Sunday, February 24, 2008

February 08 Theme Post

Edit 2/26/08 - Added Label, Added Identifying Info:
(Written by Priya of Dreaming in Suburbia . Also posted there.)
You know what I felt when I read all the other theme posts ? That even though we all try our hardest to be good mothers (and no doubt we are) none of us consider ourselves to be good mothers. We beat ourselves up about all the little things we miss, and lack the confidence to appreciate ourselves when we do get it right. But perhaps these posts will help us overcome that.
My post isn't any different. But it is honest. I wrote the first thing that came to mind, because if I overanalyze, I'll end up creating an impression of myself that's perhaps not totally correct.
So here goes:
Dear Priya,

You know what I like about you the most ? Your motivation to get what you want. To the point of being ruthless. I mean, you consider yourself not very good at dealing with emotions, and yet the desire for a child was almost a primal need wasn't it? Let's see, when did you decide you wanted a child ? Really, wasn't it while you were still playing with dolls ? I mean it wasn't a conscious desire to have children at that age, but the thought was perhaps there all along.

But you never imagined to be so hard. That that decision would demand so much sacrifice on your part. You had to give up - let's see - your career, in some part your friends, your time, your Love - really a part of your very identity. And yet, you never regretted the birth of your child. You may have regretted a lot of things, but never that. The realization that another life depends on you came - when ? When you realized that before she was born, all your dreams were about you. You winning. You realizing your hopes and dreams. And after she was born your dreams began to include a little one along with you in all your fantastic victories. And eventually becoming all about the little one.

Do you consider yourself a good mother ? I don't know. I mean considering the handicap - crazy family, bouts of depression, unhappy sibling, upbringing that zig zagged erratically between Confirm to Male Chauvinistic Society and Militant Womens' Lib, struggling to fit in - maybe you are not that great a mother.

But you do your best. You are determined not to repeat the same mistakes that were made while you were being raised. You arm yourself with facts and make rational decisions when it comes to your child. You wonder how things came so easily to your mother, and you try that much harder to outdo her in mothering. You make sure your child keeps in touch with her language, her people. And you try most of all to help your child accept herself for who she is without any negativity.

The first week of motherhood taught you that its not what you thought it was going to be. Eventually you understood that it was all about dirty diapers and waking every two hours and fevers that scared you and booboos that made you cry and spit ups and crying and grown up worries about finances. That the worries never really end. Now you know that the big deal about motherhood is that its not about the kid growing up. Its about how you get there.

And even though your nature is to rebel against everything you can't control and try to master it - you took this - the biggest risk in your life - and learnt to deal with it. Even to enjoy it. Most of all, you learnt to say "No" to your child when you knew she would hate you for it.

So while you may not be the best mom, you are the best mom you can be. And if you can teach your child just that - to be the best she can be - then perhaps you can call yourself a good mother.


bird's eye view said...


That was a great post. I love the last bit about being the best mom that you can be - because at the end, that's all any of us can be.

indosungod said...

Priya, we can only try but I am not exactly sure why we set the bar so high that it is humanly impossible to reach. Little ones I am sure do appreciate the things we do for them though they might not be able to verbalize.

mummyjaan said...

That was very nice, Priya.

I have noticed one common thing running through many of our letters, it is that we have all found 'mothering' to be more difficult than expected.

I wonder why this is so? Did our mothers find it so as well? Maybe they just didn't write about it? Or maybe our memories of them don't date back as far as 'their' difficult days, if there were any.

I don't think you have to 'outdo' your Mom, Priya. As you say so yourself, it's enough for us to be the best mothers we can be, and that would rule out 'outdoing' anyone else, don't you think?

Sandeepa said...

Wow Priya, all these letters are putting me on a guilt trip. I don't even try this hard !!!

mummyjaan said...

Sandeepa, you're probably a 'natural', that's why you don't have to try :)!