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Shalini Langer writes: How about a blog of the mother as, first, a person

Shalini Langer writes: If that didn’t have me thinking of motherhood and all that it comes endowed with, almost always by other people, came the US Supreme Court judgment telling women they had virtually no right to decide whether they wanted to bear a child or not.

Shalini Langer writes: The moral is that should you kids write that blog, do go ahead and recount all that I did for you — I can always jog your memory — but hopefully also remember me for the things I did only for myself.

Without us getting into how old I am, why is it that I feel 100 already? One reason of course is the mirror, a cruel, cruel friend. The second is what I have been telling myself, ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned an ode to his mother’s century and all of Motherhood.

And ever since I watched a streaming show where a mother of two small children runs away with an old boyfriend — as part of a pact they made when in college — for a few days of “seizing her life back”. In a desperate cry for help, she says that she loves those tiny, adorable beings, but that she never realised that having them meant that “she had to just hand her life over”.

And, she is only this side of 40.

If that didn’t have me thinking of motherhood and all that it comes endowed with, almost always by other people, came the US Supreme Court judgment telling women they had virtually no right to decide whether they wanted to bear a child or not.

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So, in the off chance of my two adorables penning a blog on their old mother, and on the off chance that anyone would be interested enough to read the same, I am putting forth some pointers to what motherhood looks like from this side.

You kids may have heard me say this already, but I want to repeat: no, no one “loves” staying awake nights minding a crying child, managing their tantrums, or separating two squabbling siblings as one is striving to compose a thought at work. We do it because, well, who else will. And, because, you know, it is you.

Most nights, I have dozed off patting you impatiently, too tired to sing lullabies, forget reading a bedtime story. And yes, after a day of handling reality, getting excited about a fairy tale you have read out enthusiastically the first two or three times can be tough, even if it breaks one’s heart having tiny hands pry one’s eyes open, or just watching one’s young ones finally fall asleep.

Your friends are always welcome, but I wish more of them would keep the music low, the drinking slower, and rinse their glasses. Modi’s description suggests a much simpler life. Since I can’t aspire for that, this is where you can make a start.

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Next, forget all those smiling, immaculate mothers on TV. The species does not exist. There is nothing a mother wants or needs more, than some time to herself. To let her hair down and put her feet up, before getting both fixed by an expert beautician on call.

Cooking elaborate meals, keeping the house and the kitchen and the closets clean, letting dirty clothes pass, and smile, smile — it’s all very well. We all try hard to be supermoms, before realising we’ve been had: no one makes a movie about them.

The moral is that should you kids write that blog, do go ahead and recount all that I did for you — I can always jog your memory — but hopefully also remember me for the things I did only for myself. As a person with not just needs, but also wants. Like sneaking out alone and enjoying it, un-guiltily, locking the door to watch non-family (politely put) TV, discovering ‘Me Time’ as a thing, and picking Maggi over a full-course dinner. One unhealthy meal never killed anyone and Maggi, not a hot phulka lovingly raised to a perfect moon, is every mother’s secret joy at the end or the beginning of any tough day — and let no one tell you otherwise.

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Let it above all be a story that I wrote for myself, not one by a head of state or any apex court. Should I be around at 100, and up to a celebration, or even a blog, dress me up in something sunny, lead me into the park, put on some music, and let’s all say cheers, raise some toasts and dig into some unwholesome delights. Do not let my false teeth come in the way, respect my well-aged nostrils and soon-to-shrivel tongue. Don’t cradle them in a bowl of water or bow before them, but just help me to my feet.

I even have a bhajan planned for when I meet the Maker: “All the hot girls put your hands up ’n’ say, Om Shanti Om”. Allow me to reminisce a bit, about the girl who loved the Khan. And her family — of course.

This column first appeared in the print edition on June 26, 2022, under the title, ‘How about a blog of the mother as, first, a person’.

National Editor Shalini Langer curates the ‘She Said’ column

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First published on: 26-06-2022 at 04:42:32 am
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