As a first-time mom I was paranoid and perennially confused. I scared easily and panicked at the slightest thing. I imbibed information from paediatricians, reference books, fellow mothers, family members, neighbours, (so, basically just about everyone) etc. about the dos and don’ts of motherhood. Like any mother, I wanted to make sure that my tiny tot got the best of everything!
Nevertheless, soon I realised that the more I sought others out, the more difficult they became for me. Everything I did was getting minutely scrutinized, compared, scoffed at and disapproved, sometimes behind my back and sometimes unabashedly in my presence. The fact that A Jr was born underweight didn’t help me either. And yes, people had assumed beforehand that I’m going to resign.
Our journey might’ve been a bit rocky, what with A Jr’s cough acting up a bit too often and me having to deal with the frustration of losing my financial independence and being in a sort of house-arrest, but we sailed through, all on our own! I learned to turn a deaf ear to people who advised incessantly. If anything, I presume it made me confident and prepared me for motherhood the second time over.
Right from the time I was in the labour room I was well-informed, better prepared and most of all, not at all nervous. My regular walks and rest-only-when-you-feel-tired routine made sure that I had normal deliveries both times. I was in control of myself and Angel. Yes, I got all mushy about her but I also insisted on instilling in her habits, like drinking from a bottle, that A Jr never caught on.
Incidentally, the interesting thing about advice is that it finds its way to you, whether you seek it or not! So, again, I had every other person recommending some particular massage oil for Angel or some special flour to give her bath with, apparently because she was a girl and had to be fair, beautiful and have a flawless skin. I would like to add more, but this topic is for another post.
I do have to share this one particular thing that’s been distressing me. When Angel was younger, I kept her at our neighbour’s home when I went to pick and drop A Jr from school. She’d be asleep most of the time so I didn’t have to worry much. Furthermore, the lady is kind and helpful and took good care of her. Had it not been for her I would’ve had a real hard time handling things alone.
Anyway, this lady went to her native for a month or so when Angel was about 9 months old. Till then we had carried Angel around in a Kangaroo bag when we went out and she seemed comfortable in it. In fact, she liked it! I was a bit hesitant at first, but I felt I could take her with me on my Activa everyday, and I did. Long story short, the arrangement worked out well for all of us.
However, as we know, roses always come with prickly thorns. Everyone who saw me then and even sees me now, was and is, vocal in their displeasure. ‘How can you bring her out like this?’, ‘Why don’t you keep her at your neighbours’?’, ‘She must be so uncomfortable!’, ‘I wouldn’t do it if I was in your place’, etc.
Recently, she was all dressed up pretty for a party and I was aghast when I got this, ‘Poor baby, it is summer and look at the clothes your mother has put on you!’ (FYI, it was a sleeveless white top and a frilly pink skirt). Such pearls, and more, keep coming to me with upsetting frequency.
I wish I could give them a solid dressing down, but I know it’ll be to no avail. These hard-skinned people simple don’t get the meaning of ‘No interference please!’.
All I can say to them is, ‘I’m the mother, I know better!’.