Women rediscover themselves when they become mothers – they realize their ability to love unconditionally – to put the needs and comfort of a tiny being before their own-melting at their offspring’s helplessness and finding their innate ability to be brave and strong whenever the child needs help, no matter how often. That is the time the story of a mother’s giving begins- sheer altruism, empathy and selfless devotion, with no expectations of any kind.
Motherhood also completes women as individuals, improves their personality and brings out the best in them. Motherhood is not a need-it is a choice-a choice that will try our patience for the next 20 years, if not the rest of our lives-push us to the brink of sanity-but the tipping point, thankfully, never comes-the cup never brimmeth over.
Strange, how nature has fashioned women-with our large hearts that give more than they can hold-that embrace and get embroiled in every aspect of their child’s life – making his life their own. The protective, nurturing instinct comes to the fore and the child forms an entire world for them. The mother is perennially undaunted by the prospect of losing her own identity and foregoing her interests completely as she molds the personality of her little ones. Her devotion and commitment extends far beyond the call of duty, driven by affection and the strong sense of responsibility towards her children. She saves them from awkward situations, protects them from the barrage of reprimands, scolding and punishments, always ready with excuses on their behalf, even tough it means bearing the brunt of immediate and extended family. For the mother, its not about herself, and what she has to endure, she has to protect them from hurt and discouragement, and teach in her own way, that is hopefully more positive. Her rapport and closeness with the children, she hopes, will help her achieve, what others’ complaints will not. Its not that she is not proved wrong, she is, because they do not often see the mother sandwiched between two generations, they seldom can see beyond themselves, and her softness becomes her undoing.
But somewhere along the way, ego, ambition and unfulfilled dreams get added and many mothers end up living their lives through their children, pushing them aggressively and adding stress and pressure in a world where children carry numerous other burdens to keep up with their peers, who may often be abusive, mentally, if not physically.
We may have given life to our children, but cannot control it completely. It is our duty to provide for them, nurture them to be responsible citizens and fine human beings, but give them space to blossom and grow too. We cannot fulfill our incomplete dreams through them, or use them to achieve what wasn’t within our reach. The joy should be to see them achieve on their own, providing the perfect environment to excel, develop a good personality and evolve a code of ethics, values and principles of the highest order, where purity, peace and sincerity are all important.
If we push our children, it must be so that they can build a beautiful, successful life, and they never regret missed opportunities and wrong doing, or losing out due to sheer laziness and the very human habit of procrastination.
Parents nurture their offspring for as long as they are together. Nurturing covers a wide spectrum, including so much love that it lasts a lifetime, care that is unparalleled, and discipline, which teaches children how to conduct themselves, know their limits, and give space to others, including their parents.
And one day, it is time for the children to fly…build their lives, cultivate their interests, learn and acquire skills and degrees that will sustain them through their adult years. Though times have changed, communication and accessibility keeps parents and children connected all the time, the mother is left forlorn, seeming to have lost her purpose in life and the very reason for her existence. It requires so much strength to fight this feeling and overcome this state…for decades she has forgotten to think and feel for herself, never puts her own needs before those of her children, and often, does not even remember what she likes.
That is when the waiting game begins-for their calls and messages, for them to come home during vacations, and for chances to meet for short breaks. The parenting, the support and the care continues, but an emptiness fills her days, with no frenzy, and not much to look forward to. Perhaps the mother child bond supersedes all, but their leaving home must lead to a new beginning, a journey of self discovery for all mothers, to learn what they now like, as older, wiser and mature women, and learn to find completeness in their own being.