After an argument with her 6-year-old daughter, Ekta Shah realised her kids took her for granted and she needed to do something about it.
Parenting is a big task. No matter how exposed we are to the internet, or how much we learn from the experiences of others, the fact remains. And what works for everyone might not work for you, because we’re all different. In the end, we use our own wit and wisdom to overcome unexpected situations. I faced one such situation a few days ago, which whipped up many unanswered questions.
How does one cope with these never-ending questions?
I got confused as a mother and started introspecting. And here’s where I got.
Last week, I was arguing with my younger one for the remote control to watch the news at 9pm. She was desperate to watch her never-ending saga of cartoons, while I was prodding her to let me have a glimpse of the TV. A tug-of-war followed when I told her that it was my time to watch and that she should let me do it without any interventions. She grinned and replied, “You watch TV the whole day when I go to school.” I was flabbergasted!
“Hey, how could you conclude that?” I replied. I hardly ever switched on the TV or even slept after sending them both to school. She thought that after 8am, her mom was free and had the liberty to do whatever she wants. She can watch TV uninterruptedly and can sleep for hours.
I wish it were true.
But it is quite the contrary. This was quite expected from a 6-year-old. But before they (both the kids) believe this to be true, I realised it was high time I cleared their doubts while they were still growing up.
There was a time when the corporate world was my passion. I’ve always loved to work. The deadlines, work culture and presentations were a part of my life and I put my soul into it. The turning point in my life was when I chose family over my profession. It was completely my decision to take a break, to look after the younger lot. Mostly, this situation is inevitable when you don’t have any external support.
Time flew and these eight years of parenting two children taught me many things. I made incredible memories which I never wanted to miss. But as I see them growing, I realise that most of the time they take me for granted. Yes, I took a break from my professional life but gave my best in these years. They are a lot mature now and can take care of themselves, and if required, they can even spend a few hours in a daycare in case I decide to go back to work. I do have work commitments other than household chores. Sometimes I’ve to go out to manage those, but yes, most of the time I manage them from home.
The perception around working from home or that of stay-at-home moms has not changed. Why do people think her job is easy? What makes them take her for granted?
She will pick those empty milk glasses.
She’ll pick the wet towels from the bed.
What about empty plates after a meal? Of course, she’ll take them too.
Washing clothes in the machine is no big deal? Well, then why can’t you do it yourself?
Messy furniture, dust all around. Why do only moms notice it? Why are we expected to be supermoms all the time? Do we have a special channel to source all that energy from?
I must say the tag of ‘supermom’ is quite depressing.
How much can a stay-at-home mom, who also works from home, work? There’s no respite from the workload and the expectations around. With each work, comes more work.
Is there any way to cope with these challenges? Can a mom get a much-needed break of her choice at her chosen time?
It sounds difficult but not impossible. We can only bring this change by instilling certain values in our kids. Letting them know that their mom also feels tired. She also wants to go out for a movie. She also wants to watch her favourite show. And she is not available all the time, at your service.
She is a mother not a sacrificial lamb!
While this may sound like a rant to some, I only want my kids to value my time and energy, which I spend on them relentlessly all day.
There was a time when asking them for help wasn’t possible. But now that they’re growing up, they need to learn to be responsible. They can’t get the easy way out from doing household chores just because I stay at home.
Sometimes your child asks you to clean the mess that they created. But then, I would appreciate a ‘thanks’ after I do. As parents, it’s our duty to nurture them, guide them and help them to be self-reliant. As a mom, I am always standing next to them through thick and thin, but never to work as an assistant on those tasks which they can themselves do.
They already have a lot of leisure and facilities that we never had. They are lucky enough with the kind of exposure they get. On the contrary, this doesn’t give them the liberty to exploit their privileges.
I can’t let anyone take me for granted. For I do everything for them with only love and expect them to value me as a nurturer and a mentor.
(Written by Ekta Shah)