Why mothers today don't want to be around kids all the time

Mita Kapur
Mita KapurMay 06, 2016 | 22:10

Why mothers today don't want to be around kids all the time

Not having someone hovering over the children gives them many moments of tough choice-making.

Motherhood continues to be defined by our own mental conditioning of how we should fulfil the role. The debate of working mothers versus stay-at-home mothers will never see a closure or an end. The all-sacrificing mother who puts her dreams, desires and aspirations under the carpet so that her kids can blossom has been the most accepted, lauded and encouraged model of motherhood.


It's changing! And thank god for that. I've just read an article by Amulya Malladi on refusing to succumb to the pressures of being the conventional mom. She doesn't have the time to take her kids to the park, literally and figuratively, but her kids are growing up just fine.

I shared her article on my Facebook page and sure enough, a few mothers commented. "You're a good mummy if you are teaching kids on how to stay invested in their own life and dreams. I notice the children of sacrificing mothers decide not to have children of their own! It seems too hard," said Vinita Bhatnagar.

Yet another mother who is a doctor commented, "Children learn by observation. If they see you as honest, committed and productive, that's what they will be. Taking them to the park or watching basketball does not qualify one to be any kind of mommy, good or bad."

And finally another one said, "It's amazing how much better you become as a mother if you're doing some of the things you really enjoy."

The debate of working mothers versus stay-at-home mothers will never see a closure or an end.  

The recent study by Harvard which says that children of working mothers are more hard-working and compassionate got a no-discussion-needed-on-this from my end. I asked my sister whose children were a part of the latchkey kids brigade.

I see the two boys clocking in time as an investment banker and a lawyer respectively. Not having someone hovering over the children, comforting them, pandering to their every whim and fancy, does give them many moments of tough choice-making, dealing with situations, learning to fend for themselves.

That's because in any given circumstance they have to feel and think their way through without someone prompting their decisions. It may be something as simple as a child reacting to her friend going through the loss of a family member. That child came home holding my daughter's finger. When I looked askance, I was told, "She was a little down so I got her home to have some fun here. She'll feel better once she romps around with Waffle."

Sure thing! Only that the said feeling-low child was four years junior and the two children just crossed each other in the school corridor every day.


Pallavi Aiyar's new book Babies and Bylines has just hit the stands and it examines the paradigm shift in motherhood as perceived, and how managing careers and professionalism vis-a-vis the concepts of parenthood and child-rearing need a fresh approach.

As a personal experiment, not to fall into the trap of generalising that kids of working moms are better off, I asked several mothers, "Do you think you could have been a better mom if you weren't working?" and their kids, "Do you think you could have been a better human being had your mom always been around?"

All mothers felt they were better off working and not around their kids all the time. A fair share of guilt is a part of the mothers psyche but most of them were trying to get rid of it. "I'd rather be a happy person around my child than be a frumpy, frustrated role model. That way I also send the right message to my child - to project who you are, as you are, instead of always trying to be someone you actually aren't." The paradigm of motherhood is taking on a more defined shape finally.

I tried imagining what my childhood would have been like and what kind of a person would I have grown up into, had my mother not been a paediatrician. I couldn't. A casual "would you have been better off if I wasn't working?" question thrown at my 16-year-old son threw me off, "Yes, I would have been better off had you not been working." I looked up from my laptop to a laughing face and a thumbs up which turned into a high five, "at least I got your attention, mom."

Last updated: May 13, 2018 | 13:43
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