Being Women

An Ode to My Mother: Celebrating Her Dreams, And Recognizing Her Sacrifices

The author reflects on her mother's dreams that she sacrificed and the societal pressures that limited her choices.

The Unconditional Bond

The purest form of love, or, shall I say, true love at its best, is the bond between a mother and a child. Has anyone ever wondered what life would have been like had our mothers chosen a different path? 

This Mother’s Day, let us celebrate motherhood, irrespective of whether it is bound to gender. Celebrate motherhood as a spirit, acknowledge all the efforts, sacrifices, and the individuals who may not be mothers biologically but are mothers by emotions, including transwomen and fathers too, who raise their kids no less than a mother. I completely relate to what Sushmita Sen said in an interview: “Motherhood is an emotion; it is not just tied to the biological aspect.”

My Mother’s Dreams – The Athlete In Her

I have never talked about this in length, but now that I am 27 years old, a thought that often comes to mind is what my upbringing would have been like if my Mom had been a working woman. My mother is a homemaker, but what if she had been an athlete, given her keen interest in sports? She loved being on the race tracks and was a pro in extra-curricular activities. Her medals, trophies and certificates speak volumes about that.

The Weight of Expectations

My mother has not just been a mother to me but to her younger sisters as well, with whom she shares a 10-year-old gap. She has always been the kind of person who would babysit her siblings and other kids in the neighbourhood. The scenario was very different when my mother was in her twenties. Most of the girls back then, in the 90s, didn’t receive much support when it came to their careers, nor did they give much thought to it. Because, in the end, you have to be good at being a ‘wife’, a ‘mother’, and a ‘daughter-in-law.

The same holds even now, to an extent. It is just that the pressure is greater. My mother had always wanted to pursue sports after school. But her parents refused, especially since the college was a co-ed school, different from an all-girls school. Their thinking was, What if something untoward were to happen? Later on, my Nani and my father did try persuading her to think of being a teacher. But she refused; that was just not her calling. This might be because her heart and soul lay on those race tracks she left behind.

A World of Missed Opportunities

Now in her early 50s, I ask my mother why she didn’t give much thought to her career. She says that the way she was brought up as the eldest sibling among four children and how her personality was back when she was in her mid-20s was entirely different. She says that being married at 25 and having me at 26, the thought of putting anything above me was something she could never think of.

She made me my whole world, her sole priority and took care of her household. She says I just accepted things as they happened and never gave it much thought. She agrees that she wasn’t that mature back then, nor did she ever place herself before her role as a mother and a wife. 

I am pretty sure she would have handled both her personal and professional lives, being the multi-tasker she is. I truly appreciate all the sacrifices she has made and admire her undying love for sports, singing, and dancing. Even now, when an opportunity comes, in the form of a competition in the locality, a cultural festival, or an event, she puts her best foot forward. Her eyes sparkle, her face has a certain glow, and she has a zeal when she performs on stage and the tracks. My heart warms up seeing her. doing well at what she loves.

How it would have been like had women like my mother and several other mothers, not sacrificed their dreams and the countless opportunities they could have had? The world would have been a much better place. Indeed! 

The Double Standard for Mothers

The irony is that, despite India being a motherland, it has a patriarchal setup. A child born is given the name of his or her father, but if the child does anything wrong or different from what society deems to be wrong or not normal, it is always the mother, who is the first one to be blamed. We also see how easily the mom’s guilt creeps in.

Appreciating Mothers and Their Choices

We refuse to see a woman as an individual. Always put her in the roles defined by society. Don’t judge women based on how they raise their kids or the way they wish to have a child or don’t want to have one. Even in sisterhood and friendship, the spirit of motherhood lies.

At the same time, spend time with the one who brought you to this world. Don’t dissuade a mother from listening to her heart and putting herself first. Respect her, her spirit, her soul and her body. Acknowledge her, her efforts, her sacrifices, her choices and utmost her value.

Sonali Swain

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One Response

  1. The Way The Perspective Is all that Matters💛 Cheers to the bond you Share Sonali🤚🏻❤️

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