The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Gets One Whole Day Off

Don’t tell me it’s the most important job in the world, and don’t tell me it’s the most rewarding one either. Don’t say it to a new mother, or one days away from becoming a mother, thinking about becoming a mother, your friend’s mother, or even your own mother.

Or, say it if you wish and if you believe it to be true. That’s your call, and you most likely will be rewarded with a smile in return, a nod, an outward agreement. So long as you know, that as much as you felt obligated to to say that to her (because aside from that really what else is there to say about mothers, except how awesome we are) she in turn feels obligated to give you the response she just did, and probably gives the same to everyone who rambles such bullshit in her face.

What she doesn’t tell you is that she’s never really understood why people like you are calling what she does the most important job in the world. She doesn’t really understand why everyone calls it that, when they began to call it that, or when she herself caved and began to, and why the responsibility of that “job” rests solely on her shoulders, what makes it such a singular task and one only she’s been appointed to undertake.

She doesn’t tell you that she often doesn’t see or get those beautiful and invaluable rewards you mentioned, that everyone mentions, or why she’s supposed to believe they exist, is forced to believe that her toddler’s sticky arms wrapping briefly around her tired and aching body is the reward that will ease all her pain, when a lot of the time it fills her with comfort and love sure, but sometimes also guilt, fear, desperation, and many times, shame for even feeling the way she feels.

She doesn’t tell you that there aren’t as many of those “rewards” as you seem to think there are while you wander down the fabled and scenic route called “Motherhood,” while she’s the one down in the trenches just trying to survive. And, that when those rewards of cotton candy sky and maternal bonded bliss you see finally make it to her, she doesn’t always feel she’s deserving of them, or that they’re all as fucking awesome as you perceive them from way up there in the clouds. Or, that they don’t do all that much to soothe the constant brunt she takes from that most important job she’s been assigned to do.

The job if she so much as suggests is anything but what everyone claims it is, she’s nothing but an ungrateful bitch, or shirking on the God given duty she signed up for and therefore she must willingly do, always. Alone.

She doesn’t tell you that she really just wishes you’d stop labelling it as the most important thing ever , and stop spreading that word everywhere like some kind of service statement or slogan neatly slotted under the brand of “Motherhood.”

She wants to tell you that she knows it’s important, she gets it, and probably better than you do, and just like many of her “kind” do. She wants to tell you she understands what she means to her children and what they mean to her, but that she can’t always explain it, can’t always fit it into this mold you keep handing her, can’t always live up to her childrens’ expectations or even her own, leave alone yours or the world’s. And, because of all that, you certainly can’t define it for her as the most important/difficult but rewarding thing.

She wants to tell you, you’re being unfair, or maybe just not thinking it through everytime you give it the most importance, or refer to it as some kind of heavenly and sacred grace bestowed on her, a blessing, a gift she must always treasure, and especially when you’re watching her.

It is all that, sometimes.

It isn’t all that, sometimes.

Most of the time though it’s just getting through the week, the day, an hour, other times it’s a blur without thought, days and days of it when all she does is wake up in the morning and just functions for the next eighteen hours or more. Or, when the thoughts come, they come all at once, and they’re not always wonderful, some are terrifying, and some which make her wonder why the hell she can’t get it right, why she keeps pushing herself, why she doesn’t push herself enough? When it’s all going to fall into place, when it’s all going to make sense, or if it ever will?

She wants to tell you that there are days she doesn’t feel it’s worth it, that she doesn’t think it will ever be, that she’s lost and floundering, or just fucking pissed off with all of it, all of them, all of you. She wants to point out the irony that with this most important job also comes the world’s expectation for her to get it right straight off the bat, their refusal to allow her to ever struggle through it and without any training besides some bullshit phrase of “it’s the most natural thing in the world” The refusal to ever let her fail, to ever feel less than thrilled about her “gift,” and that if she does, she will suffer outrage, she will be vilified, condemned.

Sometimes she just wants to throw in the towel and rage at the injustice of all that, call the whole world a bunch of motherfucking idiots, she wants to tell everyone she’s done, that it’s too much effort for too little, that her husband can be a bigger asshole than the next woman’s husband, that her children can be disgustingly brattier than any other kids she knows. Sometimes, she wants to snatch her hand off that damned cradle and give the world the finger, and tell them to take the job and shove it.

She wants to demand to know why it’s not made so difficult for anyone else, why she is the only one given this job, held responsible, taken to task, stripped of everything she was, is, and ever could be simply because she has to be Mom and nothing else ever again. Always strong, always there, always good, always available, always trying, always… every damn thing. As if she isn’t a woman, as if she isn’t even human, a person who breaks, falters, hurts.

