Thank you, mom.
This post about the lady who sacrificed her sleep for you will make your eyes moist.
13 ways in which your mother is a superwoman.
To that woman in your life for whom you’ll always be ‘mera baccha’.
How many times have you seen articles titled like these, floating all over your social media feeds, shared by friends, posted by strangers and endorsed by celebrities? I, for one, have lost count. Call it my cynicism, but every time I see an article with a subject line glorifying the motherhood, it fills me with a sense of deep disgust. Disgust at the way we eulogize and celebrate the sacrifices a woman makes (or rather, has to make) as a mother. Disgust at the identity (or the lack of it) that a woman is conferred with post-delivering a child. Disgust at how easily women embrace this badge of honour. Disgust at the benchmarks of love, affection and sacrifices it sets for other women. Disgust at the convenience it allows the kids, to pay back their mother.
Share an article, acknowledge what she did, pay your gratitude, and that’s it! You’re now absolved of all the guilt that you may ever have felt, for all that your mother has done for you. But what exactly does it do? Oh well, you may tell me that a mother needs nothing, but only a little acknowledgement (sprinkled with gratitude) of all that she’s done for her kids. Your mother may get fooled by this argument, but not me. I just refuse to believe that a mother does it all willingly, happily and ever so cheerfully. I think a mother does what she does for her kid(s) because thinks it is her duty to do so. The seeds of patriarchy are so deeply rooted in our collective psyches, that it seems all so natural. But is this really so?
Does a woman just forget to live for herself the moment she gives birth to (or brings home – in cases of adoption) a child? What is it in the composition of the word mother that forces her to live up to the stereotypes? Is it the fear of non-conformity?
In my understanding, it is yet another case of Individual vs. Society. As individuals and in particular, mothers don’t give up their lives for the kids willingly. While as society and in general, mothers are the quintessential sacrificial beings, who will go all out – even at the cost of letting go of their own being – for the kids.
And hence, these formal announcements of gratitude disgust me. Because more than an acknowledgement of the sacrifices a mother makes, they reek of the subtle reinforcement of the ‘ideals’ and stereotype that a mother is supposed to live up to. In a twisted manner, they remind a woman of all that she’s supposed to be and do, as a mother. Notwithstanding her own identity, desires and ideas of raising a kid.
I don’t know what’s the solution to this. Or if this is even a problem in the first place. But what I would love to see some semblance in this world of acknowledgement and gratitude. Maybe we don’t need to put her on a pedestal, treating her like a mythical goddess. A mother is a real, living being – occupying the same cosmos as you, so maybe it’s about time that we started treating her as one. And we definitely don’t need to ascribe to her the sole identity of a mother – ignoring her existence as a woman, as an individual. But more than anything else, I’d love to see mothers acknowledging the unwillingness to make all those sacrifices in the name of motherhood. I would love to see them as humans, not superhumans that they are made out to be.