This is my story. A 34-year-old mother of one, who dotes on her daughter, but secretly wishes she wasn’t a mum. Should I be crucified for it? Perhaps not!
Let’s be honest. Wait. Let ME be honest (I may as well talk for myself, eh!). So, it’s not that I don’t love my child. It would be really sad if I had to justify my love for her. However, there have been instances, a zillion of them, when I felt I wish I wasn’t a mother. The regret is not about having THIS bundle of joy. Instead, the regret is about being a mother, to begin with.
As much as I understand that this article may not go down well with many, after having spoken to quite a few mothers, I have come to realise that my ilk too, exists. We love our offsprings fiercely. However, there’s that tinge of regret… that makes us wonder, what if we weren’t mothers. Some of the regrets that I have are here:
- What’s my identity? Since I have become a mother, it looks like I have stopped existing. Suddenly, I am ‘just’ a mother. I’m no longer an independent woman, who works alongside her husband, figuring out the bread and butter in our lives. While I have found a new identity, I wish it wouldn’t hide or overtake all the other things that I am.
- Where’s my life? As my mum rocked my 10-day-old baby, she noticed I was on the phone with my best friend. As soon as I hung up, she said, “Stop wasting your time on these things. Now you are a mother and you must focus on your baby.” I didn’t know what to say. I had just turned 26. I myself felt like a young girl. Suddenly you want me to stop living the way I did, and focus my life around this blob of flesh? I had nothing but love overflowing for her. However, the fact that my mother (and a series of ‘well-meaning’ family and friends) felt that way, made me regret being a mother.
- Worried for the rest of my life (whatever's left of it, that is!): Not a minute goes by when I am not worried about my child. Call me paranoid, but when I'm away at work, I wonder if she is eating alright, whether she managed to get a place to sit on the school bus, whether she is getting bullied by the big girls there, and the list goes on. It's like there's a ticking bomb in my head, which can explode any minute. In the middle of work, as soon as I see a call from home, I have my radars up. Now, imagine living like this for the rest of my life. Exhausting, no?
- Am I maternal enough? When I hear statements like 'I'm so proud of my baby' or 'Motherhood completes me', I wonder why I don't resonate with that. Right now I'm looking at my single friend who is planning a two-week trip to Iceland, and I'm mighty jealous. For me, even planning an overnight stay at my besties place is a struggle. Statements like "Mumma, why can't I come?", "Mumma, will you come tomorrow?", "Love, you will be back by lunchtime, right?" start playing in my ears as my daughter and husband buzz around me. For that singular moment, I wonder what I got myself into. Do I even have any maternal instincts considering that I am just looking for ways to escape to La La Land?
- Work-life imbalance: I feel, a work-life balance exists only for people who can afford to have sufficient house help, nannies, chauffeurs and the likes. For a middle-class or upper-middle-class family, these are usually luxuries way beyond their means. If the daily commute to office and back doesn't drain you off, coming home to cook, clean and deal with the child's homework will make sure you have not a drop of energy left. Where's the balance? As I look around, I see my friends with no kids living an almost stress-free life. They need not worry about fixing healthy meals, checking homework, saving for their child's college, ensuring the child doesn't fall sick and if sick, ensuring the child gets better. The list is endless. Where's the balance?
The fact that I can't go sleep without kissing her good night; that when I watch her strut around in my high heels, I have this intense urge to hug her (and I do); that no matter how cluttered my day gets, an 'I-love-you-mumma' from her makes me feel like I must be doing SOMETHING right. Ironically enough, that far overpowers this regret I live with. Sigh!
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