What mommyhood taught me

Methinks Kiran and Monika are growing old (albeit gracefully) and forgetful because I could swear we did one of these What Mommyhood taught me tags ages ago. As The Goddess of Love Jihad and Aneela are my witnesses, it might have been titled differently but I did (And good Lord, you readers amaze me, but Deepti found it. Here is the old one) and now I’m at a loss to find five new things. On the other hand, if no one remembers it, I can probably repeat a couple and get away with it – hah! Just kidding – okay so I’m going to try not to say the things I’ve said before, but it’s not going to be easy since I blog so much about motherhood, so here goes.

1. Mommyhood has taught me – to judge people more. Yes, I know I am inviting trouble, but it’s true. I judge people because everything matters that much more. As a carefree unmarried girl I was rather live and let live. But I have kids and suddenly I feel more invested in the environment, politics, society. My perspective has changed. And I often feel that there are so many people speaking up for mining in biodiverse forests, firecracker pollution, sex trade, saving the oceans – how come no one speaks up about kids being brought up by strangers, who rarely meet their parents and are just another slot in a busy day, kids who are encouraged to watch TV all day, kids who aren’t taught the ways of peace? They may not be anyone else’s cause, but they are mine, and I will speak up regardless of what others think of it.

2. Mommyhood has taught me – that ambition is a polysemous word. At some point they were to be editor or a published author. Now it’s more about spending time with family and living a fuller life. I recently read an article where a young mother asks if motherhood derails careers. Yes, I want to laugh. It does, and it doesn’t matter. I can’t remember the last time it mattered to me. I want to live slower and wilder and freer and I thank my kids for giving me a chance to re-examine my choices. More money won’t buy me more time with them and a better school or more toys won’t give them childhood memories of time spent with mama. Editorship and the responsibilities that come with it can wait. In fact as I told the OA some years ago – I don’t know if I want to do that anymore at all. Does this mean I don’t want to work? No – I get to do the work I like, but I also like to read, garden, travel and do more. Don’t ask me why, but this wisdom only came to me after I had the kids.

3. Mommyhood has taught me – to love my body and see it as something with its own set of functions (barring my aching knees and my thinning hair) not a mere mannequin. From being the slim girl with the enviable waist I’ve become the woman who respects each part of my body for the functions it performs. I’ve learnt that breasts are not a decor accent but there for a purpose. I learnt that the collar bones models starve for, cut into my children’s cheeks and make them squirm. I’ve learnt that children  don’t see my thinning hair. They just put a bindi on my forehead and say – Mama, you look beautiful. And I am hoping that someday I pass on to my daughter a healthy respect for my body and the food I put in to it and that she never hears me pass up a bowl of peaches and cream because “I’m on a diet”. I’ve learnt to get up and walk that last mile and get a bit of exercise instead. I will not glorify stretch marks to badges of valour status, but I will admit that they tell a story. They’re like the rings you see when you cut a tree trunk. Each ring tells you about an experience, so do the grey hairs, wrinkles and the cesarean pouch. The chipped nails tell of days of bum washing, the hair escaping the hastily put clip tell of more focus on the two kids being bundled into the car than self, the sling bag across the body instead of a fancy handbag tells of the need for two free hands.

4. Mommyhood has taught me – everything that I should have already learnt – or atleast gave me a refresher course. Antananrivo, Rabat, Godthab and Juneau – I revisited the cities around the world. I had forgotten what causes lightning and thunder. But the Brat asks and Google answers and I learn. I have learnt rules of grammar where earlier I only spoke instinctively. I have refreshed history and I have no doubt that as he grows I will revisit math and science and learn so that I can teach him too. I am grateful for this second chance at an education.

5. Mommyhood has taught me – humility. Just when I think I know it all, I get a kick in the face and I am taken down a peg or two and I learn that I knew nothing to begin with. Sometimes I take the judging too far, or I discipline too much, or I push too hard or I simply try too hard. I want to be the mother who bakes, who reads to her kids, who is impulsive and fun, who has a career (hah!), who cuddles babies to sleep, who is calm and firm, who is always there, who never loses her cool… And then I realise that I can’t be all of those. I can only be the best I can given my nature, my circumstances and my support system.

