Motherhood is a marvel and mothers are blessings in their purest form. To honour the love and appreciate the presence of mothers in our lives, we have come to dedicate one special day to them. The second Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day throughout the globe. The word ‘Mother’s’ is a singular possessive in the phrase, as marked by an apostrophe before ‘s’ with the intent that each family should celebrate their mother, so that mothers around the world could feel the love, even in the midst of a broad celebration of motherhood.
According to popular belief, a mother is someone who brings up a child with unconditional love and affection. A mother is one who teaches, nurtures, inspires, supports, protects, and guides. In line with the definition, do we just consider one to be a mother if she bears a child in her womb? What about a single father who juggles the role of mother and father for his child’s needs? Is a brother or sister who provides for their younger siblings as a parent, not a mother? Which title is best suited for the family member who nourishes the baby as their own? To understand the dynamics of motherhood better, we spoke to various ‘Mothers’ to know their narratives of motherhood. Let’s dig into their stories.
In Conversation With Mothers Who Add To Its Meaning
Chandra Bhusan Sharma is a single father who works as an assistant professor of commerce at a govt. college in Barpali. His wife passed away due to cancer when he was 39 leaving behind a 10-year-old son and a daughter aged 6. He spoke about how his determination and love for his children made him stay firm on his decision to not remarry. Society kept pestering him but once decided he never gave it a second thought and brought up his children all by himself. Sharma broke stereotypes by providing for all the needs of his growing daughter and is a friend to both his kids alike. He feels proud of his decision and advises all single fathers to believe in themselves and their love for their children.
Amola Ranjan shared how a tragic incident made her a mother to her younger brother when she was 12. Their birth mother lost her brother in an accident that mentally disturbed her for over a year. Mrs Ranjan had to take full responsibility for her 6-month-old brother during that time. The teenager dedicated her after school hours entirely to the baby. With some support from her aunt, she managed to take care of the toddler’s requirements until their mother was stable. Mrs Ranjan shares a unique motherly-sister bond with the brother who is nearing 30 now. “The affection they share makes it all worthwhile”, she says.
Madhubala Kumari spoke about how she mothered her niece. The niece, in order to get a good education, came to stay with her at the age of 6. From feeding the niece with her own hands to drying the mattress when she wet the bed and teaching for school exams, Mrs Kumari was a mother to her niece in all forms. Like any mother-daughter, they have had their own share of fights and yet share an undefinable bond such that both believe each other to be their lucky charms. The niece even calls her ‘mee’, a short for mummy.
Sita Rai became a widow at the age of 22 with three children. Mrs Rai, who is now 80, talked about her struggles of how the young girl toiled day in and out to make the ends meet. Her family had to fight hard to convince her in-laws to allow her to work. She worked as a teacher in a government school and raised her children with Rs. 200 she got as a monthly salary. She got emotional sharing how the school staff took care of her children when she was on duty. She suffered a great deal of mental and physical difficulties to give her children a good life. “Seeing my all three children settled well in life and having a family that loves me makes me feel my struggles have been paid off,” says Mrs Rai.
With all these experiences, we realise how motherhood does not have a linear expression. Describing a mother is like explaining what water feels like. You must experience it to be able to feel it.
But is a mother a superhuman? Most of you would have instantly said yes, isn’t it? She always does the right thing, knows what’s best and is there for us no matter what. But what if that’s not the case? What if the mother is not available for you at all times? What if your mother chooses to skip your school program and rest? Sounds unreal! That’s because we have put our mothers on the pedestal of perfect humans. If they dare step down, they aren’t considered a ‘good-mother’.
We connected with Mrs Arunima Bhattacharya, the founder of Big Pitchr, a media professional with 19 years of experience and a mother to a 12-year-old girl to comprehend this better.
“Since I was in the initial year of my career, the work demanded my attention due to which I sometimes had to sacrifice my motherly duties like attending my daughter’s first musical performance. These small things would give me a great deal of guilt and to make up for that I would come back from work and engage in activities with my daughter instead of taking some rest. I would read articles on how to build stronger relationships with your child and many more to be the right mother for my baby” said Battacharya.
She shared how things were not easy for her being in the media and taking care of a child with the help of only her husband. She further explained how society exerts pressure on mothers to be ‘perfect’ in every and any way possible. The way a child dresses and their tiffin boxes to their hobbies are all scrutinised and the mothers are held responsible for it all. She also added that today’s mothers have the unending task to stay updated to be able to communicate and relate with their children. Mrs Bhattarcharya said mothers are made to feel that anything they do is not adequate or good enough and must strive harder.
We must realise that Motherhood is unique and a subjective experience. This superhuman image is highly detrimental to a mother’s physical, mental and social health. Mothers push their limits to an extent that takes a toll on personal beings. So let’s humanise mothers. Let them be the imperfect humans that we all are. Because mothers in their own imperfect way are perfect for us.
On the occasion of Mother’s day this year, we spoke to the mothers working at HealthifyMe to hear stories about their days.
Motherhood affects a woman in so many different ways that one cannot even describe in words. For me, the sense of responsibility has increased manifold. I am concerned about my little one more than anything. I ensure I am healthy so that my baby stays healthy. Our children also impact our personalities and traits. For example, a few of the many things my daughter has taught me is optimism. She has a great sense of humour and a positive attitude towards everything and I think that is really great.
Parul Dube , Marketing, Subject Matter Expert
In this phase when we are working from home, it’s all about time management. Being a 10-month-old mother, I believe it’s very important that your employer understands your situation. At HealthifyMe, we have full flexibility, as nobody micro-manages us and that’s one of the reasons why we feel more accountable for our job. So if my child wants me at a particular time, I have the liberty to dedicate my undivided attention to her and then fix my schedule accordingly to complete my work without any unnecessary hassle of being available during my shift hours so to say.
Shama Mubarak , Marketing Lead, SEO Specialist