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We had gone to Benaras after celebrating diwali in Mumbai. We had to attend a marriage function and wanted to explore the city famous for getting rid of lifetime sins.
I,my husband and MIL were to attend the functions. Many close and not so close relatives were also present. The host family had booked a guest house and we were to stay in a big room together with some 10 Other guests. There was a family with a MIL, FIL, husband, wife and a 6 year old boy who caught our attention in just a few minutes of getting freshened up after the long journey. They were distant relatives and we had mixed up soon.
The boy was cute like any other kid of his age but ultra mischievous and very hyperactive. He was running around the room, moving the place up and down, shouting at the top of his voice for even small things etc. Though we were trying to adjust but as once my MIL had almost fallen down due to his pushing her by accident and another time he was just jumping on our clean well made beds with dusty feet we were feeling a bit uncomfortable. Still as they were a part of the family and due to courtesy we didn't say anything.
When we went downstairs for dinner there were other kids also of his age and may be some were younger to him still he was outshining every one of them in doing mischief. When we came back to our room I was surprised to see that many of our things which we had arranged on a side table were on the floor. Still I kept quite.
Next day also many such things happened and not only us but many other people felt irritated and annoyed but none had dared to say anything to him or the family to avoid any unpleasant situation. During all this there was a very peculiar thing I had observed. The mother of this boy till now had forget scolding not even stopped the boy from doing all this once. She was a charming lady with good humour and we had exchanged smiles and small talk on the marriage functions but her behavior regarding her son was weird. The boy was always found near his grandmother and she was the one feeding him, getting him ready (we were in the same room so knew this), appeasing him etc. Her mother was just like an audience to all this. Instead of taking active part in her boy's affairs she was busy handling other things. She seemed happy but there was something not OK.
Now, when my husband was getting ready for a function the boy came near our bed where his outfit was lying and purposely spilt milk on it. This was too much and getting on my nerves now. His grandparents and father apologized and we also kept silent but still his mother didn't utter a word.I decided to speak to her when alone.
During the function when everyone was busy I sat near her and asked her almost fearful of any misunderstanding or negative reaction as to why is her kid behaving like this and why is she not doing any thing to stop him. The lady reticently opened up and had tears in her eyes which she quickly hid ,least someone would ask something. I was shocked at what she said "I am a pseudo mother for Rohan, a false mother,not real, a mother just in name,I have just given him birth", I can't stop him else his grandmother would get angry". I couldn't understand what she was saying and sensing my dilema and confusion she explained. I had given birth to Rohan 6years back and have been with him just for the 9 months of pregnancy. My in-laws specially my MIL had taken very good care of me during my pregnancy and was ecstatic at his birth. Also they are good people and I have no complains in the 8 years of marriage except one. I am not allowed the pleasure of motherhood. I respect her for everything she has done for me but she has overdone it. She has full right on her grandchild and I respect her but she has taken away my chance of being with my kid, bringing him up my way and simple pleasures of motherhood. I am just a mother in name , she is his actual mother.
She told that once Rohan was born her only task and me time with her newborn would be to feed him. Rest all like changing nappies, making him sleep, playing with him etc was taken care by her MIL. Initially she had found it very nice and relaxing as after a caesarian delivery she could get ample rest and recover while her infant was being taken care off but after few months when she herself was capable of doing everything also her child was not given to her.
Her MIL had decided for his name way back during her pregnancy and Rohan slept with her, ate from her hands, got freshened up by her etc etc. In short her MIL had assumed the role of his mother and she was his fake mother, a Pseudo Mother. Her MIL was again living her motherhood days with Rohan and she was denied even the first experience.
I understood her situation and asked her that why had she not tried in the initial days itself or at least after recovering to take control of things. To this she said that she tried it in small bits initially but was always sometimes politely (mein sambhaal loongi, tum aaraam karo ya kuch aur kaam kar lo) or sometimes with a rebuke (tum thik se nahi kar paogi, bachey ko nuksaan ho jaega) was asked to stay away. Years had gone like this and she had not only not enjoyed that initial phase with her kid but also for Rohan his grandmother is his mother. Though he calls her mummy and sometimes comes close but her MIL makes sure that these times are very few and short. When she has spoken to her husband about this he had got very infuriated and said that "you are not satisfied with anything. My mother is so nice to you, even in her age she has taken full responsibility of Rohan so that he doesn't trouble you and you are blaming her of snatching your kid. Shame on you". It is impossible to make him understand this.
The result of all this is that i have given up on him and explained myself and accepted that for family peace let things be this way. I had craved for my kid's love and attention and my solution is to try for another child and am still trying but it is taking time. These 6years have taught me to mind my own business and am happy to see him grow in front of my eyes. I don't interfere between him and his grandmother. My only woe is the indisciplined boy he is becoming. His mischievousness is increasing by the day and though a mother loves her child, she also tries to discipline him and make him learn good manners and etiquettes but Rohan due to his grandmother's over pampering and lenient nature has become over mischievous and rude. She never scolds or stops him from doing anything least he would get angry on her and move away from her.
she herself is just a spectator and even when she had tried to stop him he doesn't listen as she is not so important for him. Also his grandmother is very protective of him and picks up a fight or argument easily over small things with any and everyone who complaints about him. She has done this with his teachers, grandfather, father, herself and neighbours and etc. So no one even dares now.
She said that now that she had already lost what was genuinely her right and place in her kid's life she is just worried and scared that Rohan if continues like this would surely not grow into a decent boy. He may become a bully, acquire bad company and habits, not study well and ruin his life and future. Symptoms of this are clear even now and she is unable to do anything to change the approaching bad fate of her child. May be she has not brought him up but giving birth to a child also gives birth to this anxiety even if the child is not hers now. But with a tone of frustration she also said that if her MIL has done everything till now let her also be responsible for all this. I could sense her helplessness and frustration. We couldn't discuss much due to the function.
But i was really sad listening to her story and wanted to do something. I knew she had been through pain since many years and now had given up to such an extent that she wanted another child to fulfill her emptiness and desire for living a complete motherhood and even if Rohan's future is compromised she just would blame it on her MIL which on a way was not her fault completely.
On the last day when the wedding was scheduled at night we got some time after the breakfast. I took her to a little secluded area and told her that I completely understood what she is going through but as she had shared so much with me I would just say that it is her child, she has given him birth and has the full right to bring him up. Bygones are bygones and now she must try and make her in-laws and husband understand that she respects their right on their grandson and is greatful for their love and care for Rohan but it is high time when they realize the need to discipline him. It is not about whose child it is, it is about the future of a kid they all love. It will be for his own good. Just giving up is not the solution. She should in small ways,first politely and then even if she draws a littke flak from the family should take some action. I know it will be very difficult task but I also know that if a mother decides to do something good for her child even God helps her and the inner strength of a mother is immense. Start spending time with him, try to come close through small gestures and try and explain the family your pain and concerns. So stop being an audience and come to the forefront and fight for your right of motherhood. You are not a pseudo mother, you are after all his real mother and now its time to become one.
I don't know her take from this and whether she would do something or not but now my irritation with the boy had reduced when I came to know that he was being brought up the way he was and I could just pray and wish for his good.