'Mom guilt' is a prevalent feeling among many mothers, where they believe they are inadequate and not doing enough for their children, and any personal activities they pursue make them feel like bad mothers.
This phenomenon can arise from the comparison between mothers who prioritise sacrificing everything for their child and family, and those who prioritise their careers and personal ambitions.
Sumithra Sriram (45), a mother of two from Chennai, opens up about her struggles with ‘mom guilt’ and how she became the “mother she never had”.
Sumithra was forced to quit her job in a public sector bank when she gave birth to her first child.
For many years, she was confined to the roles of a homemaker and a mother which made her lose her individuality.
She felt emotionally and physically exhausted, and struggled to find a way to deal with this exhaustion when social media became her solace.
When the world was struggling to stay indoors during the pandemic, Sumithra started making videos on Instagram and has now amassed a following of more than 45,000 people.
Her content is an honest and raw conversation around predefined gender roles and how a “good” mother is supposed to be in typical Indian society.
She defies the unrealistic expectations society has of mothers and says, “We try to do our best as mothers, but we can slip up sometimes.”
“Every mother is doing her best. If you feel like you’re not, it’s okay to make changes for yourself. As a woman, you have agency, and it’s your choice to lead the life that you want. No one can hold that against you,” she remarks.
Over the years, she has learned to deal with this feeling of guilt. “I want to inspire women who feel trapped as I did once. I want to tell them it’s not too late to start making changes for themselves,” says Sumithra.