While a lot of support is being extended to new mothers and mothers of toddlers, no one talks about the hardship about parenting a teen. While the first half of motherhood is physically draining the next lap of journey wreaks havoc on the mother mentally. Postnatal depression, postpartum trauma, are the terms used to describe the mental state of new mothers, but there should certainly be a term for this phase of motherhood too. Maybe something like “mothering-a-teen-syndrome”?
After you’ve raised your kid from the potty training stage to the learning to read and write and when you have just started to enjoy the motherhood journey for all that it has been glorified about, nature plays a dirty joke on you. Your child turns into an almost stranger as puberty hits. Well you can’t blame them, can we, as they are handling their own physical, mental and hormonal changes. We’ve all been there too.
There is no guide to motherhood, as every child is different and every woman does it differently. Hence there is nothing that can prepare you for what is to come. It’s all new. The cute little toddler you once knew is now changing into some sort of an alien whom you just can’t relate to. While there are several support groups for breastfeeding moms, pregnant moms, my-child-doesn’t-eat moms, school moms, there are hardly support groups for teenager’s moms. Trust me, this is exactly when you need someone to tell you that the child you had is never coming back. This person you gave birth to a decade ago is now a stranger you won’t recognize. And as usual, you will be at the receiving end of whatever they are going through in their life. No, that doesn’t mean they are going to confide what’s going on with them, if anything they will suddenly grow distant, want more space and privacy and come with rebellion, disobedience and rolling eyes.
This is when a host of insecurities creep on the mother- what did I do wrong, where did I make a mistake? You keep second guessing yourself. ‘Should I play the good cop or bad cop? Should I be strict or be like a friend?’ Any kind of discipline you may want to enforce will rub them the wrong way and take them further away from you. You will try your best to shield them from the harsh world and the dangers lurking there, but hello, for all you know they just think you are trying to exercise power over them. And now with the bane of technology, the easy access to alcohol, sex, drugs, cuss words, porn, nudes, etc. seems so frightening. You live in the constant fear that your teen may fall prey to this sooner or later. But trust your parenting. If you have taught them the difference between good and bad, they will probably make the right choice. Of course they will want to experience it before they make the choice though. And that thought again is scary, isn’t it?
Yep the struggle of a teenager’s mom is very real. And the only solace you will find is in the company of the mother of another teen. Your struggles may not be the same but the confusions, the dilemmas, the insecurities that you are facing will be the same. Form support groups. Go get help if you want. Meet a counselor, get some parenting tips, attend parenting workshops. There is no shame in that. But please do not beat yourself up for being a bad mother every time you are being yelled at. Do not second guess yourself over the choices you make. Don’t fear being judged. No, you are not perfect. There is no perfect mother or child. It’s just an experience and you live it the way you feel is best. When it comes to raising your child, no one knows it better than you. Happy Mothers day.
Tasneem Akbari Kutubuddin has done her masters in Journalism & Communication and has worked as a senior journalist, editor and columnist for leading publications like The Logical Indian, Deccan Chronicle, Worldwide Media Corporation, The Bridge and Provoke. With Infano, she hopes to create more awareness about women’s health issues. Suffering with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, she has also been advocating for its awareness through media.
Daughters’ Day: These Daughters Share Times When They Got Into Their Parents’ Shoes!
The pros of working with digital platforms and writing online are that you end up remembering all the important dates, days and festivals. In case you forget a single one, twitter ensures that you find it in your trending list!
Today is daughters’ day — and I woke up with a WhatsApp text from my mum! No, I was in the house with her, but in the age of digital communication, she wanted this text to remain on my phone always. Parents, I sometimes wonder, are so naive and pure!
So this daughter’s day, I decided to publish this feature when the day ends — to make you realize that emotions and relationships don’t belong to one particular day and the stories are meant to live forever.
These daughters share one of the most beautiful parts of their lives with us — when they got into their parents’ shoes and excelled in the time of crisis — which made their parents realize that their daughter is all grown up now!
She’s always been a mess — a beautiful and notorious one! “From being a bratty child all through junior college to barely finishing my degree, my parents always worried about how I’d sail through. But cut to now, each day as they see me handle my clients and grow every day, they smile at me and tell me every day that having a daughter was the biggest blessing in their life,” Srishti’s excitement was so evident while she shared this with me.
She asked her mother about an emotional moment which she could share with us, and the answer was — “when Srishti purchased an AC from her first salary!” And she was super emotional.
Remember the times when we packed our bags and left home to explore our own ways? The excitement & feeling of living independently and the pain & emotions of leaving parents back is something we all have been through.
