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When Mothers Feel Guilty Every Day for Wanting Time Out from Their Children

Mom guilt is a real thing that society has shrewdly skewed towards women. It is based on the roles that are patriarchal in nature, where the mother is unthinkingly regressed into expectations that are many times unrealistic and impossible to meet. With parenthood, most couples start to feel the pressure of raising children. This causes […]

Mom guilt is a real thing that society has shrewdly skewed towards women. It is based on the roles that are patriarchal in nature, where the mother is unthinkingly regressed into expectations that are many times unrealistic and impossible to meet.
With parenthood, most couples start to feel the pressure of raising children. This causes a feeling of despondency mostly among women. The feeling is whether she is good enough for the new role? So naturally she is burdened with the fear of being the only person in charge and to take the right decisions in parenting.
We still don’t have too many stays at home dads. And if we ever come across one, we fawn over the situation so much, making him feel and look like the ultimate hero ever. Unlike a stay at home mother, who is forever struggling with the guilt of wanting to return back to work, or find peace in raising her child and giving up her economic freedom.
Guilt is like the omnipresent siren that starts buzzing in a woman’s head at the slightest touch of the button.
It is at two layers for most women. One can be of the neurotic type, where women can go bonkers managing her changed body, her child’s colic and the sleepless nights. At another level mothers are always worried about the quality of time that they spend with their growing children. Is it enough remains the perennial question?
Fathers on the other hand are very rarely asked how they find the balance between family and career? This glaring inequality is not only sexist but also another way for women to constantly question her decision on what is the way ahead towards becoming the perfect mother. Giving up her dreams and career is viewed as the obvious choice.
This guilt is less discussed as women are discouraged to speak openly about her issues in society. Plus the associated shame attached to the feeling. Women are expected to fall in love with their children at the first sight and remain committed to the role till she is alive.
Most mothers feel lesser to even acknowledge feelings of guilt, anger and sadness with childbirth.
The cause of anxiety among working mothers is across countries and cultures. Most women agree that it is daunting to find help that one can trust to leave her child with if she chooses to pursue her career. The constant sense of helplessness is for real when in a family, the mothers are also providers. She needs to understand that with her work files she will also carry her large file of guilt that remains buried in her mind for not being there for her growing children.
For many mothers the decision to give up economic independence becomes a very difficult decision to make. Every day is a battle with the self and the world at large that never quite understands the dilemma.
It requires much self-control to not question the house help who comes at a price and is willing to fill a mother’s shoes to look after the child. So mothers naturally adapt, that worrying is part of the everyday anxiety to bring up children.
In India, 13 million households are headed by lone mothers who live alone with their children, while another 32 million lone mothers live in extended households. In extended households, the elders might sometimes chip in to help a new mother. But one shudders to think of how a single mother processes her feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression and finding the right balance?
Talking to Rekha Murthy, a young stay at home mother in Bangalore said “I am always worried about my son, as he has allergies and being the sole caregiver for my child, it gets very difficult with the doctor’s appointments, his school tuitions and my ailing in laws. I barely get any time to think about myself. It angers me that I have a PG degree in science. All now I do is cook, clean and wait for my child to return from school. My mother said that this is a phase and once my son grows older it will only get easier. But I still have a long way ahead and time passes very slow somedays. I miss my friends, my freedom and my life as a college student”.

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