3 things I learnt from my working mother did that really help me as a mom today

 I was born in Akola – one of the smaller cities in the centre of India. 1984 was the time when joint families still held fort. It was the first generation of middle class women in the smaller cities to break the societal norm and go out of the house. As per elders in the family, my  mum was one of the lucky young women who had the “privilege” to work. As a result, Aai was not at all excused from the domestic chores at home. In fact, she had a double responsibility to complete them without fault as even a small failure was met with a lot of criticism. In such a situation, it was really a herculean task and a tricky situation to maintain the work life balance and at the same time provide us kids with values and bring in comprehensive growth. Now that I am on the same platform, I can ponder and understand her carefully thought over activities which have made a big difference in forming our value system and personalities.

1. Aai’s first priority were her kids.

So whether it was about our food, health, our studies, our extracurricular activities, it was given utmost importance. If in the process some of the chores were left undone, so be it. She would let go of the criticism which would come from the elders.

2. She believed in a balanced and multidimensional growth rather than just concentrating on studies.

She started learning classical singing at the age of 35 and also encouraged us to learn something new. I would always accompany her for her rehearsals in the evening if there was a musical program. It was only because of her regular “Sangeet Baithak” at our home that I got interested in Kathak and later became a dancer myself. In standard 10when all my friends would study for 7-8 hours daily, my brother and I would watch the Filmfare awards and go for movies together. Aai never fussed unnecessarily about studies because it was a balanced growth that was important rather than just academic success.

3. Aai was always very particular about our times together as a family and our independent times as well.

It was a rule that we all should be together for dinner. I still cherish those dining table moments filled with discussions, jokes and laughter.  It was here that I learnt many of the lessons of my life. While playing, outings, music, movies were all family activities, personal hygiene, money management, choice of friends were completely left on us to decide. This way, both my parents ensured that we became independent human beings but were still very much attached to our parents for their opinion and thoughts.

These are just a few things that strongly come to my mind. But today there are numerous mothers like me who are perennially worried about their kids, their health, their studies and keep on talking to every other woman about it with no solution or peace of mind. I guess if all those women look back at their own mums, they might get their balancing act right.