I have been accused time and again, by friends and family that I don’t just mother my kids, I smother them. An accusation that was hurled at me relentlessly and even cruelly, I might add, ever since the Elder One was born. My decision to not go back to a full time job was met with disbelief. “What are you going to do?” they all asked. “Simple, mother my son.” My choice not to keep an ayah was greeted with incredulity. “How are you going to manage?” they all wanted to know. “The way mothers all over the world do”. Crazy, stupid, obsessed, possessed, mad…these were just some of the words used to describe me and my choices.
Well, to all of them, I have always blown big, fat, juicy mental raspberries. And I’ve just gone ahead and done my thing. Now that the Younger One is in the picture, my time is even less my own! Again…those same adjectives are being whispered behind my back. For the love of baby powder and formula milk, they’re not yet five and two! They’re babies yet --- my babies! And it is my will how I love them and how much! Wait…strike that, because in fact, it’s not even my will. The love I feel for them is not in my hands. It’s powerful, it’s all consuming and so, so natural, that I don’t even know where it begins and where it ends.
I am their mother and they are my babies. It is my prerogative to love them the way do. It is my right to cuddle them whenever and wherever I want. It is my job to make sure that they know Mamma loves them best and that she’s always there for them, no matter what. It is my pleasure to hug them so close to my heart that I can almost feel them leaving their imprints on it. It is my bliss to snuggle in between them when they are sleeping so that I can bask in the aura of their purity and adorability. It is my damn business to protect their sweetness and innocence for as long as I am able. It is my duty to shield them from harm’s way. And it is my great, good fortune that these two amazing boys are mine and that I have been chosen to be their Mamma.
My mom, my parents-in-law, many friends and sometimes on rare occasions even the Man I Married, all thought that I was wasting my potential. I beg to differ. I think I’m living up to it now. I have finally realized what I was meant for. I am now the best that I could possibly be. I am not for a minute saying that I am the best mother in the world. Never! But I am trying to be the best for my boys. And in the process, I am becoming a better person in my own eyes.
And isn’t that important? To feel worthy in ones’ own eyes? At the end of the day, we should be happy with who we are and the paths that we’ve chosen. I am not declaring that my path is the ONLY path, but it is the one I have chosen to walk upon and it makes me happy. Not once am I saying that women who leave their babies at home and go to work are bad mothers and don’t love their kids. Some of my closest friends have demanding jobs with long hours and I know the love, adoration and joy they feel when they look upon their cherubs. Not once am I saying that having hired help is bad. I didn’t have one the first time round out of choice, but now, with the Younger One, I need help…and that’s what they’re there for, to make things easier.
There is a lovely Chinese proverb that goes like this – to understand your parents love, you must raise children. And I so believe in this. It is only after having my babies that I have begun to fathom the fullest extent of my parents’ love for me and the Bro. And I can quite confidently state that no one will love my boys more than their father and me.
That also means, that no matter how much I love the Man I Married, in big ways and small, in ways known and unknown, in manners expressed and unexpressed; at the end of the day, the love I feel for him is probably teeny-tiny and itty-bitty when compared to what the MIL and FIL feel. I understand this and I salute and respect them for it.
At the end of it all, does it really matter who loves whom more or less? Because it’s not a game where points are kept and big sackfuls of love are weighed and compared. It’s all about being loved and lucky enough to have people who feel for us the way they do. So when my boys finally do meet, marry and settle down with their significant others, I will just wish them love – everlasting, ever growing and ever true.
All I want to be able to say to my boys when they grow up is this – Mamma loved you best. In the best way she knew how. In the best way she possibly could. With the best of everything that she had. And she will continue doing so. Always.
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