Our moms all fondly recollect how their life changed once they gave birth to us. Only after we become mothers ourselves, the pearls of wisdom seem to catapult in the same direction. It’s because we grasp the realities of life once we beget and raise children. What mothers talk about sound rather hackneyed. Sadly until we experience the apprehensions ourselves, we don’t realize the gravity of what they were trying to teach us. And if we were good at realizing the seriousness of the proverbs and anecdotes, we would never confront similar situations in the first place!
I imagine what women my age would like to advise their children when they are grown up and married. It won’t be easy to articulate the hard-learned lessons in a nutshell. Because it won’t be easy to recall the situations and the involuntary reflexes of defense that will take over all the preening, squinting attention of men at college and a little bit of narcissism that used to dwell in us.
The post-motherhood period is not simply about the bodily changes, depriving yourself of sleep or missing out on unplanned vacations. It’s more about being constantly concerned about your offspring (to say ‘overly-concerned’ won’t be bad at all), about bringing security in their lives (regarding moral, emotional or financial security) and a perennial mentorship. It’s also about forbearance, an implicit servitude (you are always doing things for children even when not asked for), and immense sacrifice.
So, been there, done that. But your apprehensions will linger. Be it a son or a daughter, your mind will be worry about some wicked pervert around them. Are your kids discerning enough? Or are they too good to be the yielding type? Are they smart enough to pull themselves out of a perilous situation? And if someone turns around blaming your children, it will take all your energies in advocating for them.
Your visage will be at work. But your heart and soul will be with your children. “Will their nanny prove good enough? Are the kids missing me? Are they in safe hands after all?”
You will be sandwiched between the toddler demands and the social norms. Imagine your three-year-old commanding you to breastfeed the younger one when he is hungry in a gathering! Or run up to you with a poop-story describing how he suspects that the little one is gassy. And all this when you are playing the gracious hostess at a dinner party.
Their homework will be your homework. Their exams will be yours. And so will their success or failure. When they come home with laurels, you will be more elated than them. But in failure you will be more dejected.
When they learn to ride the bike, the accomplishment will be yours. When they manage to leap over the hurdles, you will want to be there to say, “I knew you’d make it!”
You will yearn to watch the twinkle of their eyes – by making them smile. You will want to hear the belly laughter with a tickle. You will want to hear the shrill exclamations every time you give them a surprise. You will want to see them happy at all times so much so that their happiness becomes the motto of your life.
And in between there will be resolving sibling rivalry. There will be worries over that bruise after a bad fall. Or that recurring flu that kept you awake all night.
You will be yelling one moment for their inability to locate their belongings. The next moment you would be the darling mommy bribing them with the favorite savories to be good. And in your heart you will fret over how disorganized they are and if they will learn anything at all before they are independent.
The worrier mother won’t stop here. She will be nearly prying into the affairs that sound too personal to their offspring well into adulthood now. “Is he/she hanging out with the right partner? Are the career choices that he/she is making good for him/her? Is he/she planning the finances wisely? Are they investing in property? When are they planning to have children? What are they going to name my grandchildren? ………” It will taper down to, “Why did mommy yell at my grandchild? Why didn’t the little ones not snuggle into my bed tonight? Why weren’t they given their share of ice-cream this evening?” And it will come a full circle till you have grandchildren are guarded with ultra-heightened concerns equating to nit-picking their parents.
Seriously. Your life belonged solely to you. But that was before you started a family of your own. You gave up most of you long ago – into rearing a wonderful family.
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