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A Mother's Perspective

I’m an emotional woman; the kind that’ll break out into tears during a sappy romance film or get irritated if things don’t go exactly as planned. I scream if I’m angry, eat if I’m depressed, and whine if I’m upset. Everything I’m feeling is put out on display. And like the faces of people in delicately drawn portraits in art galleries, my emotions are etched into my frame, from the corners of my lips to the wrinkles on my forehead to the sagging of my shoulders. When it comes to the more cheerful emotions however, I somehow have a hard time showing them. I’m not talking about chuckling when someone tells a funny anecdote or smiling when I say hello to someone. It’s just that when it comes down to my children and showing them how much I love them, I don’t know how to.
I’m not saying I don’t love them. I love them from the deepest crevices my heart will allow and more than anyone can know, but somehow, the only way I can display my affection for them is with what they think is lecturing or nagging. When I say, “Make sure you wear a coat” before my children step out of the house, it is taken as an unnecessary comment. They say I’m too controlling, too annoying. As I place another spoonful of beans onto their plates, they scream at me for forcing them to eat. I’m not doing these things out of spite. I simply want my kids to be healthy or stay warm. I don’t want them to suffer in anyway possible because it hurts me when they get hurt. I want them to have everything life can offer. I want them to have a better start at life than I ever did. I want and I hope and I pray that they will just be happy. But for some reason, I can never do right by their standards. I can never be good enough. I may come off as this strict and ragged middle-aged woman who has had the joy completely sucked out of her, but inside is a person who just wants to be accepted by her own family- that wants her kids and family to love her for whatever she is and whatever she does, whether it seem ridiculous or wrong or simply stupid.

I’m a proud woman which, as an Indian, is pretty much a guaranteed trait. But again, it’s hard for me to show this sentiment to my daughters. My husband reprimands me, says “Is it really that hard to just say a quick ‘Good job!’ or ‘I’m proud of you’?” My answer: yes, yes it is. I don’t want my children to get over-confident or just accept that what they’ve accomplished is the best they can do. I want them to improve, always strive for something, and never be completely satisfied with what they have to offer the world. It’s not that I’m not satisfied with what they are, I am, and I’ll love them no matter what, but I don’t want them to stop trying because I know there’s always more they can do. What they don’t know though, is that I brag. I brag, indirectly of course, to all my friends and relatives about how amazing my children are. How they are always so polite and nice to everyone, how they’ve been working so hard in their classes, and how they’re so modest and humble. Now if I wasn’t proud of them, would I do that?

I am a true Indian, to the core. To me, a person that emigrated to the U.S. only a couple decades ago, my identity, culture, and being is entirely Indian. It’s not really something I recognize, it’s just who I am. Something I don’t question. Something I am prideful about. But it‘s also something my children struggle with daily. With my daughters and me, it’s not just this generation gap that we battle with; it’s a cultural gap as well. This consists of language barriers and arguments about clothing, attitudes, food, traditions, and values. My daughters want to wear clothes that my mother would have disowned me if I ever wore when I was their age. I tell them to never say “shut up” even though I secretly swear in my native tongue. They hate Indian food. That’s the only food I know how to make. I tell them to always respect their elders. My children tell me I should respect them first. I force and plead with them to go to the temple with me, something they should do willingly. They think I’m not cool enough because I wear high-rise jeans and gaudy, brightly-colored kurthi’s (a type of Indian shirt) with full-blown embroidered designs along its entire length. I tell them they should embrace their heritage and stop running away from it. They tell me that we live in America, not India. There’s this constant struggle between what they think is right or acceptable enough for others, and what I think they should do. And as much as we discuss and dispute, we can never come to a consensus. At the end of the day, my daughters and I still cannot understand one another on a personal level. As much as I hate to say this, it’s stubbornness that we have engrained so deeply within us that the wall we’ve built will not just crumble away.

I am a hard-working woman. Although I’m “just” a housewife, I do my job well. I cook well-balanced meals, clean so thoroughly that our house is spotless, raise my children to the best of my ability, and do what is asked of me by my family. Being a housewife isn’t something I necessarily enjoy doing, nor is it something I pictured myself doing for the rest of my life. When I was younger, I used to dream of being someone and doing something that I could be proud of, but now, I feel like I’m not good enough. Although my husband tells me I do so much for our family, I want to be able to provide financially, because I feel like that’s the only way I’ll truly be respected, by my kids, by others, and even myself. The reason I push my daughters so hard is because I couldn’t bear to see them in the same situation I am. I force and urge them to get good grades and test scores because I want them to have a reputable and honest career, so that they don’t have to rely upon anyone else to survive; so that they can learn to be their own person. Maybe later on, they may decide they desire to be a housewife, and that’s fine by me. But having other options is something I never had. Something I’ll never know. Some days I feel like I’m living for others and I just want my children to learn to live for themselves.

I am a woman. With children. And I just wanted you to know my side of things. Everyone gets a chance to be a kid, but not everyone knows how hard it is being a mother. How difficult it is having to do the very things your children detest you for doing. How much will power it takes to keep your sanity in check. How lonely it gets sometimes. Yet how much you love it.





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chocolate_lover123 said...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm
WOW!
this is Amazing..i never though of it this way
 
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