I always take a certain amount of pride in calling myself a mother. According to me, it is the hardest but most rewarding job that I have ever committed to taking on. Post college, I have worked in the IT industry as well as the Agricultural industry; both vastly different in their requirements and job descriptions. The skill sets and life lessons that I learned from both jobs were extremely different. There are some skills you learn from a job which may be relevant to that particular job but cannot be applied anywhere else; and then are those ‘traits or qualities’ you acquire which sometimes actually change you and become a part of who you are.
Motherhood, as I am sure you all agree, is a continuously evolving process, requiring mothers to adapt every now and then along the way. There is no start and finish line. As a mother, there is never the question of having learned enough. At every step, new qualities are developed and adopted, and some maybe qualities that you already had but after motherhood they become honed.
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Different mothers have varying qualities which they think have helped them evolve and become what they consider to be a devoted and committed mother (notice I didn’t use the word good, since I do not believe that it is as simple as describing any mother as good or bad). I am not going to be unrealistic and try to make all the mothers out there feel better by saying “you have everything already in you to be a perfect mother” or “don’t worry you are already doing an amazing job so don’t ever change.” No, I don’t believe in those statements. Like I mentioned earlier, motherhood is an evolving process and evolution equals change.
Here is my list of top 5 qualities that have changed me, and which I have internalized after becoming a mother:
1. Never back down
Growing up, I was always more of an introvert than an extrovert. I think most of my school friends who are still in my life today would vouch for that. I was shy and unassuming. This shyness always led to accepting things the way others wanted them without any regard for my own wants and needs. I wouldn’t call it selflessness but more of a pushover.
Working in the corporate world is when I learned to ‘toughen up’ so to speak. More so once I became a mother as well. I learned persistence, a trait which comes in handy as a mother! In the face of absolute resistance coming from my son in certain situations, I have learned not to give up and let anything deter me. There are challenges and obstacles we face with our children every step of the way as mothers. I have learned to never back down.
When I was young, I expected everything and everyone to revolve around me. I think like most of the youth, I wore partial blinders most of the time when it came to others; it was mostly about me and my wants and needs. Weren’t we all like that once upon a time? My parents did their job by teaching me that showing concern for other people and caring about their wants and needs as well would make me a good human being. They set good examples for my sisters and me. At that point, I never believed that anyone could be 100% selfless. That was of course until I became a mother myself and then I finally understood what my mother had always talked about, and what it felt like putting someone else’s well being and wants and needs, ahead of mine. Being selfless is a quality that automatically is embedded into your personality as a mother, whether or not it was already present before. I realised that every thought in my head began with “would this be suitable for my children?” Every step I have taken and will take in the future will be to ensure my children’s happiness and safety.
When it comes to disciplining our children, it is extremely easy for mothers to fall off the cliff. We talk about two distinct approaches when dealing with tantrums - rational explanations and yelling along with punishments. The most ‘ideal’ way most mothers would like to adopt is the rational explanations. Easier said than done right? We all have our weak moments when we just want to hurl abuses at our children during their episodes. I don’t think there is even one mother out there who can deny this. I realised over a period of time, that in order to be successful (sometimes not always) at attempting rational explanations without flying off the handle, an abundant amount of self-control was required. This ensures that nothing is said which cannot be taken back; that point of no return is not reached.
4. Being fair
Question: How does a person know he/she is being fair to someone? Answer: He/she puts himself/herself in the other person’s shoes and then makes a decision. I wonder sometimes if every time we utter the phrase “this is not fair”, we really know what it means. I have never practiced the art of fairness more, than after I have become a mother. This is not just me but I would think all mothers, try to see most things from their children’s point of view. The world is a strange and different place to them so putting ourselves in their shoes would give us a clearer picture of why they do certain things. This, rather than just assuming that they are being manipulative, would go a long way. I would always want my children to think of fairness and integrity, when thinking of me.
5. The Power of positive thinking
In one of my earlier posts titled ‘The Law of Cause and Effect’, I talked about how everything has an equal and opposite reaction. When you direct positive energy at someone, minimizing the negativity, the same positive energy gets thrown back at you. The power of positive thinking is something I have tried to practice every day from the time I became a mother. This also links back to the self-control mentioned earlier, which can aid in pushing negative thoughts to the back of our minds and bringing the positive thoughts to the forefront for our children to experience. Putting everything else aside, I want my children to be happy individuals. Period. I am not going to shelter them from the challenges that they will face in life, but I do want to teach them to approach every situation in life with a positive mind, so that they can be a better version of themselves.