Whether or not to celebrate Mother's Day may not be the most pressing question of our times, but now that this Hallmark holiday is upon us, the decision does have to be made! To we buy in or do we just roll our eyes?
For me, certain cultural holidays and celebrations don't mean much because I don't identify with what they represent. However, Mother's Day has grown on me because I see it as the day my kids (albeit post reminding) will do something special for me, like surprising me with breakfast after I come home from my run. For me that is huge—I really don't care if Hallmark is running all the way to the bank if I am made to feel special on this one day that celebrates my journey, my struggles and the fact that I have made it so far.
Having our children say thank you to us isn't part of the parenting handbook—certainly not in our Indian culture. But it does matter when they do...
My motherhood journey has not been marked by great mishaps or triumphs. I was lucky to have had unremarkable pregnancies and childbirth experiences. It's true that I did not immediately feel that euphoric outpouring of maternal love when my first child was born. When the nurse handed him over to me, my predominant emotion was relief. I was happy that the ordeal was over, I was elated that he had 10 toes and 10 fingers, I was happy that I had checked the box of becoming a mother. All around me I saw the nurses oohing and aahing and using the cutest little adjectives to describe him and all I was thinking was, "Holy cow! I am responsible for this thing now!" More than love, it was fear that took hold of me—what if I forget to feed him? What if I accidentally drop him? Yes, that feeling of love did come but it took a few days. In those few days, there was another strange feeling that stepped in—call it the baby blues or call it depression. Crying for no reason, feeling disconnected, feeling tired all the time and the works. Fortunately, my better half made for a great support system and pitched in way more than what is considered acceptable for the average Indian dad. It took a while but I managed to beat the blues. Mother's Day is a placeholder for me to remind myself of the road that led me to where I am today.
Sometimes we mothers call our job a thankless one—well, it doesn't have to be, if you give yourself one day to pat yourself on your back.
The mushroom-cheese omelette with orange juice which will be ready for me on Sunday morning will likely leave in its wake a cluttered kitchen and a warzone-like pantry, and most likely I will give them a tough time on it—but secretly I will be over the moon. Because a once-a-year "thank you" is enough for the mom in me who once thought that the endless pile of dishes and laundry would never end, who once thought that she would never get a good night's sleep. We mothers have moments when we push our boundaries to give and still that is not enough. Teenagers being the way they are will often find a reason to not like you and let it be known. They will not notice the favourite dish you made for them, but notice that you put tomatoes in the chicken kheema and not tomato puree. They won't notice that their clothes are neatly folded but only see that the favourite X-Men t-shirt is now not clearly visible. Yet we persist.
Having our children say thank you to us isn't part of the parenting handbook—certainly not in our Indian culture. But it does matter when they do, even if the occasion has its origins in commerce. Who doesn't like being acknowledged? Sometimes we mothers call our job a thankless one—well, it really doesn't have to be, if you give yourself one day in a year to pat yourself on your back for the good work you have been doing.
Happy Mother's Day!