Sunday, 12 February 2012

THE GOOD MOTHER


I have been a mother to a handsome smart boy for over eight years now and became a mother all over again some two years ago to another bundle of joy, my second son. All along I thought I was doing a great job of being a mother but then doubts have begun to assail me because of all the criticism and suggestions that seem to flow freely from all around. So, the thought what entails being a good mother, has been troubling me for a while. What was it that I was not doing? Criticism though well-meaning and well placed can be very hurting and brings about loads of self doubt.

Does every action that you take as a parent warrant close scrutiny? Well that’s what all the parenting guides and information on the net will have you believe. If they are to be blindly trusted you have to be a supermom who just like Superman flies about doing 1000 things at one time, has X-ray vision to see through all, has looks to die for and above all has the time to romance the love of her life. Well, that’s a tall order by anyone’s standards. Either I will have to employ a whole battery of people to help me or just fall apart.

Will I have to be from the planet Krypton to prove that I am a good mother? Well the fact is I never aspired to be a supermom…but the flip side of the coin is that I am one of those mothers and individuals who wants to be the one who can pack it all in. And that maybe is why I suffer from guilt time to time.

In real life, moms get stressed and lose patience. Sometimes, we yell (a lot). But one of the things that most people and experts forget to mention [and I’ve experienced it] is that children are very resilient. And like I read somewhere, “they know that when you act in love that you’re acting on their behalf.”

Mothers are sensitive and comments like “your child is a little thin, isn’t he?” and the fact that you are not teaching them something or the other almost every minute of the day and spending quality time with your children every single minute can lead to some very anxious moments. But even knowing that it is not easy to let hurtful and snide comments slide by and not feel guilty, I have begun to realise that it is best to do exactly that!

However, like an article on the net mentions, doing what you believe is best for your children and your family, makes you a good mother, no matter whether it fits into anyone else’s standard or not. There will always be decisions you make that others will be able to find fault with. I am sure most people know how that feels.

Then what is it really that I as a mom have to do to be a good mother?

Aside from keeping them physically comfortable, I believe what is of the essence is to see the love and sparkle in my children’s eyes. For me, the hugs they give me, the laughter they share with me, the trust they repose in me, says it all. When they want to sleep in my arms and want me to wipe away their tears and when they call out to me when they have slipped and fallen at play and are hurting is what the bond between a mother and her children is all about.

Deborah Linggi, a communications consultant from San Diego and mother of a 5-year-old son, says that slowing down the day-to-day juggling and negative self-talk lets her be in the moment with her son. That’s when the self-doubt fades and it becomes easy to tune in to what really matters. “We laugh and I look into his eyes and I see the sparkle, and he gives me a hug and I know he loves me. I feel that this is a solid, loving, [and] bonded, mother-child relationship and it feels good.”

At the end of it all we mothers need to dig in our heels and remember that our commitment needs to be only and only with our children. As mothers we have to be comfortable with the decisions we have made for our children, learn from our mistakes and children (for there is a lot they can teach us about ourselves and our values) and be aware of the fact that the only one we have to answer to is our children, later in life.

2 comments:

  1. Nirja dear,
    Good to see your creative juices flowing again. And as usual, you have picked a topic which a lot of us humans need to worry about as there is no childcare manual or a parent help-page given to us, or so we think!
    If one looks at things as they are, one realises that He who created us all, also gave us all that we need to go through life, such is His grace and compassion. Even before a child is born, He prepares for the child’s advent into the world by creating milk in the child’s mother! In our early years, when we are helpless, He causes our parents to look after our needs of hygiene and feeding and moving from one place to another. And in old age, when we are once again infirm and unable to do much on our own, He motivates our children, now grown to maturity, or some other humans, to look after us!
    So, did He forget to equip His most favourite creation with the wherewithal to rear their future generations? Where is this manual or help-page I hinted at above? Animal parents never go wrong in upbringing their young ones because they are guided by instinct which is naturally inborn in them; they cannot go against this infallible guidance even if they wanted to. Humans, on the other hand have been given discretion, the freedom of choice.
    The Compassionate One has also given us such a guide, a guide that never, ever goes wrong. But, He has also given us freedom to either listen to that little inner voice or to ignore it! Why? Well that’s a whole other story which I’ll tell you by and by.
    But, I feel, we need to learn to listen to our intuition once again and we will never ever go wrong. The first thought that comes to our mind in any situation is the right one, the remaining are the result of our logical, reasoning minds, which, I am afraid are best ignored as someone has said, “we are condemned by reason not to understand reality”. Logic and reason are of the conditioned mind; intuition, on the other hand is His pure guidance.
    Also, as you have rightly concluded, whatever you do can be found fault with, so be attentive to that little voice and let the rest be, you will be much happier.
    One other thing before I end, do not worry that your children don’t listen to you, worry that they see you”. You want your child to do something, first set the example by doing it yourself. Remember, humans learn mostly through imitation!
    I leave you with the following little composition of anonymous origin, I found on the internet:
    My promise to my children – as long as
    I live – I am your Parent 1st, your Friend
    2nd. I will stalk you, flip out on you,
    Lecture you, drive you insane, be your
    Worst nightmare and hunt you down like a
    Bloodhound when needed because I
    LOVE YOU! When you understand that,
    I will know you are a responsible adult.
    You will NEVER find someone who
    Loves, prays, cares and worries about you
    More than I do! If you don’t hate me
    Once in your life – I am not doing my job properly.

    Love – Aunt Agony.

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  2. I often tell my children, "Small or grown-up, doesn't matter, you can't take away my right as a parent to worry about you.. because I love you ." and it's OK..because children too worry about parents..they may however, be less vocal..and it is normal for a mother to feel guilty because she will always feel having done less for her children.as long as - like respected Agony says - you are doing your best it's alright..

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