She wants to let you know that she is thankful, she does feel honoured most times, she does marvel at the miracles in her life, that she does keep going down the path of motherhood with more joy than grief, more determination than self-pity, more gain than loss, but that she cannot always show you that she does, and there are days she doesn’t even want to.

She wants to tell you that she’s not looking for “a day,” or to be thanked, hugged, understood, acknowledged or even patted on the back with a quick “Being a mother is the the hardest thing in the world, and you’re an awesome Mom.”

She’s looking for some fucking quiet time, a chilled drink to beat the summer heat, and free spa vouchers… No wait, that’s me. Sorry, carry on.

She’s not asking for your sympathy either, or help, your approval or disapproval, drivel, and bullshit. Sometimes, all she needs is a chance to breathe, and for everyone to just let her be.

So, let her be.

To all the lovely women out there who are not only, but also Mothers, and celebrating the day…

Keep it real, darlings, and have a great one!

Lots of love,

Anne

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31 thoughts on “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Gets One Whole Day Off

  1. Woow Anne , I don’t know how but you always the right thing. This message you have written felt like you read my mind and heart. Thank you so much for the thought.

    To all you loving women may God Bless you.

    Mwaah😙

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh God, Anne. I love you. I really, completely do. Will you marry me?

    Right now I’m feeling so completely overwhelmed by things around me, the expectations, the demands, the commands, the sheer force of the responsibilities that come with the “most important, the greatest, the most fulfilling” job in the world.
    And then I read this. You have so beautifully said every bloody thing that I feel and think on many days. Sometimes it’s the small things that make you feel good (a simple, “Love you, Ma. Good night” text on the phone) while the silliest things also make you feel guilty (like just today when I got so busy with what I was doing I forgot to stand at the window and wave goodbye to my daughter when she left for work). I told you — silly. But she does look back everyday for me knowing I will be there. So, guilty…
    And yes, there are days when I yell at all three of them (father included!) to get off their asses and do things on their own too! Find your own way around the house. It’s not so difficult that you’ll need Google Maps to locate your own things instead of yelling “Mom where’s my …?”
    And oh the luxury of just BEING. I’m going to be honest and say I sometimes enjoy those few days when my husband’s out of town on business, kids are out doing their own thing, and I’m able to put my feet up and get into the DW Lounge. 🙂
    So thank you Anne. You have echoed what I constantly feel “Just let me be. That’s all I need to rejuvenate and get back on the job”.

    And oh yeah, happy Mothers Day, ladies. xxx

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Ah. How I miss reading you, Anne.

    Feeling assured to know that there are moms out there who think like me. Where I live, the people in our social circle are quite ignorant in spite of having had the opportunity to travel and “see the world”. They were quick to judge me for the Post Natal Depression that I battled post delivery. The last two years has been a learning experience for me. While the positives negates all the negatives, I am not the kind of woman who will say that it was worth it. I am not a martyr.

    Every word of this post was as though it came out of my head. A very articulate version of it, though. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “While the positives negates all the negatives, I am not the kind of woman who will say that it was worth it. I am not a martyr.”
      Good on you, girl. Don’t let yourself become one — EVER. Remember you owe yourself as much as you “owe” your kids. Sometimes more. It’s the only way to retain your sanity as they grow older. Although sometimes they’re easier to deal with at 2 than at 20 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I am usually a loose canon as far as the string of thoughts is concerned but this time you took me on a very personal drive. Not a mother but there is something about this which has for once left me defeated for words.

    But what is constantly buzzing is this – “She doesn’t tell you ” , have we never truly given a mother a chance to express herself. We take her label for granted so much that we have stopped caring for her opinion on this and otherwise.

    I think she understands that she is “the chosen one” but that doesn’t mean the ride is easy or it is a bed of roses. As Harry once wisely put- these things sound glamorous than they usually are.

    Personally I think it’s a conspiracy , you keep telling her that she is living a dream life, someday she will believe in only that and she won;t think beyond the duties of motherhood. Subtle reminder to her that woman you are meant only to breed.

    Ah, still too emotionally choked with this one, i will leave you ladies with all the love beyond this day and also some silence. Take it away, it’s your time .

    You live it you, you know it .

    Big hugs all around. Anne Rockstar D, someone has already put a ring to your finger, there is a proposal written too for you but ,here, the poor me , has nothing to offer. No word and no heart. You have stolen both ages ago.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Anne you rock!! I think a mother is the most taken for granted person so much so that she often loses her ownself.
    I really liked when you wished all not ‘only’ but ‘also’ mothers.
    Lots of hugs ladies, enjoy your day!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Happy Mothers Day to you Anne and all others mothers reading here!

