Twinkle Khanna, widely known for her blunt, satirical articulation and sassy punchlines, often never desists from calling a spade a spade. This article is with reference to a recent video posted out by her on Mother’s Day where she captioned the video as:
“What mother’s really want for Mother’s Day but can’t tell their kids. So, what kind of mom are you —– the bad mom, the badass mom or the badass mom with a good posterior?”
In the video, she further goes on to say, “”I want to be free from all responsibilities for an entire day. I don’t want anyone to ask me any questions. Don’t ask me where’s your blue T-shirt, don’t ask me which bottle your dragging toy has fallen into, don’t ask me what is 15+73, don’t ask me what will happen to your A-level exams, don’t ask me what’s for lunch, don’t ask me when you can go and meet your friend Ishita, don’t ask me when the lockdown will lift. Especially when my little one, when she doesn’t get her way, looks at me and says bad mumma. Deep down I don’t think I am a bad mom, I think I am a bad-a** mom, though I have a perfectly fine posterior.”
I too came across that video during a casual scroll of my Facebook page and instantly identifying myself with the post which was capped with that dash of her usual quirky humour, at once shared it, since it simply struck to me as legitimate, rightful, and fitting enough for every high-strung mom, into any situation.
While many applauded the post, there were corners of social media that notoriously tried to tear it down as incongruous, harsh, and absurd. Some even went to the extent of criticising her, saying that she has “completely lost her sense of humour” and that with the kind of support staff she has, she might not be even aware of her daughter’s homework. One even went on to comment that ‘Celebrities have a liberty to say these things, besides the fact that she has a grown-up son. What about moms with a special needs’ child? Would she even think about saying this to her kid?’
Keeping every situation aside, as also her tongue-in-cheek humour, if one looks at the intent, evidently, this one is no swagger. What she did was to address every mother out there, especially the ones who are into that boat of no-respite from their daily chores and duties, telling them to take a break. While some are lucky to have a certain level of understanding from their families or could possibly even hire a help, we all know that everyone is not so privileged.
Though every mother, manages things her own way, we need to admit to ourselves that given our human body’s vulnerability to tiredness and stress, we all need a sporadic hiatus, possibly of a kind, where we severe ties from every kind of chore w.r.t our house, kids or even queries from well-meaning family members who are ‘trying-to-help’ (because a query directed towards us could also mean a new responsibility in the offing since they are seemingly unable to handle whatever they are trying help at). Everyone goes through this ‘Leave me alone’ phase at some point of their motherhood and family life.
Some potent questions that arise upon denial of these truths are:
- Is motherhood supposed to be a self-inflicted punishment?
- Is guilt (whether created by oneself or thrust upon by others) necessarily a part of motherhod?
We became mothers because we desired to cherish one of the most beautiful and essential connection to our life, by experiencing the joy of giving birth to our offspring and along with it, understandably, are also born the responsibilities of raising and nurturing our little ones. But are these responsibilities supposed to swallow our simple joys of life? Cannot we co-exist by sharing these responsibilities?
I am aware of a lot of couples who share and many, where the entire burden of managing homes, besides their office work rests upon the lady. In my own case, though I am dedicatedly tied up with my kid, there are times when I do need that respite. This is especially during this lockdown phase where distance learning and work-from home is taking its toll on us women. However, I am lucky to have an understanding spouse who, while working-from-home, pitches in with the cooking, cleaning, washing and tea-making, whenever he’s off from work. Whereas in our regular routine, we had sufficient help, during these times, we adjust, taking turns, while creating the necessary comfort for each other. Yet there are times, when I feel I simply do not want to even lift a fork, forget the ever-rising mountain of kiddo’s home-learning assignments. But I know that is not bound to be, at least for a while. I feel sorry for my spouse in the same way when I see him consistently busy and working. Come on now, rest is a human body need. So, whenever one feels over-burdened, we have to make it a point to inform the other and work out appropriate ways to either share the load or accommodate.
So, while we love our families whole-heartedly, it is no crime or least unlawful to wish for a break from our daily chores. In fact, a little bit of detachment would rejuvenate us and lend us freshness to carry on further, with better dedication. Verily speaking, it is only happy parents who create happy families. This applies to every type of parent, married, single, widowed, divorced or even parents of a special need’s child.
So, Mother’s Day or not, I would urge every parent to please take feasible breaks from your over-ornate life. Do not work to over wreck yourself only to feel eventually lost and frustrated. Remember that our children always wish to see us happy and joyful, no matter what, for it’s only this that imparts a huge positive impact to their psychological set up.
I know this is easier said than done because as mothers, we tend to lose track of how much we keep doing. But over a period, we’ve to ensure that we come to a point where our children are self-reliant and can aptly support themselves (at least this could be made possible by parents who do not have a specially enabled child). And for this, it is crucial that the children are groomed right since their initial years by making them aware of their responsibilities and the expectations of them time and again. Also, whenever we feel overburdened, it is all-important that we convey this to our spouses and families and work out on sharing the load (whether temporarily or in permanence) but communication is a must-do.
Drilling and preparing discipline and independence in children, is the toughest part of parenting but once this is attained, there would be no looking back, for which, both parents acting in unison is quintessential.
Few things that could be firmly followed with children are:
- Creating a routine for the child and insisting on following it.
- Pushing the child to be independent wherever possible, while being around to guide and help.
- Reducing screen time and encouraging hobbies
- Encouraging healthy socialisation
- In this era of online education, keep training the child to enable independent usage of laptop and other online educational resources (if applicable), while retaining parenting control over access to websites and games.
- Allowing regular play time with their friends.
- Instilling sense of healthy eating, right from the initial years
Few red flags which you should be alert to, since these could prove harmful in the long run are:
- Lazy, indolent behaviours of children, such as plonking before the TV set for hours or settling with the mobile or tablet in one corner for an indefinite time.
- Dear parents, kindly never clean up their toys (especially once they enter kindergarten). Ask them to do it else they get used to the expectation of parents cleaning up for them all the time.
- Encourage primary children to clean their bookshelves, shred off unwanted papers (of course, in the beginning, a few times you could help and guide them). Eventually, they should begin doing it themselves. This could be further graduated to sort out their clothes shelves as well.
- Discourage any kind of mess-making in the house and insist on keeping things tidy and well in order (I know that, with children, mess cannot be entirely ruled out but it should not become habit-forming with them).
- Ensure they follow manners while speaking to anyone.
Some of what I’ve mentioned might look old-fashioned and rough but in the long run, given the fact that we parents are slowly but surely going to fade away from our children’s lives, it’s only these habits that are going to shape them and keep them up as healthy, happy individuals.
As for parents, it would take months or even years of toil to build this kind of a discipline in their children but once done, it’s certainly going to be an achievement, for in the end I’m sure it’d bring in rich rewards in terms of satisfaction of seeing well-brought up children who are self-standing and have the ability to sustain themselves by making healthy use of their independence. This, in today’s times would be just “the boon”.
Given the above, Twinkle’s words come out as candid, accurate and well-meant. I could not detect any underlying caprice or conceit when she spoke them, as in the long run, only this is going to work out well for every member of our family.