Being Women

From Disciplinarian To Playmate: My Second Chance At Life And Motherhood

How a mother reevaluates her priorities when she faces a life-threatening illness and decides to transform from a strict disciplinarian to a playful friend, cherishing every moment spent with her daughters.

The Diagnosis

I still can’t forget that fateful afternoon in May 2020. My husband and I were in the doctor’s cabin; the whiteness of the walls and the place had a strange gloom associated with them. The doctor looked through my reports and, in a grim tone, declared there were 50% survival chances from the surgery. I had been diagnosed with a rare condition in the brain that required immediate attention, and the success rates had been low till then.

Why me?

I stared blankly at the white walls around me, trying to assess the situation. This was impossible; I had just turned 38. I was extremely active and physically fit. Why me? I looked at the doctor and pleaded, I could have done anything, even begged, please get me well, I need to live for my daughters; they are barely 5 and 2. The doctor nodded and said, I know it’s tough, but I am sorry. I remember being very angry, just sorry. Is that it? What about my children? What happens to them?

A Mother’s Introspection

It was a day of revelations. I spent most of my time introspecting. How was I as a mother? My children had always been known for being extremely well-behaved and obedient; they were my pride, but to make them perfect or model children, I had spent all the previous years trying to discipline them. In all this, I had forgotten what it was to have fun and create memories with them. We rarely had fun; activities were outcome-oriented; I had made them my project and motherhood my profession.

Rethinking my priorities

I pondered, and I asked myself, What memories have I created with them? If this is it, then they will remember me as a strict mother, one who only cared for rules. Oh! How did I make this blunder? This isn’t what I had envisaged for my role as a mother. All those years, I kept thinking, This is the time to be strict. Once they grow up a bit, I can be a little gentle. And suddenly, there were no more years ahead.

An ardent plea

The next few days, I prayed hard, asking God to give me a second chance as a mother. And for once, I stopped being a mother to my children but their playmate; we played; there were no rules; I let them be, and we all enjoyed this freedom. This was invigorating.

The second chance

Fortunately, I had a successful surgery. When I came back to my senses, I remember shedding tears of happiness and telling my husband that I am grateful to have been given a second chance as a mother. There was no looking back; I changed my parenting style completely, while discipline and routine remained, but we infused a lot more fun and joy in our moments of togetherness.

Transforming my parenting style

I am their most competitive friend when we are playing board games, or their confidante when my older one tells me about the boy who has a crush on her, or their strict mother when it comes to completing school assignments.

The Gift of Memories

Just the other day, we were playing an association game, and I asked my children, Mamma, what do you associate with? My 6-year-old leapt into my lap and said fun, while my 9-year-old gave me the tightest hug and said my best friend. I smiled and said a silent thank-you prayer to the one above.

I honestly don’t know about the future, but I am living in the present and creating memories for my children. Memories they will cherish when I am no more.

Amrita Iyer

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