We love winning. Awards and prizes. Accolades and acclamation.
Bollywood awards, Oscars, Guild awards etc spend millions on award functions. So it must be very important, right?
Alas! The irony! The one act that should get highest honor and awards is the least acclaimed- Motherhood.
Professional achievements are tangible, hence awarded. Bringing up a child doesn’t have a ranking system. Hence difficult to assess.
It also doesn’t make up a good Fb status- “ Baby did potty in her seat today!!” certainly has less takers than “ Promoted to vice-president, Sales!!”
Though, if you ask me in my present state of mind, potty training is far more important and far more difficult and labor intensive than all promotions put together!
Imagine if you do become VP, Sales but were not potty trained by your mom!! I don’t think your office people are gonna like you much!
We have a lot to thank our mothers and parents for. A lot more than we can imagine!
Then why is motherhood not being celebrated hysterically? Why is it not getting the accolades it truly deserves? We write poems and make movies about the power of motherhood but we don’t implement or believe it in our daily life!
And that the mommy tantrum #5 and 6 that I am going to discuss today
(In case you have just started following my blog, I have made a list of 10 mommy tantrums ie top 10 things we worry about most and am discussing two tantrums in each article. For tantrum 1and 2 plus 3and 4 please refer to the last two posts)
Tantrum 5: “Feeling of no-achievement even after a long strenuous day”
Tantrum 6: “Not getting enough appreciation from family members”
Though many of you might think that these issues crop up mostly in stay-at-home mommies only however its alarmingly true even for working mothers. The feeling of a vacuum exists there too.
But the real question is still the same
“Why are mommies not appreciated and celebrated the way they should be?”
I cant help but get a bit philosophical in this post as we are talking of very non-tangible things like appreciation, support and love here.
So let me take you to an amazing book that I lost my philosophical virginity to. It just got me thinking on a very different tangent about life in general- “Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield.
Though I read it almost 2 decades back, I remember the one thing that helped me mould my life philosophy to what it is today.
Out of the many spiritual awakening parts of the book the one that really caught my attention at the tender age of 14 was the concept the author introduced saying that we are in this world for a purpose. In today’s modern society, this whole uneasy feeling we all experience at some part of our life that makes us ask the eternal unanswered question “what is our purpose on earth” arises due to the fact that our destined purpose was something else and we are on some other path. That’s why this incoherence is there in our spirit.
The book further goes on to discuss that the human race was meant to follow a path of self-exploration, spirituality (I stress on spirituality assuming that you all know that is way too different from being religious) and awakening. However, with the evolution of society we had some extra time to ourselves which we started devoting to skill development like growing food for ourselves or spinning clothes to wear. Unfortunately slowly these small “hobbies” that were started to fulfill our basic needs took over our time of finding our real purpose. And today these hobbies have evolved into our so-called jobs that have become the centre of who we are.
Our identity is synonymous to the job we do, the post we are at and the pay check we get. If somebody asks you “What does your husband do?” our immediate response is to detail out his work profile “He is an engineer in the navy”. But is that who he is? Has this given any information about the wonderful person that he is?
Even when working mothers are asked what they do I am sure that they talk about where they work and what they do at work. That’s what I used to do too. If somebody asked I replied saying, “oh I run a small biotech firm.” And I would get great appreciation and wide-eyed bewilderment at my “achievements”. In my defense actually if I had answered that question by saying “I am currently training my child to graduate from the bottle to the sippy cup” I would have just got the visiting card of a nearby psychiatrist!!
But isn’t this sad? That we have been totally conditioned by society to completely ignore the most important job?
I am not saying that mothers shouldn’t work. In my post debating stay-at-home Vs working moms I spoke a lot in detail that one should completely do what they love. And what gives them long term happiness.
I am saying that we are so conditioned by society that we ourselves feel that we don’t deserve to be appreciated for raising a kid. When we don’t feel we deserve appreciation, nobody else will.
When we are adult enough to get married and have kids, why are we not adult enough to decide how to raise them? Questioning a mom’s choices – be it working or being at home- I feel is the biggest insult to her. She knows what is best for her and the baby. She has to look into the interest of both her and her baby and come up with a suitable plan that makes both happy. Why belittle her decision with our judgmental attitude?
But ladies, let me also warn you about where we are going wrong. We are allowing the society to believe that child rearing is actually “oh-so-shameful”. We don’t talk enough about the hardships, the achievements, the importance and the pride of mothering. We ourselves deep down somewhere feel that we are doing ourselves a disservice by being mothers. That it’s eating into our precious time and that its stopping or halting a career graph that our contemporary men have the liberty to focus on.
I banish such feminism where we are made to feel “less” because we care about our kids. If we wish to leave office early on the day our kid is not well our boss smirks at “women” employees and their related complications. The day we decide to work till 9pm since our kid is in good hands at home, our family smirks at “working moms” and their related complications.
But do you think people will be giving you this shit if you didn’t allow them to?
We are guilty of not raising enough awareness about mothering in today’s society and that’s why slowly its loosing its shine. Just like a gutsy Ms Gandhi ran the London marathon without a tampon and achieved her goal of getting people to talk about menstruation (good or bad, they were at least talking about it), each of us as moms should be ambassadors of motherhood.
So start basking in this great job you have been given. I am not saying to make it your sole purpose of existence. But be proud of the fact that your kid is your priority and raising your kid is something you like doing.
Then these two tantrums- no appreciation and feeling of no achievement- will both vanish in one stroke.
When you truly believe that you are doing the most important job as far as Nature and evolution and YOU are concerned- there is no feeling of no-achievement at the end of the day.
And if you talk with open-eyed excitement about this great journey and how you were blessed to be chosen to undertake it- there is no way your family will not appreciate what you do.
So as far as these two tantrums are concerned the key is in your mind and in your own thinking. There is nobody else who can help you and once you start thinking positively about your mothering style and choices nobody else will bother to comment on it.
Whatever decisions you make- be proud of the fact that it’s keeping you and your kid as priority.
If you really wish to empower yourself have the mental capacity to think, make and stick to your decision- that’s what feminism is all about.
And then you shall be a proud female, an enlightened human being and a happy mother.
(Featured image courtesy: Mermaid Swimming with a Child, Amelia Bauerle )