20/10/2016 5:43 PM IST | Updated 09/11/2016 9:16 AM IST

Don't Be 'Just' A Mom, Be THE Mom

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On the ride to school this morning, I asked my three-year-old who his favourite person in the world is. It was one of those feel-good exercises we moms do, to pat ourselves on the back.

But he said not one, but two names.

Nope—not mama or dada.

He said they were Josh and Sheldon.

And who exactly are Josh and Sheldon?

His friends in school.

Hoping to drop the hint that his favourite person in the world was actually sitting in the car with him, right in front of his face, I told him, "But mama is a person too."

He laughed and said, "You aren't a person, you are just a mama." Facepalm.

While innumerable days of him taking his mom for granted are definitely before us, this is not the first time that he has told me that I am just a mama.

We were pretending to be animals the other day, and he said he was a lion. I told him I was a tiger. He smirked and said, while pushing me aside, "You can't be a tiger, you are just a mama."

While I've always been against spanking my child, I'm wondering if now is a good time to start (just kidding!).

Son, I'm not a mama. I am the mama.

It's like saying Barack Obama is just the President of the US (arguably one of the most powerful countries in the world). Hypothetical conversation between my three-year-old and the President: "Barack, you can't be a lion, you are just a President."

I am sick and tired of hearing mothers downplay their role in the family. What do you do? "Oh, I'm just a mom."

I am sick and tired of hearing mothers downplay their role in the family. What do you do? "Oh, I'm just a mom."

Please stop saying "just."

Do you know what it takes to be a mom? A whole lot of strength, buckets of patience and an endless supply of physical and emotional energy. To give that kind of commitment is not everyone's ballgame, and it's a choice a woman—married or not—makes.

Being a mom is a choice, just like how you choose your profession, your job or your employer. Only in this case, instead of a salary to look forward to at the end of the month, you are rewarded with countless hugs, kisses and smiles. You even have to deal with office politics. Just have two children, you'll know what I mean.

As a journalist, I once met a scientist named Dr. M.S. Jawahar who was involved in TB research, for one of my stories. He said, "When you empower a mother, you are empowering the family. Educate her, and you educate the entire family. If you don't focus on the mothers, the immediate family and in turn society as a whole suffers."

A mother is a child's first teacher. Their first friend. Mothers are the ones who will shape the future of the world. It is, in my opinion, the single most powerful and challenging "job" you can choose for yourself.

My hope for you is that the next time someone asks you what you do, instead of lowering your voice and giving excuses for you being "just" a mom, I hope—for my sake and yours—you say proudly, "I do the hardest job in the world. I am THE mom."

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