As a mother there is a myriad of emotions I’ve felt, well some were more intense in the initial days and some have faded away to give way to new ones but the one constant emotion I feel is GUILT!
It’s the one nagging feeling that as a mother one just doesn’t get over, no matter how early you get up, how efficiently you manage your home and outside work ,how much you research and find the best possible things for your baby (read books, toys, shampoo, soap and just about any baby/child related paraphernalia). The guilt NEVER let’s go of you.
So how does a generally sane, normal person like me become such a guilt ridden, underconfident mother you ask? I would like to blame the hormones but nope the truth is not so simple. It’s the society that places mothers on such high pedestal and its unnatural expectations while supporting them so little.While the society is out to undermine mothers , we ourselves do more to undermine ourselves.
My guilt for not doing enough for my son has been perpetually present from day 1. Immediately after birth I was not able to produce enough breast milk. After a few days it was ” I was not giving him enough tummy time, which may have resulted in him developing a few months behind other kids his age” . After a few days it was “I was not stimulating him enough for him to talk early”. Next came ” I was not engaging him in unstructured play”. “” I was not arranging enough play dates” and the list goes on. The worst I’ve ever felt is after I joined work. I joined after my son turned 18 months. Many felt that it was already too large a break that I took from my career which also made me feel (yes, you guessed it right!) guilty. But after joining work it felt 10 times worse. Him crying every morning didn’t help either. I was drowning in guilt and that’s when it struck me that unless I stop feeling it, nothing is gonna change. Only I get to decide what is expected of me. Nobody, not even my partner, has any right to set expectations from me; that although I’m a mother, I’m human too. I’ve every right to enjoy leisure like a normal person. Yes opportunities for same are going to be limited but that doesn’t mean that one simply shouldn’t. Go out there, meet your friends, join gym or dance class or whatever else you are inclined to do. Make time for yourself. Find a hobby and stick to it. Do what you enjoy. Yes motherhood is enjoyable but not always and it’s OK to admit that. Society can go f**k itself!