My mother taught me everything about life except how to live it without her. I was 36 when she passed away and I felt like a six-years-old who has lost her way in a busy market place, where she comes every other day, knows the passages and shops, but still the fear of being alone makes her shiver.
I became a mother after she left us for the better world: clumsy, confused, and anxious mother of two little ones, making mistakes every single day and judged by the world. I wonder if it is easier to navigate your emotions with your own children and train them better if your mother is around. I think it is! I am sure if my mother would have been around, my children must have eaten better, gotten toilet-trained earlier, and maybe enjoyed me as a completely different person.
After she died, on every Mother’s Day I always think of what I would have given her as a present. I used to buy her dresses, shawls, perfumes, etc. Surprisingly, now I always think of the simplest things in life — more time, more hugs, and more gratitude. I would have praised her cooking skills more, I would have told her how much her presence means to me, I would have told her that she made me brave, she kept me sane and hopeful about life. Honestly, I did not care about anyone in this world when my mother was around, now every opinion matters, every judgement has the power to pull me down.
Mothers are such amazing beings (When I say mother, I mean any primary caregiver). They could very well be super humans merely because of how much their own happiness, health and mental peace matters to their children. As mothers, we let our life sit on the back seat while caring for our family without realizing that all of this is mutually causative. This Mother’s Day, I want to make a to-do list for all the mothers around us. This one is for you, for me, for any mother from their daughter.
When a mother likes herself, she teaches her daughter to do the same. I feel many of our teenage problems would have been sorted if we liked ourselves better during those years. Mothers unknowingly model negative body image in their children. Your one sigh on the weighing scale, statements like ‘mein kali tau nahin lag rahi’, or ‘I do not wear this colour, it never suits me’, changes us for life. We pick those behaviours and form our self-image based on your casual disliking for how you look.
Know Your Worth
Happiness comes from self-worth. Know that you are perfect. No other woman could do things the way you do. No one has the right to tell you if you are worthy of this motherhood or not. Do not let this negativity bother you. Be happy, your smile makes me feel calm. Should mothers cry? We do not mind that as children, but we do get upset. However, seeing our mother open up about her emotions is a better sight. Your tears, your smiles, your words, all matters to us!
Ask for Help
Some days can be tiring. You might not like to connect to us in some situations. We understand that you are playing multiple roles simultaneously and you do get exhausted. Please ask for help on such days. Tell us what help you need? Ask dad if you feel the need. What I do not like is that you try to manage everything on your own, get frustrated and then become angry with us. Honestly in such times, you leave us clueless and confused. Teach us that there is no shame in asking for help. This realization will support us in our lives. Teach us how to find our tribe in different phases of life.
Do not Sweat the Small Stuff!
We will grow up to be good girls. Do not worry about the crumbled clothes and mismatched pillow covers. Do not sweat over lost socks and hair bands. Trust me your concerns feel like nagging when we are young, and it looks like mistrust or displaced anger when we are grown-ups. Just relax, say it once and let us handle it.
Own Your Achievements
We are not your ‘ONLY’ achievement, so please when someone asks your name do not say mother of XYZ. You have a name, a degree, a job. Even if you do not have a job or degree, you still have a lot to mention. Know your achievements, brag about yourself. We look up to you, we learn from you. Let us see how in our society, where anyone who is not bringing money to the table, still has a role to play. Once you teach us how to compliment ourselves, we will be able to achieve more in our lives.
Mother, you need energy to manage us. We notice how you eat the leftovers and never make your own plate. You want to teach us how to respect food, but we see how you sacrifice your basic needs for others. It harms us later in life when we let people overstep our boundaries, and our mind tells us to accept this as a sacrifice. Sit down, you deserve a clean fresh plate and warm food. And please stop microwaving that old tea thrice, have it fresh, you can do the chores later. We notice you and learn from you. Teach us to prioritize ourselves.
Get Enough Sleep
For a very long time, while growing up I thought you never sleep. I thought sleep is meant for children, it sounded like a torture, which we were subjected to. My relationship with sleep has been very negative as I saw you calling it a waste of time for yourself. Even now, I struggle with the idea of sleeping during the day as I learnt from you that mothers should not rest often.
You Are Enough as You Are
No matter what is going on, you do your best in the given circumstances. You are unique and strong. You do not need to change yourself to fit into certain social definitions. Yes, I know we compared you to that pretty teacher who is always dressed up but we still like you the way you are; your presence is what matters the most. You do not need to follow any uncomfortable trends to stay relevant. You will always be relevant for us.
Learn to Say No
You do not have to surrender to anyone, including us, to be likeable. If anything makes you uncomfortable, say no to it. When you keep on saying a half-hearted yes, you get angry and frustrated later. Your exhaustion eventually makes you angry with us, even when we are not at fault. Teach us to say no to others and yes to ourselves. Learn about your own emotions so we can do the same when we grow up to be mothers.
Medical Checkups Are Not Luxuries
Please go and see the doctor when you feel unwell. We know your home remedies work but sometimes you need a doctor. Please make health your top priority. Do not ignore this for our new toys and dresses.
Every daughter deserves a happy mother who knows her worth. Seems like a job but just relax, trust your instincts and let us love you with all your strengths and shortcomings. This Mother’s Day promise us to love yourself before anyone else. You deserve an award, today and forever! HH
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