THERE ARE NO PERFECT MUMS

7 May 2015 12:17 pm i   By Sirohmi Gunesekera (Teacher, Attorney-at-Law and Researcher into Human Relations & The Family Unit)

“Mother’s Day” is celebrated in May each year. Some children give gifts and cards while others take their mums out for a meal.

The newspapers, television and radio advertise Mother’s Day and the hotels and restaurants offer special benefits for mums! Most families have a special place in their hearts for the Mother even if they don’t celebrate Mothers’ Day!

Ideal

The average mother tries to live up to the ideal and she sacrifices time, money and energy for the family. From the moment the baby is born she puts the infant first and herself second. She has no choice for the newborn is demanding, crying non-stop if not comforted. But as the weeks turn to months and then years, the mother finds that she too has a life and cannot give in to the child all the time. “Am I selfish because I want to go for Zumba classes and try to get my figure back?”she asks herself.

Responsibility

Having a child means a dual responsibility lasting at least eighteen years and most mothers put the motherchild responsibility first. But wait a minute. A mother is also a human being and she may find herself becoming irritable if she finds that her own needs are not satisfied. In fact, there are no perfect mums and women have to work out a balance between seeing to their offspring and fulfilling their own needs. “Gedera Budun Amma” is the general theme with advertisements, teledramas and magazine articles all glorifying motherhood. The ordinary woman who gave birth is caught up and tries to be the perfect mother. She hears stories of selfsacrificing women and wonders why she herself does not fit the bill.

Research

I myself have done research for many years and have listened to the intimate life stories of hundreds of young and old men and women, teenagers and children. One picture that emerges is that down the ages, a stereotype has been handed down of a perfect mum and women have tried to achieve it. Even adult children complain that their mother had many faults and that is why they behave badly for they were badly brought up! Or they idolise the mother and try to be just like her! Even if the father was an alcoholic, the mother is expected to raise the children as best she can! The mother is generally expected to martyr herself and be devoted to the needs of the family. Down the ages, raising children has been the primary task of the mother with the father as the breadwinner! From correct eating habits to toilet training, the mother has been the primary caregiver with grandmothers, aunts, nannies and domestics helping out at times.

Forget

Once you forget trying to be the perfect  mum, you can have a heart to heart chat with your husband and child and find ways of coping. Make a list of your own priorities and things you would like to do with your life with no regrets. Don’t be afraid to say that you want to meet your schoolfriends for a good giggle! Do try to make your child independent and don’t run round in circles trying to feed the last mouthful of rice. Food is not the only thing your child needs and doctors now say a fat child means an obese adult with complications healthwise! Don’t worry about your child and just try to cope for the day and night. Besides,some day your child will survivewithout you!

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