Seriously? Is motherhood a thankless job? For the most part I agree. Well, I actually agree wholeheartedly — otherwise, I cannot explain, why I continue to pick up the wet towel from the bed despite threatening Sid that I would leave it there to stink. Of course, Sid doesn’t even acknowledge that I pick up the towel.
The more I think, the more I am convinced. It is true. Nobody prepares you to become a parent. People paint this glorified picture of pink gurgling babies in the arms and they forget to mention that it also involves losing some good nights’ sleep or missing out on a peaceful meal or about the long and stinky relationship with the diapers.
I found out well into my journey as a mother that, I had unwittingly signed an agreement for being forever responsible. Sid had to be fed, clothed and entertained. As he grew older, my nature of work changed but, there was always enough to do. It was an increasing graph that got trickier and tougher.
Well, in a nutshell, motherhood is also exhausting.
The other day, I told my mum that Sid was giving me a hard time. I thought she would understand but all she did was laugh. “Sid is so much better. You were worse”, she offered. I didn’t believe her. Mum has a relationship with exaggeration. How could I possibly have been worse than Sid? Kids these days are the living embodiment of a ‘nightmare’.
So, I reasoned, she was just being — my mum. But, she went on to give me a ‘short list’ . As I listened, I felt a little awkward. I have heard most of them before. She said, I had been cranky — almost always. I had cried when I saw strangers, I had screamed when I heard loud noises and I had pretty much lived my baby days on my mum’s hips. This meant, I had not just been cranky but also clingy. My aunt who overheard my mum couldn’t help being part of the little conversation. She was generous enough to offer a couple of examples to prove my mum’s point. Most importantly, my aunt, pointed out that, I had also been a fussy eater! At that point, I decided, I had had enough. I politely agreed that Sid seemed to have an upper hand.
Later that day, as we ate dinner, I went over the entire conversation with mum in my mind. I couldn’t believe that mum could actually be right. Sid is more or less exactly how I was in my childhood. He was clingy and cranky. Besides, he can at times be brutal about food. But, I wonder how mum did it — to raise me to become who I am today. Those days, when, cooking was not so simple, groceries were not delivered to the doorstep and the lack of many modern gadgets — she had actually sailed through them all. How could she have dealt with no washing machine, no vacuum cleaner, no diaper or no house help? How could she have lived through those sleepless nights only to wake up the next morning and take care of a clingy and a cranky child? I had so many questions racing in my mind.
Finally, it all made sense. There was a revelation. I connected the dots and I actually understood my mother. My motherhood had brought me closer to my mum. So, I guess there are some things that are worth it and being a mother is surely one of them. Otherwise, I would never have known how much I love my mother. That said, I guess Mum is right – Sid is better than what I was. And yes, thank God for diapers!