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I have seen a lot of mothers around me with very strange preferences. They tend to like what most other people won't really care about. Some mothers say that the aam ki guthli (the non-pulpy part of mango) is their favorite part of the fruit. Others say that they enjoy their food cold, even tea. Some say that they love getting up before everyone else does in the morning and others say that they love to do the dishes at night while everyone else is watching television. Mothers are a very strange specie. I mean, how else do you explain anyone finding joy in the most mundane tasks?
I don't think any child realises the emotions behind these so-called preferences, till they are out of their comfortable nests. Out in the real world, everyone is looking to be the first to grab anything worth grabbing - that college seat, that job opportunity, that promotion, that acknowledgement. There is hardly anyone willing to let another person get ahead and take up a meatier role or more importance in any situation. But mothers have been doing that since forever. Almost every mother I know has squeezed herself to the best of her ability to accommodate the needs of her child, even those that weren't explicit. However, I wonder if this is such a good thing to do, at least not regularly.
While it is great to find enjoyment and fulfillment in whatever comes our way, it is always good to draw a line with certain things and put oneself first so that even the children learn to make adjustments to other people's schedules and priorities. Simply meeting all of the child's obvious as well as unspoken/unasked for needs and wants may give the child a feeling of superiority from others and may make them unwilling to consider other people's needs.
I rarely hear mothers sharing with children openly about their own preferences; about what they like and how they would want to unwind. Isn't open communication a pre-requisite for getting what we desire, at any age? If we want to be heard, isn't it a given that we need to speak up? Even though selflessness, love and concern of mothers is a universal trait, it shouldn't become a reason for mothers to always be the one sacrificing, and worst still, always be expected to sacrifice. It is perfectly fine for mothers to express their preferences explicitly and enjoy their indulgences without guilt. After all, there is nothing wrong in being true to oneself. A child would learn a lot from seeing a parent prioritising their wellness every now and then. Additionally, parents can even invite their children to participate in household activities, share the load, be mindful of other people’s emotions and and look out for each other’s happiness in the endeavour to achieve a balanced atmosphere at home. The sooner this is done, the easier it is to set the expectations. However, it is never too late to start and there is no wrong time to begin working on our communication with our kids.
Mothers – Relax. We can still be loving, caring and nurturing without always coming in last. Try it.
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