Sramana being the chhota bacha of the family has always been pampered the most. When she left for Pune, her parents were worried, especially her baba, but she managed everything pretty well. “I travelled alone and waited for seven hours at the airport. I learnt cooking, did every household chore, and took care of my elder sister too. Everyone used to say that ‘beti badi ho gayi’ but yes, all of these made me realize that managing a home is not easy. Hats off to you maa,” Sramana scolds her maa and baba whenever they neglect themselves. Parents often ignore their own health and well being when it comes to their kids, and that’s when Sramana becomes their mother — to remind them that nothing is more important than their well being!
“Jagriti was in 3rd year when she lost her mom. She has always been a bold and super confident girl, but her mother’s demise took away all her charm and happiness. She didn’t talk to anyone and barely stepped out of her room. And after a month of struggle with herself, she came into the dining area one day — called the maid, got the entire house cleaned, and prepared the breakfast and meals for her younger sister and me.
That night, while giving me my medicines, she said, ‘dad we cannot afford this anymore. Mom would hate us for making this house and our lives such a mess. She hasn’t left us yet, but I bet if the maid doesn’t come tomorrow, she will pakka run away!’ And the next moment, I was laughing my heart out with eyes full of tears.
It’s been three years since my wife left us, but my daughter managed the house and our lives so well. How could we be blessed with such a beautiful angel? She is my daughter, my friend, my guide and my mother sometimes. And I wish her in my every birth,” Jagriti’s father writes to me while her daughter books another online workshop for him.
When Balaji brought Pihu home for the first time, he knew that she was the one! “A sweet little naughty girl — Pihu never fails at making us ROFL through her mischievous side. She never sits silent and loves playing with me. Oh, and she loves papaya like anything! I bet even if you give her one whole papaya, she can eat it entirely at one go,” Balaji doesn’t see Pihu as a dog.
Yes, animals are family — a beautiful part of our lives. Balaji didn’t give birth to Pihu, but he would love to be her mommy forever. She is a seven months old bundle of joy and happiness without whom he cannot imagine his days now.
“Back in 2014, my mother suffered from cardiac arrest. I was in my first year of graduation, and she was hospitalized for around two months. Since then I have stepped up in her shoes and managed the whole household on my own,” Sakshi shares that moment when her life got upside down.
It was hard for the young Sakshi, but she did manage everything so beautifully and is still continuing that. And considering the amount of responsibilities she has been fulfilling for her family, her mother says that she has become of all her home.
Rashmi’s life changed when she saw her mother in bed for more than a week. For someone like her mother, who was always active and full of energy, Rashmi couldn’t bear seeing her like this. “Vertigo made her weak — a disease which a lot of people are not aware of was making our lives difficult. My mom was very weak and always felt dizzy,” Rashmi was home for vacation at that time.
Though the maid was there to help her with all the washing and cleaning chores, she still had a lot to manage. “I used to cook with whatever knowledge I had and that was the first time when I took full responsibility for the kitchen. I used to give my mom food, tablets, and hot water whenever she needed and she recovered within a month, “ Rashmi smiles while recalling that.
But what she heard later from her mother made her proud and emotional, “my mom was telling my nani that I took care of her exactly how she used to take care of me when I was sick!”
Remember the times when we fight with our parents only to make them realize that everything on WhatsApp is not true and that superstitions are not meant to believe?
“I remember this was around my wedding preparations. We used to get time for shopping only on weekends, and my mom never allowed me to buy utensils or stuff on Saturdays. Every time she used to come up with such gyans, I had to give her the logic for that. I still do! My father almost signed on a property paper in a long-lost family dispute and that just didn’t make sense, but I stepped in between and made him realize that he was being cheated. Parents are definitely more experienced than us, but a part of theirs is so innocent and unaware of the frauds that we children have to act as their guardians at times,” Rakshita smiles while recalling her old memories.
They say elder sisters are no less than a mother and I completely second that! When Supriya was in standard 12th, her parents got admitted to a hospital for almost a week because of dengue. “My brother was in standard 11th — so yes, not much younger than me. But I used to wake up early every day to make him breakfast. Then I used to wake him up, and we used to go to school. I was making lunch and dinner after coming back from school,” Supriya recalls.
Her parents were admitted in Ahmedabad, and they were in Gandhinagar, so it was difficult for them to visit their parents every day. “I used to prepare fruit juices and send other necessary stuff with my neighbours who used to visit them,” this was the time when she took the entire responsibility on her so efficiently!
A lot of people still believe that daughters are a burden, but these daughters are proving that it’s a blessing to give birth to a daughter and day is just not enough for all the love and happiness they bring with them! #ChotiChotiKhushiyaan #HappyDaughtersDay
A 'non-9-5 desk job' ambivert geek who chooses her own audience, Sonali loves sharing stories and finding the corners where humanity still exists! She believes that every individual's story is unique and special. She loves writing about the untouched and unspoken segments of society. When not writing, you can find her listening to someone's stories or playing with dogs. Sonali values mental health and encourages people to speak their heart out!