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Where is the Glorification of Mothers taking Us?

Jun 11, 2018

Where is the Glorification of Mothers taking Us?
Where is the Glorification of Mothers taking Us? | Credit: Vania Raposo

So, now that we are in June, Mother’s Day is long gone. All those misty-eyed posts about how mothers are divine beings and all those articles that talk about why mothers are the superheroes of the world are done and dusted. I think it is the right time to pause a little bit now and think of what all this is leading to and where it is all coming from.

All relationships in a child’s life are important. Right from siblings to friends to teachers, every relationship and every personality affects a child’s life. However, a mother is always seen in a different light because of the extra special bond that the child shares with her. 

It is 100% true that a mother is always a step higher than other people in the family because of the fact that she has gone through so much physically and mentally to give birth to the child. It is a different thing that a pregnant woman is looked down upon if she complains about any aspect of it. 

She is “supposed” to realise what a blessing it is and always, literally every second, be thankful for it. Isn’t that a bit unrealistic? Anyway, that apart, yes, a mother is special in many ways to a child. But that doesn’t mean that we should undervalue other relationships and infinitely overvalue a mother’s role, right?

The society has become so obsessed with this all-giving, ever-smiling, ever-sacrificing, multi-tasking face of a mother that anybody who deviates from that image is considered a monster. A toxic mother who emotionally manipulates or completely neglects her children is a bad influence on the child and this affects the child deeply. But, motherhood is not just black and white. Moms can be normal human beings. It is necessary not that they should either be gods or devils; there is a middle path too. It is high time that we come out of our bubbles and think realistically about the expectations that we thrust upon mothers.

Here are a few commonly ignored but highly real statements that need to be accepted by the society at large.

Motherhood need not be synonymous with sacrifice

So many mothers suffer from the martyr mother syndrome.

The sacrifices of a mother are so over-glorified that it has stopped making sense anymore. Apart from what a mother goes through during pregnancy, a mother has a choice to choose what she wants to do in every other situation. 

Starting from simply giving up that last slice of pizza to sacrificing her career to take care of the child, nothing is mandatory. It is ok for the mothers to choose and be who they are. The more we accept this, the less frustration and resentment there will be around us. 

Mothers have the right to set their own priorities

Again, it is a basic common sense that a mother is also just another human being who will have needs and dreams of her own that is not connected with her child.

Her world need not revolve around her child. As long as her decisions don't adversely affect her child, there is absolutely no reason that a mother should not take time for herself and act according to her own set of priorities.

There is no one single formula to be a ‘good mother’

A mother is not a category of individuals. Every mother is a different individual and is bound to be different in terms of her relationship with her child, her choices, her dreams and her decisions. It is not fair to have one single prototype for a ‘good’ mother and term everybody else as bad. A mother can take a holiday for herself if she wants to, she can leave the child with his/her father or other family members and share the responsibility of bringing them up with them. And, she deserves to be able to do all this without the judgement. 

Mommy does not always know what is best

Maternal instincts are another aspect of motherhood that is glorified beyond logical reason.

The term "mommy knows best" is repeated so often that it is assumed to be true without a doubt. The reality is that becoming a mother does not magically grant a woman the boon of infinite knowledge. 

The reality is that becoming a mother does not magically grant a woman the boon of infinite knowledge. Mothers often fumble in many situations not knowing what is right and what is wrong, just like the rest of us. Expecting them to know everything is an insanely high amount of pressure to put on them.

A woman’s right to choice does not have to get curtailed when she becomes a mother

“Choice” is a word that our society has to understand about; making an unconventional choice does not equate to irresponsibility.

In fact, what we classify as conventional and unconventional is by itself debatable. Mothers need to be respected for the choices they make because it is their basic right.

On the whole, the world could definitely use more acceptance and fewer judgements. Let us stop stereotyping people and start looking at women, mothers, fathers or just anyone as individuals first.