I was out with a few friends for dinner a few nights ago; 3 of us being mothers. Once we had silently shovelled enough food into our systems, we took a break and started discussing whether or not a holiday in the near future seemed like a possibility. When the spotlight rested on me the question became would I be able to take a few days off from my soon-to-arrive baby bundle? My answer was yes; since I was planning to solely formula-feed, it would be no problem. So my friend turned to me as some of my other friends also have in the past, and said “you are probably the most chilled out pregnant person and mother I know.” I laughed and told her that if she were to see me at home and ‘behind closed doors’, she would probably have a very different opinion! But her statement got me thinking about how all mothers handle motherhood uniquely – both at home and when out.
Photo credit: www.thinkpositive30.com
We have many sides to our personality. I am talking about the roles we all play as women – daughter, sister, wife, mother etc, and about the various emotions we experience and are able to manage and maintain. I know that being a Gemini, I can easily turn my different ‘faces’ on and off! My family has always joked about how diplomatic I am, and that I can be one person one second and a completely different person the next. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes bad. Jokes apart, the various roles we play in our daily lives lead us to experience a range of emotions which we, over time, learn to turn on and off as the situation demands, and also depending on whether we are in our own space at home, or outside.
As a mother, you experience so many emotions that you previously didn’t realise existed! You also feel a mix of various emotions, and you have no clue which one to deal with first. How do you separate and deal with them? As an adolescent I was told that I used to bottle my feelings and not talk about them, and that this was unhealthy. At that point in time being young and stubborn, I never understood what those words meant….until I became a mother. I realised that opening up and talking to my mom friends about what I was feeling and experiencing behind closed doors, helped me not only handle the situation at hand well, but also emotionally be more stable and a better mother to my child. No mother enjoys only hallmark moments at home; that is not how motherhood works. The effects of not having dealt with the challenging situation at hand, eventually seeps into other aspects of life. We end up channelling our irritation and negativity onto our loved ones, through no fault of theirs.
What we don’t realise most of the time, is that our sponge-like children are watching and soaking up every word we speak and every move we make. There are times when one second I have been dealing with a situation at home with my child, and the next second I am in the car with my friends going out for lunch; situation unresolved. My happy face is on with great difficulty, but subconsciously the irritation and anger still linger. I have always wondered to myself – is this healthy for me as a mother and for my child who had no idea what just happened and was left without any resolution or compromise?
What kind of example are we setting for our kids? Are we subtly teaching them that it is acceptable NOT to deal with the emotions they are feeling and that they will disappear on their own if left unexamined? We may not be doing this knowingly. A controversial topic which is still a hot topic for discussion is whether or not boys should be allowed to cry. There were a series of ads released by Vogue (VogueEmpower) on this very topic. I have recently learnt to control myself when I realise I am starting to tell my son to stop crying. Telling him that sets a precedent that it is not ok for him to express himself and it is better to keep all the pain and frustration inside. Something to think about.
Social media, especially Facebook and Instagram have become a source for people to portray what their lives are like. It has become a necessity these days for many, to make a point and show the world that they are happy, problem-less, everything-figured-out -24/7 kind of people. By people in this particular article, I mean mothers. But is that an accurate portrayal, or are they mothers who face challenge upon challenge behind closed doors, but to the outside world they seem invincible?
When you start telling yourself that something is true because you desire it, when it actually isn’t, it is just a matter of time before it becomes a fixed truth in your mind. If you keep wishing away a problem, keep telling yourself it will disappear on its' own, and go about your day, that more often than not will not work in your favour. Handling infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, teenagers etc, all have their share of difficulties. I think it is unreal for mothers not to be up against any walls at home when raising a child. But you need to be able to accept that these walls are there and find ways to break them down without trying to create small holes and crawl through them.
To all my fellow moms out there, we all want motherhood to be a fairy tale and sometimes we do whatever it takes to get as close to one as possible. I know I do. But somewhere we need to draw a line between fantasy and reality, not caring about how others see us as mothers, and handle motherhood the way it should be handled – with lots of LOVE, COFFEE & WINE!!!
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this!