Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's day in lock down!

If there’s anyone on the domestic front who is by far the worst affected by the lock down, it is the mom – be it stay-at-home or part-time/full-time professional – all are in fact working moms! With “stay home stay safe” being the ubiquitous mantra these days….home has turned into a workplace, day-care, summer camp, online-classroom, binge-watching-entertainment centre,  throwback-mythological-drama-driven-holy space, a 24/7 eatery all rolled into one – and who’s still responsible for keeping it together? “Amma..amma” is the constant chatter I hear from my soon to-be-five year old as I try to write this in between finishing up some pending drafts of petitions to be filed as soon as regular courts reopen at the end of the lock down (whenever that is!) As we try to grapple with household chores, cooking, tending to young kids, (with a little help from our spouses of course) while working full time/part time at our third party jobs (at jobs when working from home is possible), blurring the lines that separate work from home thus robbing us of our distinct identities, all of which now seem to merge into one – of that of a lock down mommy!  Personally, motherhood is certainly a joy to take on, but it is also true that motherhood isn’t all of me and I am pretty sure that I don’t want it to be! But I am also a little hesitant to admit it, as our culture elevates mothers to a Goddess-like stature, being the ultimate destination for an Indian woman.  Frankly, I don’t want to be a goddess!  I am only human and I want my own share of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ days as a mommy without having to feel especially guilty about the “bad’ days! On this mother’s day, apart from all the admiration and appreciation for the maternal bond, I wish we could be more tolerant and non-judgemental about the mommy-meltdowns too!

Apart from being moms, most of us women have our own little happy places untouched by our mommy-selves that we cherish – be it work or a certain me-time at home, or a class we enrol into, or a hobby or an activity we take up, or catching up with our own buddies or a yester-year serial /video/book/ dress we watch, read or wear just to feel if “that little girl’ is still in us…don’t we? Now suddenly, we find that the lockdown owing to the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended (albeit temporarily) everything and our own happy place seems to have been invaded by our all-pervading identity of being a “mom”!  I’m not sure if its only me or  is there anyone else who feels the same, if you do, please give a shout-out so that I know I’m not the only weird one! 😊

As I spend the first few hours of mother’s day with my mom at her farm Shristi at Dharmasthala where we travelled to on a two-way inter-district pass in order to pick up our son, Abhay who in his own words has had “the best summer ever” away from home, I now dread having to manage two kids for the rest of the lockdown! For mother’s day in advance, we picked an old favourite (from one of my own happy places Kutoohala) “I love my baby Because…..” a picture book by Paulina Simons and illustrated by Cassia Thomas,  which almost serves as a reminder for us moms as to why we are who we are! This delightfully endearing book beautifully describes the everyday adventures in mommy-hood, the light hearted humour depicted in the illustrations that are quite the opposite of the narration and a realistic portrayal of how things actually pan out when you involve young kids!  It is probably the mommy’s wishful thinking as she says “I Love by baby because ..she dresses herself. She feeds herself breakfast ..”… and as you can imagine, the little girl is shown doing her own version of  “dressing herself and eating breakfast”! The whole day goes by as the little girl “helps’ mommy with the household chores in her own way (Seriously, the mommy in the book is too good to be true!) and despite all the exhaustion, the mother can only feel unending love and warmth as she cuddles her daughter close at bedtime and ends up falling asleep herself! Feels familiar…doesn’t it? Happy mother’s day to all mommies!

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