Am I a bad mother?

Motherhood is undoubtedly one of life’s most beautiful gifts but along with it comes a host of other things. People’s prying eyes and blaming tones, pointing fingers at the mother for everything and anything that her child does or doesn’t do. Is it fair to hold the mother responsible?
 No doubt the mother is the one in whose shade the child spends his growing years, learns his first lessons from her but why is she the one at at altar when the child does something wrong or something that does not meet society’s definition of “acceptable behaviour”. This makes her question herself time and again – is she a bad mother?
  •  My little bundle of joy has just come into this world. It is the most blessed moment of my life. As I feed him I realise I cannot satiate his hunger completely through my feed. I have to supplement his feed with formula .  As I take out the bottle to feed him, I see those scornful gazes all around me accusing me of being that mom who is just lazy to feed her child. Makes me think- Am I a bad mother?
  • My daughter is 2.5 years old. Though she’s boisterous and chirpy but she’s lanky. I try my best to cook innovative dishes, feed her food laden with ghee, google about how to get her to put on weight, question her paediatrician time and again (he assured me she’s healthy and I worry for no reason). But people say  “O look at that girl as thin as a stick, her mother does not feed her well, must be a terrible cook. And I ask myself am I a bad mother?
  • My son is 4, he’s slow at learning things, the teacher says he does not write, he’s also shy. He has symptoms of Down Syndrome, the mild one at a very nascent  stage, the doctor said. He can get better and lead a normal life. I try my best to give him the best environment, use novel teaching aids, get him to make new friends slowly. My mother in law thinks I did something to anger the gods when I was pregnant and hence my child is not like others. People think I don’t give him enough time hence he’s slow. I ask myself -Am I a bad mother?
  • I am a working mom. Walking a trapeze day in and day out. Balancing my professional aspirations and giving the best of everything to my child. I work not due to monetary compulsions but out of choice. But I hear those hushed whispers- why does she leave her daughter at daycare and enjoy her life going to parties, dinners and drinking. It’s a part of my job which I can’t avoid, they never notice I am the first one to leave the party, the one who has her lunch at her desk and one who who is always struggling to leave office early so that she can spend more time with her child. But how would they know that , all they see is a selfish career woman. And I think- did I do something wrong thinking about my career, does that mean I put my family second. Am I a bad mother?
  • My daughter is 10. Mumma I am not interested in studies she says, I want to be a sportsperson. She likes outdoor games. She failed in her last exams. My husband thinks I have given her too much of liberty. What will she do playing football? She has to get decently educated else no one will marry her. Which guy will marry a footballer? It’s all bcos of u he shrieks.  Am I a bad mother?
  • The board results were out today. While it should have been a joyful moment for us, it is far from that. My son has scored 90% but that won’t get him into IIT , his father’s dream. His exams were not his alone- I spent every minute revising with him, preparing his notes and praying when he wrote the exams, I knew what this meant to everyone but he did not make it. My husband is angry with Rithvik but he won’t talk to me either. He just whispered ” you both should have worked harder” Makes me think – Am I a bad mother?
  • I want a  divorce, I cant believe I just said that. The marriage was a sham right from day one. I am amused that we spent so many years under a roof playing man and wife. The only good thing about our marriage is my little girl Reena. It had become unbearable and that’s when I decided to put an end to this false life we were living. But they all pointed fingers at me and said “You have a kid, think about her. For her sake, reconcile, swallow your ego and stay back. I fail to fathom how can my child thrive in such a loveless environment. It was a tough one but I did what I felt was right for Reena and me. They all looked at me with contempt. What a selfish woman, did not even think about her poor child. I look at Reena who has to face these questions almost every other day. And I think- Am I bad mother?
  • “I do not want to marry Ma why don’t you get it I do not like girls. I am gay. Are you ready to accept a guy in my life?” It was as if the earth beneath my feet cracked I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My husband was numb with shock. After a few hours when I had calmed down , I reasoned about it , read about it and realised it’s perfectly normal. I should stand by him but when I voiced my thoughts to my husband I was in for a rude shock- this is all because of you, after all what do you do sitting at home the whole day? Were you snoring when he was indulging in these sinful unnatural acts. What kind of a mother are you and after all this, you say we should support him? And I think -should I have watched out? If I knew earlier should I have stopped him from doing something that’s natural for him and coerced him into marrying a girl. Did I fail somewhere? Am I a bad mother?
  • My son a terrorist, a murderer, a drug addict, a rapist,- I dead a million times when I first heard it on TV. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. But he was just a little boy playing in the backyard, eating mangoes, laying down in my lap. From where did this horrendous creature emerge? He cannot be my son. People point fingers at me, its your upbringing, you are responsible. But as many times as I rewind his childhood, I cant think of any such moment where he went wrong and I did not reprimand him,  did not correct his wrongdoings. The how did this happen, am I responsible for this. Am I a bad mother?
  • My granddaughter is 3 months old, what a precious little doll she is, she has brightened our lives. But today is not one of those usually happy and cheerful days. I just had a difficult conversation with my daughter. She was really angry at me- she had somehow taken it for granted that I would raise her baby. After all I am her mother and though she is a adult now that does not absolve me of my responsibilities as her mother. She has given birth to a child, intends to continue working and is not comfortable with day care or maids. She had just assumed that because I came to take care of her for these initial months, I would leave my job, leave the city I have lived in for so many years and settle down with her. She thought my only aim in life would now be raising my grandchild. I absolutely adore my little granddaughter, she is as precious as my own daughter but leaving the city in which I have spent 55 years of my life, quitting the job I am so passionate about, living my life truly on my own terms something which I had not been able to do in the past., what if I don’t want to give up these? Am I selfish? Because I choose to think about myself now rather than others, something I have been doing right from the time I was a young girl- my brothers, parents, husband, then kids. It was never me. So now when everyone is settled in their own life and I have my breathing space to discover the real me, I am called again to fulfil my responsibilities as a grandmother. Am I a bad mother?

NO I am not.. I never was. It’s time I stop the guilt from pulling me down.  
I can be a working mom and still be a good mother. I can choose to defy society’s norms and stand by my child when I feel she’s right, though it may not conform to society’s definition of “right”. If my child turns out to be bad, I am not the one to blame. I am  a big influence in  his life but not the only one. If I choose to live my life on my terms, to think about myself for a change, I do not become a bad mother.
 It’s time we let our mothers be, respect them and do not forget the sacrifices they have made throughout their lives for us.  Let’s create a conducive  atmosphere where a mother would never have to ask herself “Am I a bad mother?”

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