I’m not tagging anyone – because I want all of you to do this with me. Do it in the comments if you don’t have a blog. It’s a nice session of introspection. I’ve done this so many times and yet I feel that I learn something new each time. Thanks for the tag, Monika! This was fun.

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32 thoughts on “What mommyhood taught me

  1. The first thing that struck me after reading this is Honesty…don’t know if you were always like this or that’s another thing that mommyhood has taught u.
    1.I really appreciate that you own up to being judgmental instead of getting defensive about it.
    2. I think learning that it is okay for priorities to change over the span of one’s lifetime is so important. A college-mate was arguing with me about how she thinks its ridiculous that I could never imagine moving to a city different from Bangalore 5 years back, whereas now, I am looking forward to a move all the time. she thought I was lying about loving it and saying that I probably do only coz there is so much instability in my life currently. Know what, mabbe mabbe instability is the reason I love the change, but what’s wrong in learning to love what life doles out to you, correct?
    3. aye aye…the one thing I have is “sexy” collar bones and u say babies don’t like those… aye aye  But ya, being comfy with one’s body is so essential.
    4. I envy u mommies for this. I have noticed that I have forgotten fundamental Math and English, not to mention science and History. Teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m contemplating of talking to all the moms in my neighborhood and asking if I can conduct a weekend class for their children…it could be dance or Indian history or anything that is good for children to know but isn’t taught in schools here.
    5. Recently a friend and I were exchanging emails in which she mentioned that though the world has a lot to disapprove of, as far as her decisions go, it no more hassles her. She says ,she is at peace, ‘coz she takes ownership for each one of them, doesn’t regret any of them and knows that she gives parenting and marriage and well life her best and in the end that’s all that matters. I was reminded of you when I read that ‘coz I think I’ve heard you say the same thing in your own words.
    Sorry for the long comment, I’m in a very chatty mood and have been craving for some food for thought. Now that I have resumed blogging would love to do this tag, hmmm :(.. any ideas on how non-mommies can do it?

    • Sure – the things marriage has taught you? I guess you just take the last big milestone and roll with it? 🙂
      Also – everyone has their biases – you just need to know which ones to tap in to. Some admit it, some want to sound perfect. Fine by me.

      • Awesome idea and couldn’t be timed better…Our 5th anniversary is coming up in 2 weeks….I’ll have it done by then. Thank You.

  2. Mommyhood has taught me to be to look at things from a new perspective and in the bargain I learn so much more – whoever thought rolling all over the ground would be so much fun. It has taught me to look closely at the ‘firsts’. It has bought me closer to nature and plants. It has taught me to prioritize my time and laze with my son 🙂 So, I’m off to go laze and weave stories with him. Goodnight! And yes, it has taught me to be a kid again – to let loose.

  3. For me motherhood has taught me to take things in stride. In the beginning it was always about being on top of things and trying to be one step ahead of the situation. But I soon learnt that it was not the way life presented itself…always threw curve balls that I couldn’t tackle it with the strategy of being on top. So I am learning to let go and live in the moment and handle life as it comes. Most of it sounds clichéd, but for me I have learnt it, sometimes the hard way. Life now is much more stress free and I am loving parenthood 🙂

    Also motherhood is all about enjoying the small things…even the white lies ;0)

  4. Mommyhood has taught me to be patient while holding poop directly from the tap and that its okay. I rather have it that way than my kid not pooping.
    Motherhood has given me a chance to be a wild child again, I roll/jump/sing/dance/laugh with my kid right in the middle of a supermarket and it is fun (why should kids have all the fun). Motherhood has given me a chance to make each and everyone in my family say ‘I Love You’, right from MIL to FIL say ‘I Love You’ a hundred times to my boy and they react with gleeful joy on getting a ‘I Lo oooo’ back. Motherhood has made me accept my own troubled childhood a lot better, I dont feel negelected/hurt/not having enough any more. All I feel is a sense of gratitude towards my parents.

