“Are you starting work already?” This is probably one of the most common taunts, remarks, criticism, call it what you may, that Indian mothers receive. I am unsure whether it is a stereotype or simply the patriarchy system, Indian moms are supposed to be responsible for their children, in every way. This attitude changes the perception of everyone in the society towards them.
Dealing with kids is one thing, but dealing with the unwarranted judgment meted out by random adults, is entirely another. People don’t even bat an eyelid before blatantly blurting out their criticisms. If you’re a mother, you would have faced at least one of these at some point:
- Leaving your child and going to work? This one takes the cake when it comes to criticisms. Everyone including neighbors, friends, and relatives can’t get over the fact that you have got back to work after having a kid. And you can’t help but give that smile, while your brain wires go, “Are you the one who will take care of my baby, then how does it bother you?”
- Don’t you miss your child at work? How insensitive is that criticism? Of course, every mother misses her child when she is away from him or her, but that doesn’t stop her from focusing on her work as duty binds her. What were they thinking when they said, “Working mothers are stoics from an alien planet”?
- Why haven’t you started weaning your baby? This typical criticism comes at the wrong time, just when your baby can’t wait to get that feed. And often goes beyond, “It’s high time you did it, otherwise it will get difficult later on.” Can you just leave that decision to the mother, she knows how and when to do it.
- Why don’t you get yourself a babysitter? Right! Just what a mom needs at this already clueless state! While they may have an issue with you working, they will also have an issue if you won’t get a babysitter! Never at peace, are they? They suggest you indulge in other activities apart from just taking care of the kid!
- You should discipline your kid: When someone says this, it might either increase your blood pressure or make you feel guilty. Parenting is done in so many ways besides just raising your voice or yelling at your child.
- How can you be so fat? We look at ourselves every day, and you don’t have to remind us that or body shame us. Can we say, “Keep your suggestions to yourself.” Losing pregnancy weight is a slow process and should be carried out only at the right time. Remember, how your doctor asked you to take it easy on the exercise part until the baby is breastfeeding?
- Why are you buying him junk? No woman in this world would want to spoil her kids by choice. But, sometimes we succumb to their wishes, and that seems to be an easier way out. Plus, everyone needs variety! That doesn’t mean we have given others the authority to comment or criticize us. We try doing the best as the situation demands.
- You are not setting rules for your kids: Too much screen time, buying too many toys, eating lots of chocolates, and much more. All mothers would probably agree with me when I say rules don’t work beyond a day or two. Unless you are a mother, don’t even talk about setting rules for kids.
- You lack sense of time: Oh! How would you know about last minute poop, change of dress, spilling milk, wanting a gummy, and in the middle of all this confusion forgetting my mobile only to be running back to grab it? Well, that’s the reason for the delay.
Judgment can come from unexpected quarters sometimes. If you are a criticizer stop and think before you criticize. You don’t know the other side of the story. So hold it before you blurt.
As a mother at the receiving end of criticism, do what it takes, whether it’s standing up for yourself or being assertive in voicing your opinion so that criticizers get the message loud and clear.
Have you been judged as a mother? We are curious to hear.