364 days off?
Shaheen Abbas, jewellery designer
I do not believe in Mother’s Day. Once you become a mother, you play that role for life — 24/7, 365 days of the year. And as crazily as I love my kids, sometimes I do wish that all mothers could have 364 days off and just do mommy duty on that one day! Being a mother is a remarkably frustrating role, which in turn is also immensely rewarding. I see my kids become their own people every single day and nothing in this world comes close to the smug satisfaction that I get in being a mother. Every mother will always be the ‘best mother’ that her children will ever have.
What children see, they mimic. So, what you want your kids to do, you need to do it first. Kindness and compassion is something we all need in this world, more so right now. However small or big, any act of kindness goes a long way. I teach them to pray, which we do as a family every single day. In this crazy age of intolerance that we live in, I always tell them to keep faith simple and pure.
We laugh…we cuddle…we kiss…we travel...we hug...we chat with each other endlessly and cherish every moment. Because everything else will be left behind, but this love will carry us through life and beyond!
Hold the world to higher standards
Vandana Luthra, founder & vice chairperson, VLCC
My mother was truly the wind beneath my wings. She encouraged me when I faltered, and she read bedtime stories to my girls when I travelled on work. She reminded me that family is essential, and that we have to balance the home and the world. All around us, there are expectations, to be a supermom, to be a successful entrepreneur — who made it to the cover of a business magazine and yet, was home to serve dinner or help the kids with their homework.
It is this desire to be everything to everyone which does us in. One tends to see this see-saw between family and work as one’s own problem or failure, rather than about whether the workplace or the system accommodates us as it should. I hope that parents also teach their little boys that work-life balance is everybody’s problem. We should hold the world to higher standards, not just ourselves.
I want my daughters to be successful and happy, to understand that they do not have to deny themselves to keep others happy. I want them to do things their way, not make themselves over in anyone else’s mould. I want them to resist the templates that other people will try to set for them.
Time to heal the soul
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author
I wish for all mothers the enduring love of our children, from sweaty, sticky-fingered hugs when they are small to conversations late into the night, with laughter and tears, when they have grown and become our friends. Because the adventure of motherhood is always different, and changing, and precious at every age. I wish for us the ability to take care of our children and support them in the best possible way, and to let them soar away on their own when the time is right.
I wish for us the bustle of the day that tells us how necessary we are to the people around us, especially our children, and the quietness of evening to curl up with a book that makes our imagination take wing. Mothers need time for themselves, too, to heal the soul so that we can be strong for tomorrow. I wish for us to be secure in our own selves no matter what society might say, in our confidence in the sacred and challenging role of motherhood that we have taken on — and sometimes compromised or sacrificed our careers for. I want mothers, when they are asked what they do, to say proudly, I am a mother. Because of all the jobs we do, it is the toughest and most satisfying. And without mothers, this world would come to an end.
No mom snubbing
Nisha Millet, swimmer
The thing that I wish for the most is to spend more quality time with my twin girls who are 2.5 years. Also, I want them to take part in some competitive sport when they are older as I think it gives you a whole new level of mental and physical strength. It has been tough to balance my competitive swimming career and running my academy as well as managing the kids. However, I manage to keep my girls as my first priority, my health and academy come second, and some ‘alone time’ ranks last right now. However, I do have a holiday that has been planned for sometime soon.
Today, I find that there is a lot of mom snubbing. Mothers are multitaskers, more so today, as most of us also have career aspirations and our own goals. Being a parent is a hard job; you don’t need to be hard on yourself. Your happiness and that of your child are paramount. But being happy isn’t just about being there for your husband and children all
the time; it is also about never losing sight of yourself amidst the wonderful chaos that is motherhood! Personally, I am trying to get back to my old level of fitness and run a half-marathon this year-end and also participate at the state masters swimming event!
To be relevant, needed & loved
Anuja Chauhan, author
We all know that every day should be Mother’s Day just like everyday should be Valentine’s Day or Women’s Day or whatever. But having said that, being made to feel special if you’re a mum, or making your own mum feel special is always good! Please make a big fuss about us! It’s Mother’s Day! Otherwise what will we say to all our friends when they call us asking, ‘what did your kids do for you today?’
Personally, reassurance is what I mostly need, that even though my kids are all independent and grown up (21, 18 and 15 ) I’m still relevant and needed and loved. Also, kids, please confide in us. Come to us when you’re confused. There’s a hideous new Demi Lovato song out there, which goes: Don’t tell your mother, kiss one another, die for each other, we’re cool for the summer. What kind of crap is that? Demi Lovato’s mother should ground her for life!
Mums want their kids to stay away from the traps being young sets (substance abuse, peer pressure, pornography, toxic relationships) and discover what their true calling is, and then follow it with all they’ve got. Being a mother is a deeply satisfying job, of course, but one that can also feel totally ‘uncool’ and thankless sometimes.
100% at home & work
Anjum Jung, director, Prestige Group & founding CEO, Morph Design Company
A working mother has a dual sense of responsibility. Balancing work and home is not so challenging once you figure out when to prioritise what. In fact, working mothers who have achieved a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives are among the most productive people.
When I think of my children, I feel blessed. Above all, I expect them to grow up to be strong, independent, responsible people. I prefer spending quality time with my children, wherein we end up doing something meaningful and important to us and create some great memories in the process. I believe a good mother is someone her children can approach without hesitation, someone they can rely on. And I strive to ensure that I am always there for them when they need me. But I also feel that it is important for women to be role models to their children when it comes to facing the outside world. For me, my professional life is important, too. Work keeps me mentally stimulated since it is my creative outlet. When I have had a productive day at work, I am motivated to push myself at home as well. Overall, I feel a strong sense of fulfilment when I am able to give my 100% both at home and at work.
