The Working Mom

I have heard it many times before and I do not get it. People saying they resented their mom going to work. My mom was a working Mom. So everytime I hear something like that, I go through my entire childhood as best as I can to find any moment that I felt the same thing and I never come up with any. I remember our birthday parties, which she planned, for which she cooked up a storm in the morning before going to work. I remember the time when my friends and I,all from different communites decided to call each other for traditional dinners representing each of our communities and my mom all enthused, cooking up a konkani feast without a word.I remember evenings in the kitchen with mom and us at the dining table talking about the day. I remember chats with her in the same kitchen where we discussed everything from my naughty little sister to the daily news. The one thing I don’t remember is feeling that I was losing out with her not being at home.Never.Ever.

More importantly, I do not think that her involvement in my life would have been any different if she was a stay-at-home mom. She would still have been the parent she still is. The one who never forced her opinions on us but encouraged us to have our own opinions.The one who patiently heard out all the hormone-induced-no-grey-areas theories of my teenage years. The one who very calmly explained to me why she has to stand and stir the pot–and not sit on a chair welded to the floor that my toddler mind had thought up–without breaking into a laugh.The one who listened to my perfect plan to be the perfect parent and raise perfect kids and did not throw that plan back into my face when Aayush let out a bawl at 2.00AM on his first night home and I wailed “why doesn’t he sleep?”.I cannot think of my childhood being any different if she had been home and I do not and did not ever want it to be any different. I have always been fiercely proud of her,it is her I think of when the word supermom crops up. It is her I strive to be.

Which is why I don’t get it when some of my friends, and lately some of the blogs I have discovered, mention it. I have achieved an higher level of understanding of all she did after I became a mother myself. After I entered the throes of motherhood, I find myself asking the question “What would she do?” several times. I thought most women, who have had a normal childhood, did the same. Look back and try to find answers from their childhood.

I do not understand this phenomenon where you start judging your parents,especially after becoming a mother yourself. It is bad enough that,as a young mother, you are judged by every tom, dick and harry who has ever been around kids. You are judged by strangers whose only contact with your life would be the moment your kid decided to yell in the middle of the store or heaven forbid, use his outdoor voice that one out of ten times in the library. It is not enough that she is judged by fellow mothers for whom the only way to feel they are doing a good job themselves is criticise someone else or that it is her parenting which is judged for anything that would go wrong in the now fully grown up kids’ life. Now, the kids have to judge her, too. For the choice she ,the dad and in many cases in India, the extended family made together. Yes, tell your mom and anybody who is willing to listen, how you felt ‘cheated off of your mother’s attention growing up’ in a childhood that 50% of the world’s children would find nothing less than privileged.

For people like you,I have just one thing to say. GROW UP! You seem none the worse for it, you turned out to be the fine young women you are and seem to be. SNAP OUT OF IT . OK, that’s more than one thing. So sue me. I would expect nothing less from someone who has already been the judge and jury for their mother’s parenting.

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