Straight from a mother’s heart ….

Once you become a mother your life changes completely. Your time is no longer yours. Your priorities change. All your energy and emotions are invested in the children while your own interests take a back seat. You make adjustments for your children , but the beauty of motherhood is what you do for your kids comes so naturally to you that it never seems to be a sacrifice.

In fact, your life revolves around the children but when they grow up, spread their wings and fly away, the empty nest syndrome hits you hard. You are left with the feeling of emptiness. You feel incomplete and even redundant at times. All these years children have been your life, you have assumed multiple roles, donned several hats catering to their never ending needs. You have been their personal secretary doing all sorts of odd jobs –from helping them complete their school assignments, arranging dress for their fancy dress competition to finding out their lost items. I remember having been one (wo) man search squad carrying out many successful search operations to trace out a lost belt or a missing notebook. My mother unearthed the lost property for us and in the best of motherly tradition; I too have done the same. No wonder the saying goes, “A thing is not lost till the time your mother declares it has been lost.”

Despite the fretting and fuming about the pressure of bringing up children, juggling between home and work, you enjoy being the ‘queen bee’. You may not have any ‘me time’, but you feel important. However, when the children fly away, you feel miserable. I remember when my elder one left home a decade ago, I cried but then, I had to wipe my tears to rush to the college as I had my job to attend to. I was disturbed, but could recover fast also because, I had my younger one around to keep me busy with his gruelling coaching schedule. When it was the turn of my younger son to leave home, I was distraught, tears won’t stop. It has taken much longer to adjust to a new reality.

When the children leave home there is bound to be a void, a vacuum But  don’t let sadness, self pity and feeling of distraught fill the vacuum. It is time to pat your back for the years well spent, well loved and a job well done. You have given wings and also the strength to the children to fly and soar high. It is time to be content and enjoy their success.

But it t is easier said than done. A popular post by Sudha Murthy (wife on Narayan Murthhy, co-founder Infosys) advocating ‘attachment with detachment’ is the way forward. Continue to shower your love on the children but don’t expect them to reciprocate in the same measure. Children have their own life; their dependence on you is bound to diminish over time. Eventually they would make their own nest.  Equip yourself emotionally to deal with the change. It is important to cultivate hobbies, develop your own interests so that you don’t keep reminding the children about every little thing you have done for them. Be happy and let the children live happily.

(Published in HT  Sunday Read on Sept 9 ,2018 )

75 Replies to “Straight from a mother’s heart ….”

    1. Vipul , so you know your limitation as to how much you and Anshul can chat on the phone.
      It’s ok, being a mother of sons I know that.

      But then, this issue is not just limited to sons, it is equally applicable in case of daughters.

  1. Very relatable, ma’am, just that I have been on the other side of the fence. I remember my mother’s reaction the first time she realized that she might have to bear with my stay in hostel. She seemed depressed for many days. I finally had to let go of hostel stay and resort to traveling daily to Chandigarh for studies. That too has been an experience of its own. 🙂

    1. Saundharya, I can empathise with your mother. Hope has reconciled now. Initially it comes as a big jolt but slowly one adjusts to the new reality.

  2. Yes Didi it’s easier said than done. A silver lining is that we have grandchildren to look forward to in the near future.

  3. Another way, though seemingly difficult, is to believe that you do everything for yourself and not just for rearing the child.

  4. Well said Rama. We all have been through it . The first time she left home, I cried for mor than a month. But then you realise that they have to live their own life. Now also when Ridhi and Indiver go the tears do appear but now I know how to come out of it.
    We have to build a new life and the best part is this life is equally enjoyable and charming.
    Children also are more at ease.

    1. True , we all have to pass through this phase. Sharing definitely helps in dealing with the situation .
      Alka, even if you send the post anonymously, I can easily make out.

    2. Very right Alka. We need to be practical and pragmatic . Initially it is very difficult but slowly one gets used to it. All the same there is wait for the children to come home.

  5. Strange but true the affection and responsibility we feel towards our children is way more than what we feel for our parents. In spite of the unconditional love and care that they shower on us…… I guess human instinct.
    Beautifully summarized ma’am.

    1. Kirti, there goes a saying in Punjabi ‘gaan dekhe bacche wal, baccha dekhe ghaa wal,’ implying the attention of the cow is towards the calf but calf’s attention is focused on grass.
      This is the way of life…

  6. Not only as a mother but as a human being I believe we all can relate to this article. Mam, You have always been an example for how to create a work-home balance. In between there are a long range of emotions which only a woman can understand. God has bestowed on us a power of multi tasking and as you have rightly said all this comes naturally rather than quoting it as a sacrifice.
    I Can sense a great amount of positivity from your viewpoints esp when again the power given to us to follow “Attachment with detachment” comes naturally after fighting an emotional battle with ourselves.
    This is a life cycle that everyone goes through and even we will when our kids grow up.
    Looking forward to more such amazing blogs mam. It’s so nice to learn from your experiences.

