My life as a mother has just started but this 19 month ride has provided me with countless invaluable opportunities to observe and learn. I see that as mothers, we are constantly reminded of what a huge responsibility rests on our shoulders, how we shape the future of the human race and even though the stakes are that high, the task of motherhood is not burdening at all. Of course, some days are very hard, but even those days bear significant rewards concealed in insignificant moments, be it your child’s good health, a small achievement or simply a kiss when you didn’t ask for it.
There is one aspect of motherhood that has really stood out to me so far. I notice that the mothers in our generation demand appreciation and acknowledgement for the hard task at their hands, which I believe is very important. This is the reason that we see ourselves more celebrated and valued as mothers, as opposed to the mothers of the past generations. And even though we insist that our efforts and sacrifices be recognized, I have also noticed that our attitude towards other mothers around us is getting downright appalling.
I have observed that we are so proud of all that we know about raising a child, that we have stopped believing that there may be many right ways of achieving the same objective, which in all cases is our children’s well-being. We come across a mother whose ways might just be different from ours, a different school of thought or possibly the result of her own life experiences, but we do not even wait a moment to consider all this before pouncing on her with our uncalled for word of advice. Why have we become so judgmental? Why aren’t we comfortable in the knowledge that the mother whose ways seem unconventional to us has also done her research, loves her child as much as we love ours and has good, solid reasons for her approach? And most importantly, why can’t we see that she didn’t ask for our opinion?
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day in this part of the world and I would like to request all mothers, including myself, to put a restraint to this cycle of negativity towards each other. Let us think about certain small changes that we can make to our attitudes towards our fellow moms, which will hopefully be a good diversion from our current way of thinking:
- Let us try not to judge a fellow mom on how she chooses to raise her children. Her ways might be unconventional, but it may be exactly what her kids needs and her circumstances demand.
- We should try to be kind to each other when we see one of us having a tough time. One suggestion is to look for cues and if you see that a fellow mom is terribly flustered and definitely needs someone to intercept and help her out, then do not hesitate from doing so. Remember that a small, random act of kindness can go a long way.
- Let us be more appreciative of each other’s efforts. If you see an admirable quality in a child, complementing him and his mother won’t take anything from you but it will certainly make that mother’s day.
- Let us vow never to shake our heads at the mom who is ignoring her screaming child in public, while she shops or looks at her phone. Keep an open mind that the child might have special needs or he may be throwing a tantrum and the mom’s strategy of choice might be to ignore him until he calms down.
- Let us support the working mothers who for whatever reason have to leave their newborns in day care to return to their jobs. They may be at a point in their careers where they cannot take a lot of time off from work, they might be a single parent or the sole earner of their family, or they may simply choose to resume work because it makes them happy. It is their choice and fellow moms should not be the reason for them to feel guilty about it.
- Let us vow to never reprimand mothers who are not breast feeding their babies. In this day and age, every mother is aware of the benefits of breast feeding. If you see a bottle fed baby, please control the urge to lecture. It might be pumped breast milk in the bottle, the mother might have decided to feed the baby on both breast milk as well as formula or she might have medical reasons to not breast feed. Once again, her choice and her decision. Please keep in mind that it is not possible that you are a bigger well-wisher of her child than she is.
- Please try to keep in mind that this is not a competition. Every child is different, he has his own personality and his own pace at which he will develop and achieve milestones.
- And finally, since there is no parenting rule book by which to handle everyday situations as they occur, every mother applies her own methods. Please try not to offer your advice or opinion unless you are asked for it. What’s worth noting is that no matter how tough a mother is with her kids, they still love her as much as your kids love you.
I am sure not every mother out there behaves in this way and out of all those who do, I am certain it is not everyone’s intention to be critical. Some of us might be under the impression that they are helping out by dispensing information or sharing their experience. Others might be doing so inadvertently. But from now on, if you are tempted to interject into someone else’s parenting situation, please ask yourself: Am I close enough to her to offer an opinion without being asked? Do I know her circumstances well enough? Is she putting her child in acute danger by her methods? Am I professionally qualified in child rearing and child psychology? If the answer to any one of these questions is NO, please trust that she is doing exactly what needs be done.
Let us make these small positive changes and cherish each other as mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!