The answer to that question lies with her kids. It’s true that a mother is only as happy as her saddest child. I guess that statement will always be a reliable gauge to my own happiness. And so, I have good days and bad days depending on how my own children are feeling.
When they are not emotionally well in themselves, it can be very draining on me. I try to think of the solution/s to their problems and if it’s something I can fix, I will happily try to help resolve it. But the very nature of emotional unhappiness is that it is a state of mind that might take much longer to put right. Moreso, it is something that, as a mother, I might not be able to resolve myself even with the best will in the world. I can guide, advise, listen, care and pray for the problem to dissipate with time and yet it may still never be enough.
In situations like this, I’ve tried to dangle the carrot and then berate with a stick (not literally) and have tried everything in between. There are times I feel I am making progress and others, when I feel I’ve come full circle. Often, I imagine myself on the other side of the conversation listening to myself speak and pre-empting what my sons must be hearing. It almost feels like I have to constantly stay one step ahead of them and be prepared for what they might say in response and in defence of their own argument. It’s exhausting. Those are the oaccsions when I have to take off my Superwoman cape and hang it up in temporary retirement.
Whether I have failed or succeeded in helping my sons through their volatile times, when they are on the cusp of true adulthood and trying to claim their space in this fast-pace world, I hope they will look back in retrospect and appreciate I always had their best interests at heart.
In the same breath, I will also say that I can’t live the rest of my life simply as the go-to offloading site when things don’t go quite the way my sons had planned for themselves. As much as I will always be there for them, I’ve made it clear now that there are times when I am saturated with their woes and my own worries that I can’t absorb any more. Ideally, this scenario should have been shouldered by two parents and I’ve been carrying the load on my own for years now. Not suprising that I might sometimes just capitulate under the load. In any case, I want my sons to accept responsibility for their own actions – or inactions. This is the other reality of claiming to be an adult. After all, isn’t that what they want to be treated like?
I do what some would call ‘tough love’. That’s because I don’t want to raise a group of young men who are totally unprepared for the world outside their door. I do try to soothe their emotional pain or worries but upto a point. Wrapping them in cotton wool will, ironically, make them fall harder when difficulties hit them. And hit them they will.
I also need to keep some of my reserve energy for myself. Just like when parents are instructed to place the oxygen masks on themselves first before attending to their children, so too will I now manage self-care a little more. If I don’t do it now, when will I? I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it a long time ago. If men can walk out without any qualms, which is something many women would find impossible to do, then the time to reward ourselves for our own selflessness has got to happen one day.
For me, that day has already arrived.
2 thoughts on “How Happy is Mum?”
After a child is born the chord is cut. That’s the job of the doctor/ midwife. However there is an invisible chord no one sees except the mother. Therefore she can never cut the tie with her child. This chord is pure love bonding and sacrifice which no one but a mother can understand. Hence in the faith of Islam there is great elevation in a mothers position.
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