  7. A really beautiful article mam …touches you from the core …as a daughter and as a mother it justifies every aspect❤️❤️

    1. Thanks Sanchi, being straight from a mother’s…. it ought to touch a mother’s heart.I am so happy that you have given it a different dimension -from a daughter’s perspective..

  8. Rama yr article is so realistic …everyone has to face these faces of life…whatever we do for our children our parents also did the same ..and as our children we couldn’t repay our parents.this is the general phenomenon of life..whether yr children stay away from you or they stay with you in both cases they hv their own .so life and you feel amptyness in yr life after completing all duties of your children..but according to me this is period when u can live yr life only according yourself wid more energy and strength in a cheerful manner without any liability of my dear life of ladies starts when our children get settled in their life…

  9. Rama I agree with your thoughts.Visit children once in a year or May be year and half whenever we and our children feel it is long enough and that too not for too long. Our children need there space and we should be careful not to encroach too far then you will have different and more pleasant memories.

  10. its so true maam…. lyf is lyk dat and i think almost everyone goes through ds phase at some point of lyf….but as you said the parents should feel proud that the amount of love and time they have invested in their children has turned out to be fruitful. And now is the time for the parents to enjoy their lives fulfill their dreams and wishes which might have remained somewhere unheard due to never ending responsibilities.
    And of course its a gentle reminder for all we children dat how distant we stay or how bsy we remain in our lives, bt dere should be some tym in a day which should be ” OUR PARENTS TIME”.

  11. This article is a beautiful expression of a woman’s life.But was just wondering why should we feel that we sacrificed our dreams and our life for our kids. I see so many couples undertaking IVF to have children…..are they doing it so that they can have a child to tell him that they made so many sacrifices for him..??…NO.!!..I DON’T THINK SO. We became a mother so that we could enjoy the pleasures of motherhood…we did it for ourselves….we worked for our children because seeing them worried for something did not give joy to us. So whatever we have done , we have done to make ourselves happy. In my opinion a child is in no way indebted to us. Although my heart aches on the thought that one day my most precious and lovely little birds would have to leave me and soar high above to find and make a search for a new and better life than what I could provide them….but I really want to ask myself that will I not have a feeling of emptyness if they limit themselves to stay with me ?? Have seen so many old age people having this same feeling even while staying in a full family environment.
    In my opinion what we need to do is to take life as it comes to us. What we miss at this stage of life is the long gone importance , value and the authority of our decisions which we once had in our children’s life …because they no longer need our advice…..but we forget that we were also like this when we were at this age.
    Our focus at this stage should be to be ourselves and to think like our children to be able to make good friends with them. We should never think that we are not a priority but rather be busy in ourselves and think that my children would run back to me when I need them the most. I actually feel that everyone has to live his life on his own . The feelings of emptyness and loneliness will always be there . I felt very lonely when I took my medical entrance, when I came to a new house after marriage, when I had a child just after my sister expired……so happiness and loneliness go hand in hand…..I would be happy to see my children doing well in life but would be lonely in my heart. SO LAY IMPORTANCE ON LIFE AS IT COMES TO U.

    1. Bhanu, what you think, what you write is so beautiful and meaningful that in no way I can contradict you .You have a thinking , analytical mind. No wonder your writing reflects a beautiful blend of head and soul. Stay blessed always!!

    1. Not at all!You have given vent to your feelings….And I agree with you. Not an emotional trip but a very sensible approach. Love you

  12. Dear Rama … candid portrayal.
    None of us can halt the movement of time and life. At the same time, no change is unprecedented. The overview of life experience tells us that such changes are meant to be foreseen. In every phase of life, we tend to discover something or the other to give meaning to our existence.
    Having said all this, the emotional reactions to each experience makes us what we are- human.
    The concluding lines become the lead of your story.

    1. Actually the article has been inspired by Sudha Murthy’s post and was supposed to be positive but perhaps it turned out to be melodramatic.

  13. The paradox of life! We prepare our kids to be independent and to soar high. But when we succeed in our endeavour, the success doesn’t seem so sweet. Yes, the centre of our universe doesn’t remain the same and neither does the gravitational force. Each mother has to deal with it in some measure thoughout history. But they always rockkk!!

  14. Dear Rama Ma’am …this article is so relatable true and an honest reminder to the journey of life…not at all melodramatic…and what we must always remember while children get busy in their jobs and homes..they always have a very very special place for we have for our parents is never easy for any child to leave the nest where mummy bird is always there to do odd jobs and trace UNTRACEABLE objects .Distance ,time or anything else can never take the glory of this bond.

  15. Really a true depiction of a mother’s life when children are in the growing up age ..but yes u r very right that even with a hectic schedule .. a mother feels like a queen of the house ..but yes she has to prepare herself to deal with the vaccume that will be created when children will be enjoying their own lives ….enjoying life with a feeling of contentment

    1. Yes Pooja,it is about a mother’s life -from a phase of hectic schedule when the children are small to that of a sort of void when they fly away .
      And yes, you have to cultivate your own interests to deal with the change.

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