One of my best friends sent me the below quote on Mother's Day last month.
“Having a mother is complicated and fraught. Not having a mother is complicated and fraught. Being a mother is complicated and fraught. Not being a mother is complicated and fraught. Sending love to you today, whatever your relationship with motherhood.”
There are so many questions that are answered automatically when you have children of your own; especially the earth-shattering ones about why your mother did the things that she did when you were growing up, much to your bewilderment. When you are young, a mother-child relationship is defined by love and hate. The moments of your mother doing more wrong than right (according to you) were probably in abundance. I remember throwing numerous tantrums about the most materialistic things - when I couldn’t get dropped to school in the car I wanted, or when I wasn’t allowed to have a phone in my room at the tender age of 12. At that time did I rarely think that I was lucky enough to at least have a car to take me to school or that most children my age didn’t have phones in their rooms and for a reason. I remember taking my mother’s “NO” as a direct beating to my heart and she became my worst enemy for a few days. I can only imagine the little terror I must have been when I was younger! Common wisdom tells us to stop falling out with our mothers as we emerge from adolescence in one piece but that is rarely the case. The expectations and complications faced with our mothers evolve as we sail through life and this sometimes-unrealistic expectation of ‘perfect’ that we have of them, remains. Not even a day goes by when I don’t question the behaviour of my children and try to understand why their actions around me and reactions to things I say or do are so different than with anyone else in the house. A simple “go for your bath” apparently warrants a “NO, you said I can have another 4 minutes” with a door being slammed in my face (even though it had been 15 minutes already). Two minutes later when the same request is made by my husband, I can hear the shower running immediately. I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never be able to find a rational explanation for this phenomenon. What I have realised over the course of two children is that this is neither new or abnormal, but extremely natural for any child. The complications we have with our children are the same as those with our mothers. It has taken me 4 adult child-rearing years to comprehend, decipher and appreciate my mother. Although Mother’s Day is over, the above quote is one that will stay with me forever. We all have our own battles with motherhood and as humans we are programmed to always want more. We look around and analyse the various distinct mother-child relationships we often see playing out in front of our eyes. It is in our DNA to want what other people have as the grass seems forever greener on the other side, but in reality may not be. However, in this constant want and need for something more, whatever that may be, we tend to overlook the most obvious – that we are plain lucky to have what we have, even in light of the various challenges that plague our relationships with our mothers. Motherhood is anything but easy any which way we look at it, either as mothers ourselves or as daughters. Complications always persist. It is a rule of life that children tend to be the hardest on their mothers and this is something that will remain true till the end of time. We automatically expect nothing but the best from our mothers however old we are. We assume that they have read our minds and should say exactly what we want to hear, with no room for error. As we grow older, we learn to appreciate their numerous talents and strengths, alongside the many criticisms that as children we can’t help throwing at them. Mothers do not want to see their children make the same mistakes they made but we see it as manipulation so we fire back at them. It is a much-proven fact that even as an adult, no one can quite rile you up like your mother.
As Agatha Christie said "A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
This is something we do not really understand until we become mothers ourselves. As each day passes and I watch my children grow in front of eyes, I thank god for my mother and for extending the privilege of motherhood to me. There are those amazing women who have lost their mothers and would give anything to spend just another minute with them. There are also those incredible and strong mothers who have lost their children, in and outside the womb and the pain of a mother losing her child is the worst pain of any kind. A mother-child relationship is probably the most complicated of all time and will always overflow with obstacles but at the end of the day, motherhood is defined by love.