This post explores motherhood and discusses relationships between mother and child. We understand that not everyone has a positive relationship with their parents. Should this be an uncomfortable topic for you, please do not proceed in reading this article.
Growing up, I was the most sticky child. I would wake up each morning before my mother would get ready for work and stay by her side, holding on to the edges of her skirts and whining pitifully behind the gates of our home, watching as she stepped into her car and then disappearing from my sight. I would spend the entire day sulking, waiting for her to come back. No cheer until she reappeared at home again.
A little after I turned 6, my mom left her job, abandoning stable remuneration and a sizable retirement package in exchange for time spent with me.
She was my rock, my anchor and my entire universe - until my concept of the world began to grow, bursting at the edges and the woman who used to be my best friend, my only companion suddenly became a constant, blurry picture in the background.
Why am I telling you this? Afterall, isn’t Mother’s Day about celebrating our mothers, and not about how children grow up and realise that while we love our mothers, we also have lives of our own?
Truth is, we hear so many stories about the sacrifices they make. Mothers. It’s almost as if the word is synonymous with sacrifice and selflessness. But you can only give what you have. And by some sort of magic, mothers often give and give and give even when they realise they have nothing much left for themselves..
We want to remind all mums that before there was a mom, there was a woman. A woman with her own quirks, her individuality and her independence. And to never lose sight of that person even on the never ending journey of motherhood. That even though it is hard, balance can be found.
We get to know Janice a little bit more when she turns up for our photoshoot a little early and we’re immediately taken by her son, Mr C, who accompanies her. His bright eyes and curly brown locks steal the hearts of all our crew.
Janice talks about her son fondly, and even during the shoot, we can see her keeping an eye out for her son - because that’s what a mom does.
“When I spend every waking moment taking care of someone who is wholly dependent on me, it’s easy to forget about taking care of myself. Tending to my needs is one of the best ways to adjust to my newfound identity. Do things that bring me back to myself.”
And when asked what’s the one thing she’d like to share with moms everywhere, it hits us right in the feels even though we aren’t even mums yet. “Mothers should think of other mothers as an ally, not someone to compare themselves to.”
We might not share the same experiences, but we all experience the highs and lows of life. Why not stand together instead of against each other?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
But in the age of social media, newborns having their own Instagram accounts and mums who share about their lives unabashedly - comparison is inescapable.
To Clara, comparison might just be the most detrimental thing for a new mom.
“There are so many 'perfect mum' stereotypes. For example, the world expects a new mum to bounce back in shape postpartum, complete with perfect hair and makeup- like the perfect celebrity moms and influencers on social media.”
How does this translate to the way she raises her children?
“I love this quote and always center the values on how I raise my little girl around it. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”
No matter how the world changes, and the societal expectations that are placed on women, there’s always some sort of comfort in knowing that mums are some of the strongest people we know. They are not just our role models, but also a source of inspiration and endless love.
We put up different facades when we’re in front of different people - but which one is the true you or are both authentic and just compartmentalised so you put forth the most fitting image for whoever you’re interacting with?
It must be exhausting for mothers who have to appear a certain way in front of their children - perhaps a little more responsible, a little less carefree.
“It wasn’t until I realised that I was different in front of my kids and to others. My kids ended up being confused when they saw me at work and in videos and that was when I decided to integrate and embody my personal identity as a mother and an unapologetic female human.”
Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal identity - it’s a balance.
Geri is a full time working mum (FTWM) which means she juggles the hat of being a mother along with the other responsibilities that are required of her at work. FTWMs are not rare - in fact they are the norm for a lot of mums today, yet Geri thinks that there’s still some sort of unspoken stigma for mums who choose to work when they have a child.
“The major stereotype I faced is how much of a "lesser" mother I am compared to a stay at home mum (SAHM). That my priority is focused on my career at the expense of my kids.”
But who’s to say that which mum does better, or is it even necessary to compare?
“Women are built to last. We are wired to be mentally and emotionally resilient. Set your mind and heart, reach for the stars!” You can be a mom and still be everything you were and everything you want to be.
“Mom guilt” is a term you often see on social media when mothers go out and have date nights, or do something for themselves. But why is it necessary to feel guilty to take care of yourself?
“It’s been almost a year but I have to say this is something that I’m still struggling with. I can’t find a balance yet. I try to set aside time to go out with my friends, go on dates with my husband, have some me-time, but yet at the same time, I miss Charlotte like crazy when I’m away from her, which in turn makes me feel guilty for not being there with her.”
You can only give what you have. And while words like selflessness are benchmarks we use to identify a good mom, maybe it’s time to change that.
“Seeing her grow and learning new things every day, and trying to figure out things on her own is one of the most rewarding things. At the same time, mums need to remember that while a child is learning, so are we, and it’s ok to shift the focus on ourselves sometimes - to witness our own developmental journey.”
Our mother's day sale runs till 9th May 2021, 2359pm. Go shopping here!