“NO COUNTRY FOR MOTHERS!”- That’s what I shall call my movie if I ever make one!
Theoretically we attach the female connotation to everything great- country (Mother India), Nature (Mother Nature), Ships (all ships are named females). Even typhoons are females!!!
But when one female who is a mother ventures out to have a life, it seems to be the most taboo thing ever!
As it is maternity was never welcome in the corporate world, if you decide to be a stay-at-home mom it is assumed that your only existence is about you nurturing the baby.
The way society has stereotyped mindsets about moms in general is abominable. And I realized this during my recent search for dance classes for myself.
As a mom of a school going kid, I now had some extra free time to take up my two passions more seriously- writing and dancing. Writing, in the form of this blog and another blog on science called SCIENCEOP, was being managed from the comfort of my home. And like for all things you do from the heart and have real passion for- I got an amazing response for the quality of the blogs. (Thank you very much for that readers!!)
But when I ventured out to follow my second passion I reached a dead end. In a city of almost 10 million, I didn’t find a single decent dance class in the morning- the glorious time when kids go to school and moms are relatively free.
Let me retell the drama that happened over a small wish of mine:
The first school I went to ended his introductory lecture saying , “Why don’t you get your kid for a demo class first Ma’am?”. I explained to him that the query was for me and that I wanted to enroll and even explained as to why I was looking for a morning class. His face went blank and he said “Classes only in evening Ma’am.”
Moral of the story: No classes for moms, Ma’am!
Realizing from my mistake at the first academy the minute I entered the second dance school I explained that the query was for me and that I wanted a morning class coz that was my free time.
Dance instructor (DI): “Yes Ma’am. Dance classes in morning are there…on Sunday.”
ME: “No sir. Sunday wont work as my daughter is at home.”
DI: “How old is your daughter?”
ME: “Almost 4.”
DI: “Oh great! We have classes for 3 years plus age. She can come with you.”
ME: “But I want to do this alone. Not with her. “
DI :(with typical look of “you horrible mom!!”) “Why do you not want your kid to learn dance?”
Me: (picking up my car keys realizing no explanation was required): Kuch kuch hota hai sir. Aap nahi samjhoge!
Moral of the story: If you do something only for yourself with your kid not involved- HORRIBLE HORRIBLE MOM!
Since my passion was bigger than the pain, I had the heart to go to a third school.
After the introductory over-the-top courteous pleasantries, the fake smile pasted on the instructor’s face vanished the moment I said that it was I who wanted to learn and was looking for a morning class because that was when I had time free from my kid.
“Sorry. No morning classes.”
Me: (frustrated) “So where do moms wanting to dance when their kids go to school go?”
He smirked and said, “Ma’am if you want to do something in the morning, why don’t you join a gym.”
Moral of the story: As a mom, not only are you not entitled to a perusal of a passion at your convenience, you are also fat!
I had had it by then! I just called up the nearest Zumba class and fixed an 11-12 noon slot. I figured this is the closest I could get to dance.
As for my love for choreography and dance, I do that at home the minute my daughter leaves for school (both literally and figuratively!). And then go for Zumba.
Being the logical thinking Indian that I am I just couldn’t get the “insults” out of my head. I called up one of my friends who was learning dance at a reputed school and was a senior instructor too. I told her my whole ordeal and asked why the situation was such. She said something casually but I believe that one line summed up the root cause underlying the whole circus I went through.
She said, “Oh it’s just that we don’t get enough queries from moms.”
She had hit bull’s eye. The problem is that we don’t go out to follow our own passion in the first place. Then why would anyone help us?
As a social experiment, I went on to enquire about cooking classes and parenting classes. And these were thriving with morning slots with everyone showing their support and understanding that this was the time most moms were free!
That’s the whole problem. We ourselves are slaves to “Expected tasks of moms” like cooking or parenting. As long as a mom wants to cook and learn about rearing little ones, its done, its supported and even appreciated. But the minute a mom ventures out to do an out rightly “non-mom” task like dancing- she faces a roadblock.
But why would anyone think of a morning class when no mom is asking for it? When they are not getting repeated calls from eager mothers who wish to learn dance, why would it even occur to these instructor? If they got even 10 calls a month categorically stating that as moms we have only a few hours in the morning to ourselves, but equally binding is our passion to learn dance…so please have a morning class…..believe me these academies will start a morning class. Who will forego a good chance of business?
But when we ourselves are not asserting our passions (especially the ones in the totally “non-mom” category) no one will come running to make us happy.
Who wants you to be a “good” mom? Society, your own mom, your mother in law?
But what your baby really wants is a happy mom. That’s automatically a good mom for him.
Looking back a child doesn’t remember if her mom made perfect pancakes or not, all they remember is all the times they had a good laugh and the happy memories.
And these can happen only if you are a happy mom. He might never know that it was because his mom took out an hour to dance everyday. He would just remember that you smiled a lot!