Editor’s note: This article is part of a collaboration with Rabitat
When a woman becomes a mother, she is assigned the gendered responsibility of being the primary caregiver, and this very process affects how she is seen in family, society and at work. If she is a working mother, it may be necessary for her to take more leaves to manage motherhood, which may affect her job security.
There are societal pressures that stereotype motherhood and mandate that motherhood must be a sacrificial act of solely giving time and energy to the child. Many a times, working mothers are even criticised for being ‘selfish‘, ‘unnatural‘, and ‘detrimental to their children and society‘.
However, slowly but steadily, things are changing today. Women strive to balance their career with personal responsibilities, and recognise their own needs. Over time, they have realised that the set examples and stereotypes of motherhood do not have to be followed to be a good mother. Many mothers today, raise children as valuable members of the society, while also maintaining their own financial freedom.
Mothers who are not employed also choose themselves and are honest about the ups and downs of battling motherhood stereotypes and gender roles. Aspects like post-partum depression, mother’s guilt and the like are being discussed more openly, which is a positive sign of the fact that we as a society are beginning to look at motherhood more realistically.
Mitali Jakatdar is a mom blogger, a hustling mother of two kids, a dog as well as her plants. Apart from being a fitness enthusiast, she is a travel junkie too. She admits that spending more time at the gym or travelling for longer days gives her mom guilt but nonetheless, she believes she should have her own personal goals and her own time.
“Moms also need to have a lot of personal goals. It doesn’t matter if you are a working mother or if you are not a working mother. I have my personal goals and I have shared this with my kids also, so that they understand my aspirations,” says Mitali.
Mother’s guilt or guilty mother syndrome is something that bothers most mothers all the time, making them feel like they do not do enough for their children, leading to poor self-image and mental stress. It originates from many factors like family pressure, societal pressure, social media projections, systemic gender expectations and unequal parenting burden. But this can be overcome by prioritising tasks, and setting stipulated time for the self and for parenting, as well as creating an atmosphere where both parents share the burden equally.
Mansi Zaveri, founder of Kidsstoppress was a guest for the Meet the Mom podcast by baby care brand Rabitat. Speaking on “Conscious Parenting”, Mansi mentions the importance of letting go of the supermom tag and the pressure that comes with it, and just being the human or person one is.
“Just pretend you are untying a cape around your neck and then take it out and just drop it like you are dropping the ball. When you do that, you will feel so much lighter, you will feel so much better because you’re not living either through your child’s expectations, your own expectations of yourself or the world’s expectations”, she says.
Today’s mothers talk about making mistakes and they are okay with not meeting people’s expectations. They are learning to be unapologetic about what they really want. Rabitat is a baby care and parenting brand that recognises the need to break motherhood stereotypes. Rabitat aligns with new age moms and strives to support them.
Motherhood is a journey filled with emotional, physical and other kinds of exhaustion. We must address how systemic gender roles and expectations tie mothers down, making it an everyday struggle for them to claim their personhood. We have a long way to go in this journey as a society, and let us hope that we can collectively remedy the problem through equal participation and undoing of stereotypes.
This Mother’s Day, Rabitat, the most loved baby and toddler care brand in India has decided to honour the tribulations of motherhood and send a pain relief balm to all the unapologetic moms out there, intending to offer them the greatest gift of all time, the gift of laughter. “This Mother’s Day, all we wanted was to gift moms a day off! However, that’s an urban legend. So, we decided to give them the next best thing, some organic pain relief which will take away all their aches and pains“, says Neha Sood, Brand Head.
Featured Illustration: Ritika Banerjee for Feminism In India