    Totally agree with keepin’ it real…I found I am not that patient with kids as I thought, after I had one my own…They just lure you in with their chubby smiles and cute puppy dog eyes.,don’t they?..Don’t get me wrong, I would die protecting him, but there are instances when I have doubted my decision to be a parent…LOL

    “Most of the time though it’s just getting through the week, the day, an hour” – So right about this. This is every morning for me. Some days it’s yelling for him to finish eating before the school bus comes, other days it’s worrying if he is eating enough and spooning the food into his mouth while multitasking with 5 other things.

    “… just fucking pissed off with all of it, all of them, all of you. ..”– Oh man!… I get pissed off so much at times, I end up taking a time out for myself and tell my son clear terms not to talk to me for sometime…

    “….the irony that with this most important job also comes the world’s expectation for her to get it right straight off the bat, their refusal to allow her to ever struggle through it…” – I have no respect for people who think this … Everyone fakes it till they make it, even moms…:D

    “She wants to let you know that she is thankful, she does feel honoured most times, she does marvel at the miracles in her life, that she does keep going down the path of motherhood with more joy than grief, more determination than self-pity, more gain than loss, but that she cannot always show you that she does, and there are days she doesn’t even want to.” – True dat!

    While writing this, I am telling my son to scratch the plan of making breakfast in bed for me (his dad promptly seconded that ;)) and hinting that may be I would like some long stemmed flowers(not roses) for my vase…I think the day is being marketed well at school; he’s so big on celebrating this year.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I just watched shaadi ke side effects and it gave me a an idea to try out a weekend or two days in the week ‘to just be myself’ the first time i did book myself into a hotel as stupid as it sounds all i wanted to do is sleep, hell if i did that, i was fully awake the next day at 6:30 am.

    I felt shit thinking why did i end up in a hotel on my own away from my 2 kids and husband.

    Feeling so shit and angry for spending money i confessed to my husband and he couldn’t stop laughing. I ended up crying.

    The following day my husband sat me down and asked me to explain to him what i wanted without meeting his eyes i said i just wanted one day back in my life where i can just wakeup and do whatever i want without thinking about getting kids ready for school, what food i need to get from the shops, clean the house.

    I told him to watch the movie, his reaction was funny the last indian movie he watched was sholay.

    It took him 2 weeks to entire movie, on friday before going to bed he told me that as a man he thought he was a good son, husband and father but after waiting the movie he realised that he was a spoilt bastard, never took time out to ask me genuinely if i was ok.

    We both agreed that every two months i can book myself 2 nights at a hotel and do what i want.

    We sadly as woman accept our superwoman role, not wanting to disappoint anyone when the reality is the biggest disappoint we give is to ourself. By making everyone happy we end up miserable bitches.

    I have a neighbour who’s 38 and has 5 kids, her husband until this day has never said to her he will be happy to baby sit while she goes out and lets her hair down. Each time she moans about her husband the very next day she calls and tell me her husband isn’t that bad. The truth is no he isn’t because I blame her. He knew no better and after getting married to her she’s gone out of her way to please him. She’s well educated but sadly she’s let her self go and rather than making a stand she’s prefers to cry and then bend to her husband needs. Sad part is she iron’s his clothes while he comes home has food and goes to sleep. Spending time with the kids is upto him she won’t ask him to contribute. If i compare her life with mine I guess I’m lucky.

    I’ve never called my husband at work to ask what his upto or what time will he return home because i never wanted to be a nagging wife but my husband has never failed to text me what time he will reach home.

    No one is perfect and life certainly isn’t perfect but talking to each other does help. Its another matter is we can solve the issue without having our ego’s hurt but after reading this I’m so happy reading everyone’s comment and I don’t feel I’m on my own.

    My mother always says its the woman who compromises if she wants her marriage to work i can’t agree to this thought because i’ve always believed its up to the husband and wife if they agree to compromise.

    Sad part of life is we don’t just marry the spouse we marry the family and family politics always kills the wife

    Liked by 4 people

    1. @undercoverhappy – You really did that????!!!! LOL… Where did you say you were, while you were away?… My husband would’ve flipped out!…:)

      Your neighbor’s story just reminded me of a supermom I know – my MIL… I would never want to be her, but she’s just awesome!…

      She worked a full time job, with her husband on tour most weeks, taking care of her parents-in-law and raising two well grounded boys – my hubby and BIL…I said well grounded because my hubby understands he was pampered by his mom to have never lifted a finger in the house to help her while growing up and yet helps me around the house, loves his mom for what she did but thinks she took it too far and is adamant that his wife will not sacrifice her life like that for him or our kid.

