Ever since I've become a mom, I've been overcritical of myself in this role. And the more I compare our mothers (the generation born in the 60s or so), with mothers of my age (80's I'd say) I've felt a stark difference in the style of mothering. While on some levels mothers of today are more aware and conscious of whats 'natural is best' for my baby and preferring things like mothers milk over formula, home cooked over jarred - on the other hand we are pressed for time and even more pressed for patience and energy. As younger generations have fled into the workforce, married later and delayed motherhood to a biological age where our energies and health only allow us to do so much for our kids, we are losing out on quality face time with our children. Mothers of previous generations had a lot more patience when it came to disciplining, nurturing, developing and even playing with their kids whereas today we mothers resort to hi-tech baby-sitters like Ipads, computers, battery operated interactive toys etc. But we are forgetting that as mothers are evolving so is the baby generation. Babies are no longer as easily distracted as they used to be, they get bored with one toy much quicker than babies did yesterday and they are definitely more intelligent and receptive creatures today. So here's what I understand mother's of today need to build their motherhood around, to ensure that we do not fall trap to newer challenges while learning from wisdom of the older generation babies:
1. Mothers today have less patience and energy and toddlers/kids require even more of that today. Kids no longer spend afternoons playing 'ghar ghar' (home-home, the simple act of making homes out of cushions with siblings); they are erratic, distracted, and fireballs of energy looking for some quality entertainment. Neither do our kids today have siblings 12-18 months apart to play with (since our patience and health both force us to keep a good gap between kids and we might not even think of more than 2 kids). So the answer to this is mother support groups. Mothers need mothers to motivate themselves and children need similar age grouped children to play with (even when they are 6 months old). So shun those barriers, get together for mommy-baby play dates. Shrug off your apprehensions, those towering expectations your mom and MIL (mom in law) have from you in terms of motherhood while you talk them to out with mothers in the same game ball as yourself. So if you don't have enough of a social circle of mommies around you, you can find one at Gymboree in Lahore, and at Weldonmoms in Karachi.
2. Have something interesting and fun to do on the side. Many moms drop out of workforce or higher education pursuits as pregnancy comes their way. Its OK to take that break but get back on track as soon as you feel sane. If you feel a full time job won't let you do justice to the kind of motherhood you expect from yourself then do something part - time a that interests you. That could be as simple as attending a workshop from time to time (in Pakistan you have abundant baby sitting support, in other places it is still worth spending those seemingly heavy bucks on professional baby-sitting to give yourself a break). Staying intellectually, physically or spiritually stimulated it extremely important whether it means finishing that book, being a regular at the yoga class or taking a Reiki healing session. I've noticed every time I come back from yoga class, I feel a little extra love for my baby. I feel like wanting to hold my baby once again after that break, instead of begging others to take her off my arms after spending the entire day with her. You can find interesting activities (including arts, culture, sports) at these places: The Knowledge Factory in Lahore, T2F in Karachi, Kuch Khaas or Minerva in Islamabad.
3. Have at least two 30 min uninterrupted sessions of quality time with your baby everyday (in addition to the bathing, feeding times). Use this time to bond with your kid, reassure your baby that you're mentally there for them. This means, no TV, no cellphones, Ipad or anything of that family. Just you, a quiet and cosy corner , some toys maybe or just cuddling. I've been spending some nice relaxing afternoons with my 12 month old and I feel she loves having that dedicated time, she responds back with giggles and tries to poke in my face naughtily, and we even do rolly-polly on the bed and laugh over silly little actions. Here are some ideas of what kinds of play you can do with your little one
That's my jist from the 1 year of motherhood I've had so far. Add your experiences to the list and let me know how you feel about motherhood ?
P.S: Yes that's my little one gazing into the horizon (at 6 mos)