  5. It has taught me to forgive and ask for forgiveness with a lot more grace. Each time my kids forgive me for being a shrew and love me with the same intensity as the time before, it takes my breath away. Really.
    Practicing it with them has taught me to love unconditionally in all of my relationships. Or at least, it’s what I aspire to.

    • Totally with you on this one. Being able to forgive and asking for forgivness has been the biggest learning of all. I’ve been a mean mommy so many times, but kids have always always been ready to forgive straightaway.

      • its not so much a mean mommy as a human being. sometimes being a mother calls for saintly behaviour and none of us are up to the constant putting of another before self.

  6. Patience and lots of it. It has taught me to ignore petty stuff. It gave sense of direction to my life. It taught me the value of time.

  7. Motherhood has taught me – patience and humility most of all . Also , a strange reversal in character where I want to slow down and savour life instead of being the manic do-it-all, be-it-all I used to be.

    And hain , those are names of cities ?Clearly , I need to get my act together before Geography hits me – a second time in my life !!!

  8. mommyhood taught me that never again will i be the centre of the universe. one year after i became a mommy, i am now at peace with this. but i really struggled with it when anna was born. i think that overall our generation is much more self-obsessed than the previous ones. so the sudden shift from me to anna totally spooked me. i think it really hit me one night a few days after she was born. it was the middle of the night and i was trying to put her to sleep and i started stroking her forehead and eyes to make her close them. till anna was born i would often complain to R once we’d snuggled in for the night that i couldn’t sleep. he’d stroke my forehead till i’d finally close my eyes. i realised that night that this might never happen again. that the role was reversed and i was permanently in care-giver position now. i think i almost cried then. but a year later mommyhood has also taught me that the feeling when anna sleeps in my arms can’t be matched by anything else. that being the care-giver is not so bad :). sorry for rambling.

  9. I agree…being one of the toppers in school and not working does pinch me sometimes but being there for the kids always and forever compensates .I love the line that says money cant buy them all the precious moments.

  10. Yes we’d done this tag. I remember!

    I’m going to dig it out from my old blog and see what I wrote then!

  11. I think this is a great topic and post- very introspective madmomma!

    I think judging people is the most interesting (and nicely controversial point that you made).

    There is so much ‘grey’ in the world, sometimes things are black and white, we don’t always need to second guess ourselves. Gut instinct or first impressions are often surprisingly good,assuming you already have a decent track record of picking pathways through life!! I think this stems from the developmental years between probably 5 and 10 when all our core values and morals are learnt. I used to thnk the teenage years are most important but they are far more about pushing boundaries and discovering yourself rather than changing or learning core values. It just shows that you need the parental influence (as you said, don’t just rely on the babysitter!). Make parent – kid time count.

    Going back to using judgements to make decisions, I am a strong believer that if someone is acting strangely or doing something strange- they probably are strange!! Take a wide berth! Without being overly serious, why put yourself in the path of an axe murderer if you can just trust your instinct and walk around. This becomes far more important as you grow up, have kids and realise that you need to look out for the collective and family wellbeing!

    You have history and life experience on your side and this deserves others respect and gives you the legitimacy to guide your child’s experience of the world and provide a pathway into the future.

    This also makes me think about a topic I recently posted about which is all over the news in Australia. The topic is planking.

    Has this reached India or already been dismissed as a fad and the next great thing been discovered.

    I would love to hear from all you readers on this controversial topic and whether it is just plain silly or something that workplaces and governments should be getting involved in and making judgements on.

    Please see my Tuesday 24 May post if you are interested and leve a comment!!!
    If you don’t know what planking is- please alsohave a look.
    You have to be one step ahead of your kids!!

    http://beourbest.blogspot.com/

  12. Beautiful is the word for this post. It’s amazing to read this tag across blog world, and see how different yet how similar the learnings of different mommies are.

    The first comment – about non-mommies doing a tag on what marriage has taught them – has put me in a rather introspective mood. Plan to do it after a bit of deep thinking. 😀

  13. Pingback: Life’s little lessons | Musings

      • **looks embarassed** Hope you are not pulling my leg. I just gave the following keywords in google “motherhood + madmomma + wordpress” and it is the 4th page in the resultset

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