Photo: Surabhi Surendra

On our way back home from the nearby mall, she fell asleep on the backseat of the car. I was holding my 3 months old infant so my husband carried her upstairs to our home and we put her to bed. Just then she woke up and complained to her daddy of ruining her sleep. We requested her to go back to sleep; I also patted her back a bit while my infant was rocking herself in her rocking chair but she refused to budge. Instead, she got up and went to her room. 

I followed her and tried to bring her back to our bedroom (she is seven and she sleeps with us and we will let her sleep with us for as long as she wishes to) but she refused and soon followed her tantrums of cocooning herself in the corner of her room and complaining of ‘not being understood by her parents.’

Exasperated by her cranky behavior at 11:15 pm, I let her stay in her room and came back to my room to tend my infant. Half an hour later, I heard her crying. My mind didn’t want to respond to her weeps but my heart couldn’t contain itself and I rushed to her. Wise as she is, she said, “sorry.” We hugged and she went to sleep at 12:15 pm. 

Last week my infant played the similar drama. She wouldn’t sleep in bed. In my lap she smiled. On bed she cried. On her rocking chair she sucked her thumb. When fed with the bottle, she howled. Tired and frustrated, I screamed at that 2.5 months old tiny being and put her back on the bed. Less than 5 mins later, I picked her up, cuddled her, kissed her and just held her. I deliberately decided to forget her feeding routine and simply held her. She was fine in less than 5 minutes.

My days are full of incidents like these where I act like the devilish mom who is a big failure as a mom and a woman. Sometimes it seems that I haven’t got anything right in the story of my life – I quit working to focus on my family; my elder one needs me but I am mostly tired; my younger one is just 3 months old and she needs to be breast fed but I am unable to breast feed her; few of my personal essays have been rejected by editors; my blog hardly manages to give me a cheque of $100 in two months and the content marketing company that promised me a freelancing job has put its work on hold for around 6 months! 

And on top of it, I am over weight and none of my clothes fit me anymore and even though I only eat 1-2 chapatis in a day and have cut down on junk, fried and sugar, my obesity refuses to leave me. Continual sleepless nights leave me begging for some energy to at least do the daily half an hour walk but often life acts mercilessly and I am exhausted, consumed and comatose by the onset of dawn. 

Motherhood, of all things, is the toughest job in the world. This life long job doesn’t have a pause button. 

There are days when I wonder if child rearing is the ultimate goal of my life?

And as stupid or emotional or cliche it may sound, the answer I get from within is yes! 

I don’t know if I will ever complete the book I started writing 4 years ago. I am not sure when I will take up a paid job again. I also can’t say if I will have the time to pursue my passions anytime in the future but I am certain of the fact that I love my girls. I dote on my children. They are my lifelines. 

I understand that my daughters will not love me the way I love them. After all, I am the mother. They are only my daughters. 

I know that with time they will part their ways the way I did when I left home for job. 

I realize that with time they will learn to disobey me, to find faults in my parenting and to lecture me on the concepts of ‘personal space’ and ‘dreams’ and ‘generation gap.’ I know this because almost two decades ago, I did the same thing to my mom. 

But I know that I will only love them more and forever

I am not a perfect mom. I am very imperfect in my own ways. I don’t pack fancy lunch boxes for her. I can’t make stylish pony tails of her hair. I can’t even spend consecutive two hours with her. 

But I can’t see her cry. 

I let my house remain a mess because I know she is working on something, even if that something is the dumbest thing in the world but when my daughter makes something in the house, the entire house comes to a halt. It prepares itself to be the lab of the genius that resides in her. 

When friends and neighbors complain of her shy and introvert nature, I only smile because deep down I know she isn’t wrong. She only needs time. 

When my infant cries in the middle of the night and right after I dive into sound sleep, I gently hold her close to my chest because I know that is the only place she recognizes. 

Learning lessons from my own mom (and other Indian moms), I take out an hour or so everyday for myself. I read everyday and I still pitch my personal essays to different blogs yet I mum-ditate with them.

Yes, I am an imperfect, lazy, unorganized, a little selfish and a forgetful mom but I am a mom and I am the mom my children want and need. 

“We may not be good at everything we do but we love our children unconditionally and that is the best thing we can do to them.”

So, raise your hands. Hug your children a little tighter. Let the house be a zoo for some more time. Next time when they drive you nuts, scream at them a little louder. Be the way you are. Because you are the MOM. And you are the MOM you children need.