a mom of a teddy bear looking 2 year old boy (with another little bundle on the way), I am still that 'let's get the party started, consume a bottle of Rose Champagne on the weekend kind of girl.'