If I had to summarize my take on how my perspective on motherhood has changed and formed since I actually became one, I’d say being a mother is an extension to my world, not a limitation to my life.
When I had not had a child, I realize that one prominent factor that differentiates one kind from another is the fact that some of us choose to delay motherhood due to work, while the others delay work due to motherhood. While of course we do realize how both of these are answers to who we are and what we do, therefore being two major factors that shape a woman.
Remember those Yes or No algorithm charts we studied in school? the ones that looked like this image on the right.
Sadly in our part of the world (the desis), some people consider having a child as the stop sign for women. Are you a woman? YES. Are you married? YES. Have you produced babies yet? NO.
And no matter what options follows after that, you are sent back to the third question. Are you married and have babies yet? And one day you click YES. Guess what usually follows after that in a standard frame of mind? STOP.
Ting Ting Ting Congratulations you have reached your sole purpose, you are now too occupied/old/devoted/confined/limited to have any more action in your life.
Gladly and proudly I have a different take on motherhood, thanks to experiencing one at an early age. okay, relatively early age.
One and a half year ago, I was blessed with my bundle of joy. I was in my mid twenty then honestly for a few days I did feel that life has come to a pause. It just wouldn’t move beyond the vicious circle I was stuck in. Of the many post-delivery trips we had to make to the hospital due to either myself or my baby not feeling well, I was fortunate enough to bump into a random woman I don’t even know the name of, who said something that shaped up my new mind-set to life. She was a child psychologist from the UK visiting relatives in Pakistan, and upon seeing me look tensed she told me no matter what medical issue you are here at the hospital for, remember to keep calm. Keep calm for your baby, he can sense it, and the sad or happy hormones can be transferred to him while you feed him. That is just how the mental and physical bond works between a child and a mother.
Fast forward to moving back to home in UAE and having a new born all to myself, I realized how my child was no more a stranger to me, but motherhood surely was. What to do? Where to start?
Slowly and steadily I started getting a hang of it. Months passed and from being unpleasantly busy, I was now pleasantly occupied. I learnt the skills of managing time, prioritizing, completing tasks, being flexible, ignoring failures, trying again, smiling through pressures, bonding with humans and most of all, valuing time. Despite acquiring education from the top business schools back home, observing cultures of big firms through internships and having a fast-paced job at an advertising firm, I felt like I have never in my life been so productive.
Since now I was a more active person, I would often sit down and strategically plan my free time when the little one sleeps, tasks I would get done the next day, and places I’d discover with my family the coming weekends. I often thought about whether I wanted to resume job or not, and the answer so far has been ‘yes, but a little later’. For now I chose to enjoy the little things in life. The finer things in life.
Staying at home I planned my days well enough to get done with basic chores, feeding, playing, bathing my son and putting him to sleep in the afternoon so I could find my ‘me-time’ till my other half returns. While of course motherhood is a full time job, I now had 3 hours daily to take a break and find another job that pays me in something or the other. I now had time to paint, to write and to read. All that I didn’t find time for in the past few years. While reading and writing paid me in self-discovery and contentment and the satisfaction of being opinionated and informed; Painting made me live my childhood dream. I always wanted to be an artist, everyone is, but I always wanted to be appreciated for my skills I knew I had since childhood. And hey, I was still able to earn. So that’s a plus.
This way despite being a mother, I am never truly disconnected with the child in myself. The reason I call motherhood an ‘art’ in itself is because looking back to the last one and a half years of it, I realized how blessing me with an opportunity to be a mother, God never really said ‘STOP’. He gave me a canvas to start afresh, choose the colors I like, paint it at my own speed, let it decorate my own life and be appreciated by folks around me time to time.
I am often still asked how I manage with a child. And I always tell everyone that its only after having a child that I realized the true potential I hold as a woman to get things done. We are more capable than we know. Its all about the choices we make that shape us, or break us.
I urge all mothers to take a break, take their own decisions and maintain their sanity by finding their me-time. Its never selfish on your part. I look at it as an investment into a happier future of my child. If you are not at ease with your life, you wouldn’t be happy. And if you’re not happy, you can’t impart happiness to your child. So do it, for yourself and for your child. x
p.s. This blog is not meant to let down a working woman, a stay at home mum or a woman who chooses not to have kids altogether. There is no right or wrong to womanhood or motherhood. It only means to urge women to find their happiness.