      So… She is awesome at being a mom – by letting her sons go and not interfering in our lives, being there whenever they need her & accepting me and my co-sis as her own (I am more relaxed when she visits than when my own mom visits)

      Just wanted this to be out there as an ode to all moms who toil their ass off and finally emerge victorious, even when we celebrate liberation and equal rights and entitlement for moms!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I told him i was visiting my cousin. I stayed in central London felt crap because i was wondering if someone would see me and what were the kids upto.

        Now I book myself for spa’s weekend I’ve got 2 ladies living near me joining me where we don’t discuss kids or husband’s. I can honestly tell you its made a huge difference to my attitude towards life.

        Husband is really good but can be pain when he leaves his clothes lying around the room.

        My husband does help me when I ask but recently we r following a rota and his getting an insight into how us housewives feel he said he couldn’t survive doing what we do 7 days a week.

        Wow your MIL sounds amazing but honestly my neighbour is a complete nightmare. Her father bought the house in cash for her. Her husband earns over £40,000 he pays for the utility bills but never takes her out or gives her money to buy stuff for herself she survives on what her parents gives and the child benefit she gets. Ive tried explaining to her that she needs to ask money for herself but she won’t.

        I’m being frank here she’s happy having sex with him and producing babies cooking and cleaning the house. I could understand if she was from overseas. She gave birth to a kid 2 yrs ago can you believe this her husband refuse to sleep in the same room because his sleep would get disturb I mean wtf if my husband did that i would have shown him the front door to our house with his stuff.

        My neighbour has also taken it too far and i honestly can’t see her changing. When I look at her I thank my lucky stars that my life is a bit better than hers and just like you my MIL is lovely.

        Its really refreshing to hear that your mother in law is not a typical interfering mother in law. My MIL started off well did try interfering but backed out when she realised that I will make my stand by just doing the opposite which was keep my mouth shut give the silent treatment and go along with it to keep peace. But when my brother in law married his wife was not so nice my MIL realised how respectful I was she’s become like a friend.

        I agree moms/housewive’s deserve so much more, we only really realise what a woman goes through when we become mother’s ourself.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s great!… I have never taken time out for myself…I don’t think I reached your point yet…If I do, I’ll think about booking myself into the spa… 🙂

          and yeah, I didn’t mean to say my husband is the best… 😀 He has his moments….If I start my peeves, I have a lot to say about him…:D

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Ha ha i look forward to hearing your story about the spa in the near future xxxxx

            I think Anne should make a post on husband’s no doubt we’ll all have so much to share and laugh about xxxxx

            Liked by 1 person

  8. “Being a mother is the the hardest thing in the world,” and a most thankless job ! but “you’re an awesome Mom.” is all that is needed to melt you and turn you into mush …

    “So, let her be”…

    Muah and hugs … love you Anne … you have made each and every mom’s day …

    Happy Mothers Day to all the beautiful Mothers here and in this whole World … will always opt to be a Mother if given a choice again by God …

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The whole messaging is so right on that I feel like it would be insulting to add anything more….but …when did that ever stop me. I think mothers ‘day’ is an oxymoron because a mother is for life….the mothers life and a day is just not enough…it should be every day, every minute they a mother needs to be recognized, respected and appreciated and not just by the child or the husband but family and society. What the heck……let me just wish everyone and say my heartfelt Thank you to all the mothers.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Anne,

    As I read the post, I felt tears welling up in my eyes…I just came back to Delhi yesterday night and I am weighed down too much by emotions which are choking me to another depressing spell…..Each line you wrote reminded me of my amma…there was a time when I blackmailed her saying that mother’s love is said to be unconditional..but you don’t love me…and all those bitter words and bullshit…I sometimes feel that I am an ungrateful daughter. Always when I dish out my anger, amma quietly takes in but then later when I cool down, I wonder why I was being such a sadistic bitch. I love my amma but I feel she isn’t appreciated or loved enough like she deserves..But she doesn’t complain…takes in everything..At times I feel like giving her a tight hug, wanting to express that I truly cherish her…and wants to tell her that honestly without her I would be lost…Thank you Anne for writing about Mothers in a brutally honest way…It was truly a reflection, you held a mirror here for me…

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I was sure you would be posting something regarding Mother’s Day & I was right, though I was a little late reading it! Anne this post did more to the spirit of Mother’s Day than the cards did. I agree with @septembermoon16 on this.

