My take today will be a little different. I want to talk about the guilt and frustration that hang on your head when you have many tasks to perform in the twelve hour period which is called a day. Parenting is a part of your life. (at times thought it becomes life!). For many centuries women have been placed on pedestal and glories have been sung on the qualities which mainly revolve round selfless love. The more I think of this phenomenon the more uncomfortable I become. Why should a woman always be a selfless person? Why cannot she have self esteem as she goes along through this journey of self discovery?
The feeling of duty is so ingrained in our minds that we always try to explain when we venture out of the realm of conventional womanhood. Quality time matters and it is not how much time you spend with your child but how you spend it.
Creating the boundaries of space is necessary. When should you start teaching this concept? I have not found an answer. In these seven years, I have tried to develop a sense of space respect in my daughter as I could in that given the situation.
Few rules have developed with my own evolution as a mother..
- She cannot disturb me when I am on the phone.
- At night after her bed time story routine, she has to entertain herself in case she is not sleepy.
- Meal times are to be strictly followed on week days with little concessions on week-ends.
- She understands that she can talk to me later if I have to work on an urgent project.
However, at times we do hit the wall. When she expects my complete attention, and I am unable to give, she throws a tantrum. I try to remain calm and avoid saying anything. It is always better to explain, discuss or debate when she is relaxed. Later I sit with her and try to tell her that Mama has many things to do and why it is important for me to work.She knows in case she needs me urgently I will drop everything and listen to her.
I have encouraged her to spend some time on her own. When she was about two years old, she used to play with her dolls in bed. At such times, she would not allow anyone to enter the room. I cited this as an example when I wanted to explain about the importance of privacy in life.
Children can manipulate well and also make you feel guilty at times. Mothers are always ready for the guilt trip. It is said that whatever is in our mind is projected outside in our life. If this is true we really need to erase this culpability from our subconscious minds. We need time for ourselves, and we should take it. After all, life is about our own space and niche. So it’s very important to pursue a hobby, keep in touch with our friends go out independently without the family. This will make us happy mothers.
My daughter has a highly creative bend of mind. One day she was sitting quietly on the terrace. It was an unusual sight to watch the restless soul staring in the space. I observed for a while and then decided casually to walk over. I stood by her silently. She was facing the sky with closed eyes and mentally making notes. After a while, she noticed me.
“Mama I was trying to find out how clouds change the shape?”
“But your eyes were closed.”
“Oh! I can see the clouds in my mind now when I need to draw, I will know how to do it.” she smiled.
This episode came in handy that day when I was struggling with a very creative project and needed time to close my eyes and think. ‘Making Clouds’ is the name we have given. So, when any one of us has a desire to ‘make clouds’, we respect the need.
I love this phenomenon of ‘making clouds’. Aptly, it describes that need to let your mind wander and search for the shape of unknown or unusual concepts.
Learning to be a better mother every day is challenging and a humbling experience at the same time.
First Published on Sulekha