What nobody will tell you about being a mom

Hello ‘mummyhood’ at 24. So I had a baby when I was supposed to be taking a year off my life and travelling the globe. Or may be making plans for world domination. Or building my so-called empire. But here I was — a new mother— happy, weepy and more emotional than a saas-bahu TV show, with a 4.5 kilo baby who made me an expert on motherhood overnight. And since I missed the memo and was doing everything backwards, 26 is when I started my career. Career, marriage, babies right?

Sorry, I was in reverse gear

Interestingly, this decision has served me well  in the long run. Being a young mother meant I literally grew up with my kids and, somehow, avoided the pressure of being the perfect alpha mom which many of my friends now find themselves dealing with. So if you’re struggling and need a friendly word of advice, glance over my list of motherhood commandments that worked — and still work — for me. If Trump can be president, then I can have my own rulebook, right? Looking at these stretch marks and cellulite, I’d say I’ve earned it.

Rules of motherhood

Thou shall ask for help without any guilt or shame

Amrita Arora baby

Aprita Khan Sharma has a vast circle of family and friends — like Amrita Arora — to rely on

Who better to look after your children than the people who looked after you? From the time your child is born until whatever age you feel the need to ask for help, do it. We are blessed to live in a country where, apart from our spouses, we are surrounded by family and house help. Leaving your kids with their grandparents and close family members is time that you should think of as guilt-free.

Thou shall steer clear of the self-righteous parenting police

Twinkle khanna daughter

Twinkle Khanna is a champion of finding your own path 

With my son, I think I broke every ‘rule’ that was told to me in my prenatal class, in baby books, by my doctor and my mother. Why? Because they simply did not work for me and only made my life more miserable.

So instead of using cloth nappies, I switched to diapers within 48 hours. I introduced the bottle within three weeks so that I could express milk and nap for an hour or two every afternoon undisturbed. I gave my screaming, colicky baby a pacifier (unheard of) for a good 6-7 months and got judgmental looks from every other mother I met. He was also given a mild dose of medicine to relieve ear pain and help him sleep on long haul flights. These tweaks helped me preserve my sanity and patience, which are more important than any Mother India award that clearly, no one was giving me.

Thou shall be parents but remain husband and wife first

Shahid Mira Kapur

Shahid and Mira ensure they spend time together as a couple

Once a parent, you remain a parent until your dying day. It’s a tough 24/7 role that takes over your entire life, so you have to make a conscious effort to not let your relationship with your spouse become one where you end up playing only ‘mummy and daddy’. Which means investing time in your relationship and in each other with solo holidays and outings, to give you a chance to reconnect. Taking a break from your kids doesn’t mean you don’t love them, it just means you love yourselves too.

Thou shall not feel guilty about working

Kareena Taimur cute

Kareena Kapoor Khan has always declared she will be a working mom 

We are all warned about the working mother guilt, aren’t we? I was a young mother when I started my career and thankfully, had enough support from my spouse and family to stick to my working hours. I also had an epiphany: I’d had children to enrich my life, not to spend the rest of my life feeling inadequate. Because who is to say how much is enough? For me, doing my best 80- 90% of the time is enough. 

Don’t let anyone play the guilt card with you, including your kids. I love being involved in my children’s activities, but I also know they don’t need me breathing down their necks with freshly baked cookies 24/7.

Thou shall not cast your shadow over your children

Aaradhya Aishwarya

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shields her daughter from public scrutiny

I firmly believe that your unaccomplished dreams are your own problem. Let your kids live the life they choose for themselves. The quote I live by for my children is ‘Give them roots to grow and wings to fly’.

Thou shall look after your body, soul and mind

Malaika Arora swim bikini body

Malaika Arora Khan understands the importance of mental rejuvenation 

As a parent, you’ll often find yourself running on fumes. That empty tank needs to be filled with regularity. Childbearing and child-rearing require physical, mental, emotional strength — you have to give to yourself first so that u can give to your children. 

Invest time in your body. Exercise. Don’t skip meals just because it’s your turn to carpool. Get that facial, make yourself feel special. 

Invest time in your soul. Organise lunch dates with your girlfriends. Laugh. Pray. Do anything that gives your heart joy. 

Invest time in your mind. Read. Meditate. Take a solo holiday.

At the end of the day, you are the best mother they will ever have. So relax a bit, forgive yourself the mistakes and just do the best you can.

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