    Come Mother’s Day, & with it greetings, it does surprise me as I see myself as a person more than these roles of mother, daughter, wife, sister et al. These roles have been incidental, some out of birth, some of choice. However, one is judged more on the way one has performed in these roles rather than the personal ones. To be honest I’ve never been great in any of these roles, (I’m OK, ok!) & I’m not apologetic about it!

    Anne, you sure are passionate about a lot of women’s issues, & I envy you this energy. I concur with your frustration as to why motherhood is endowed with this halo, pure, selfless, sacrificing, wise, all knowing, sweet, patient…while for most of us mortals, it has been mostly frustrating, back-breaking, sleep-starving, thankless, confusing, never-ending (any more?)! When a family goes on a holiday, it is never one for the mother! I absolutely empathise with @undercoverhappy in the way she tried to get one… far away from the madding crowd!

    This however does not take away the credit from mothers who are truly inspirational & loving guiding lights for their families! “To all the lovely women out there who are not only, but also Mothers,” I second this completely…a toast to them! Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. oh anne, do you know mind reading toooo anne – I think u have read my mind perfectly and put it in words out with utmost perfection – the writer in you has brought out exactly what I had in my mind –
    belated happy mothers day to you and all those mothers who follows this great blog

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dear Anne,

    ha!…a belated mother’s day wish to the mothers out here…including you, i guess…!!
    a perfect collection of thoughts…a perfect insight to what a mother feels…
    thinking back to my mother now as i read this…
    a perfect reminder to give her the “me” time…a perfect reminder she is a being herself…not a super-woman all the time…

    with a peaceful ‘sigh’
    A daughter

    Like

  14. Such a long time, it feels like coming back home Anne. I love your posts and I missed your wisdom behind the awesome humour. I guess we never really appreciate our moms enough. What’s the use of all the wordily respect if it means shoving into their faces again and again the “Motherhood is the most beautiful blessing and you dare not be bitchy or ungrateful about it”. Maybe it is the most beautiful blessing. Maybe not. I wouldn’t know. What I would love to know is why isn’t there enough acceptance for both the ladies. The one whose life revolves around motherhood. And the one whose does not. Maybe both are awesome mothers. Or maybe they are crappy ones. But whatever they are, let them be.Their kids will decide it for themselves.
    Coming to what really pulled me back to the blog today, Gosh Anne, I dreamt about you today!! Lol and the funny thing is I have never even seen you. And guess what you were doing? You were giving an interview regarding what was your inspiration for the bestseller “CHAINS”. I swear I was fangirling even in the dream 😀 When I woke up I had the goofiest smile on my face the whole day. This sounds so obsessive 😀 Ok maybe I am stalker. But not in a creepy way though:P
    Anyways I really hope this dream comes true and I’ll sit and deja vu through your interviews:)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anne u r amazing!!!! U write beautifully… And everytime you write something, it echoes my thoughts too. All your writing needs to be published. I want everyone out there to read what I am great for having been given a chance to read!!!!

    Like

  16. It took me a while to read all the responses to the post, after I read your post [Anne]. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to respond – a part of me recognized the emotion underlying your words, but the other part of me felt very uncomfortable. I am not sure if my discomfort is from a space of guilt or just a reaction to the blatantness of what you said.

    I am a mother of two myself. Just in the last minute of me typing this response, I had to stop to respond to one of my children. I haven’t had any time for myself, even though I have a spouse who does share work. Watching my supermom friends, I have always reassured myself that I was not one of them, I was an imperfect mother, but a “real” one with warts and all. I also felt that “I had it good” – I have two reasonably good kids and a spouse who shares work.

    So, why does your post rankle me?

    I too felt like taking a break from everyone. In fact it came in the form of a work-related conference that I had to attend. Those four days, away from my kids and my husband, I was a different person. I was easy going, I had patience at stuff that I didn’t seem to have, I was fun to be with, I had my colleagues laughing,…. I liked the me that I was. Guilt followed this liking almost in the next second.

    Did I not miss my children and husband? Honestly? Yes, the first day – I missed them. But not so on the fourth day. So, there you go…

    I could write more…but I am not going to. I am, however, glad that I read your post. And all the responses to your post. I find that I am not alone.. in that, while all of our responses vary to some degree, we all seem to work through some form of struggle. So, thank you for this space you provide where I can find echoes of my own struggle in others and share in their camaraderie.

    –Mirabell

    Like

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