Disclaimer : This article is not meant to be about all moms. It is meant to be about a majority of them. If throughout this article your main bone of contention is, “hey, not my mom!” or “hey, not me!”, then you have missed the point.
“Mere pass MAA hain”
This iconic line symbolizes the deep rooted respect that Indian culture holds for the ideal known as “the mother”. Our generation (and the previous) extolls the sacrifices, the pain, the blood and sweat that our mothers squeezed our of their pores to bring us up. Every mother meme on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat bleeds love and dying devotion to their moms.
Now let’s pretend for a moment that the abusive/absent mom doesn’t exist. I want to talk about this so called ‘respect’ that all of you have for your mothers. The thing is that I have a feeling it’s not really the ‘I am in awe of your accomplishments and life’ respect that you give Steve Jobs or a General in the army. It’s the more of the “omg, how did you manage to live your life like that? Kudos for doing that ’cause I can never do that, ever,’ sort of respect you give someone like a storm drain cleaner. I wonder which ‘respect’ is more equal.
Now before you throw rotten tomatoes at me. Think.
If you were born again, would you want to live the life of your mom ( boys and girls, I’m looking at you)? Yes I know you respect her, but then why don’t you want her life?
Is it because she had to sacrifice her dreams once you were born? Is it because she chose to? Is it because she waited on you hand and foot without once thinking of herself? Is it because she still doesn’t own one piece of property even though she’s contributed to your family as much as your father has? Is it because she still uses her management skills to run the house? Is it because her worth in society is strongly correlated to your father’s status, your marks/job, her skills as an unpaid chef?
Most of us, sadly will not want our mother’s life. Probably some of you will say, ‘Hey, that whole generation was fucked, we don’t want our dad’s life either’. But really, if you had a choice, who’s life would you choose? Probably your dad suffered under the hands of terrible bosses or he was mainly responsible for your entire family’s finances, and that was hard. But you’d still prefer his life to your mom’s.
Why is this? Why can’t most of us ( boys and girls) look at our mom’s and say, “ I want to live the life you lead!” or “When I grow up, I want to be just like you!” or “I want to achieve what you did!”
The truth is we’re all hypocrites. We love the sacrifice that our moms’ made. Because she made it for us. If we’re asked to do the same thing, we balk at the unfairness of it all. Because guess what, it is unfair.
It’s unfair that she was expected to slave in the house when dad got to go out. It’s unfair that she had to be subservient to her in-laws much more than your dad, it was unfair that she didn’t take the promotion she badly wanted because it meant longer hours.
And guess what, it’s unfair that we still expect her to pamper us when we go home. I don’t care if she enjoys it. Why can’t we give her something else to enjoy that is not service to her family? Is that so bad?
Next time you meet your mom, especially if your mom was the kind who sacrificed her happiness for yours, break her free from the shackles you put on her. She is a person, a human being first. A mother, second. Just like everyone is a human being first, their ‘role’ second. Give her that freedom. It is your duty. Buy her a spa day, plan the entire day’s meals, encourage your father to help around the house, talk to her about her dreams, pay for a class that gives her a new skill outside of the home.
Validate her as a person, not only a mother. This is not easy. It means being able to look at your mom and see her as her first name . Your father always had another role to give him confidence, and moms need that space too. From your perspective the role of your parent as mom or dad was the most important and the only one that mattered. But as a human being, a lot of people need more than the validation of being a parent. This is not blasphemy. It’s the truth. The parent may be the most important role, but supporting roles lend a lot to a story of a person. They give them confidence, support and build the personality of the main character.
Whether male or female, validation doesn’t only come from family, though it plays a large part. It also comes from the feeling of having contributed to something larger. Give your mom this opportunity . Let her connect to the world not only through you or your father or her father, or God, but independently. Give her the confidence to define herself, to choose.
So let’s make a promise together : Let’s respect our moms. Let them grow. In the way that we actually want to one day be like them.