A little thoughtfulness
Deepa Bachu, CEO, Pensaar
I think Mother’s Day is fabulous. Not that you need to set aside one day a year to appreciate parents, but it is one day to thank moms and say ‘Hey, what can I do special for her?’
Last year, my kids made breakfast for me with their dad’s help and surprised me. Later, I took my mum out to lunch. The kids came too and pooled in their money for the lunch. That night, we went for dinner to a Chinese restaurant. I love Chinese food, but my kids don't! The most thoughtful thing they did, though, was something else. My daughter wrote a note about why she thinks I’m special and put it in a jar for me to read, while my son took the time to make me little coupons saying “I’ll do this errand 10 times”, “I’ll give you a hug” that I could cash in later.
I make no qualms about the fact that my family is my number one priority. Work comes next. So, there’s some guilt associated with leaving the children at home while being at work. So, empathy is something I would like from my colleagues. When I look at other married women who work with me, and possibly live with their in-laws, I feel like they don’t get any ‘me time’. So I would ask children to give them that time — maybe at a spa or with a book.
To lead by example
Perizaad Zorabian, actor & entrepreneur
Motherhood is a life-altering experience. My life has changed for the better. It has been exhilarating to love so unconditionally. Motherhood has also made me far more responsible and driven with what I do and how I do it because I am aware that I am a role model to my children. I make gratitude, kindness, compassion, integrity and discipline a part of my everyday life. My expectations of my children are very high when it comes to behaviour and the way they treat people. Zoroastrians have three commandments: Good thoughts, good words and good deeds. I try to teach Zaha and Zayaan the importance of these values. Every day, I try to be a better version of myself because I am aware that my children are watching and learning from me. That is a huge responsibility.
Not to feel less adequate
Preeti Shenoy, author
There is a tag doing the rounds on social media where people are tagging other ‘great moms’ and putting up pictures with their children. While I have nothing against the mothers who do that, I refuse to take part in it. Who is a judge of who a ‘great mom’ is? I quit my corporate career to be a full-time mom. I was always there with a hot meal and hugs, when my children came back from school.
Somehow there is a notion that mothers are the epitome of goodness, kindness and sacrifices. I think that is a dangerous thing. A person — whether they are a parent or not — has to take care of themselves first. You have to be good to yourself. Only then will you be able to give love to your family. And no one should be made to feel less adequate just because they are not a mother!
Better work-life balance
Shubhangi Dhaimade, Food stylist
I have a son and I am incredibly blessed. What I do wish for is a better work-life balance, because my schedules can be quite erratic, sometimes leading to a 20-hour work day. As a result, I often do not get to spend enough time with my family.
However, I do have a great family who supports me and encourages me to pursue my work. As a freelance professional, I have the flexibility of choosing my next project. As a result, I am able to be there for my family, despite the many challenges today. My mother has always been the pillar of my strength.
Let there be no guilt
Deepa Kumar, founder,Yashram Lifestyle
I think mothers always act selflessly in the best interests of their children. It’s nice to celebrate this aspect of women, even if it is for a day. As a working mother, I always feel like I am short-changing one or the other. Luckily, my daughters, though young (aged 7 and 10), understand that I have my career and they respect that I need that time for my personal growth. Being a mother has made me a more responsible person and it’s not easy. But it’s great to relive my childhood with them.
Women play many roles and they should be respected for all the roles they play. I believe that all women should make time for themselves and invest in their personal growth. They should do this guilt-free. This way, the children and family respect the woman in her as much as the mother in her.
I believe laughing with your children every day despite the pressures of life makes one a good mother. As there is so much competition to be the “Best Mom”, women should realise that there is no competition and there is no trophy to be won. The idea is to be the best mother that she can be and enjoy her time with her children. I also believe that children should not be given everything on a platter as this will not let them grow into strong individuals.
One more day with mom
Kumari Shibulal, patron, Sarojini Damodaran Foundation & The Advaith Foundation
No matter how career-oriented we get, there is a special joy and satisfaction we derive from being the caregiver and nurturer, which surpasses the happiness we derive from material things. A mother should be appreciated and honoured every single day of the year. Mother’s Day is a relatively new concept, which did not exist when I was growing up. However, my mother was the most important person in my life. She was the hub of our home around which the whole family thrived. It is said that we never truly know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves. So, it is also a day to remember my own mother who strived beyond her limited means to ensure a better life for me. She is no longer with me and how I wish that I could spend one more day with her! This Mother’s Day, I wish peace and wellbeing for my children.
To be by their side
Mita Kapur, founder & CEO, Siyahi
My wish for this Mother’s Day would be that the dreams my kids have chased come true for them. As such, I don’t have concrete aspirations for my kids. I want them to have their own aspirations, their own jugfuls of zest and positive energy, of commitment and sincerity, of strength and determination to evolve into fine human beings. My elder daughter is aiming at a PhD in clinical mental health, specialising in trauma in the US; I want to see her touch lives of people and make them stronger, resilient. I want to see my younger daughter build her life in luxury brand management; when I see her at work I am awestruck because she is creative and lethal at once! I see my little son talking his way to the top — he doesn’t know what he wants to do yet; but I want to be by his side when he finds his path.
Every mother is the best
Tara Sharma Saluja, TV presenter
I wish for a safe, happy world and good health for us all. Also, it may sound utopian, but on a more macro level, a world free of suffering would be amazing. As a mother, I would like to inculcate many good values in our kids — being humble, helpful and honest are some of them.
I learn everyday on my show, as there are many real stories that I hear. As the show discusses topical family, parenting issues with people from different walks of life, I get to learn from the real-life issues that parents experience every day. Everyone has a story to tell, especially mothers as their stories don’t often get told. Much of who we are is thanks to how we have been brought up.
Every mother is the best mother to her kids. I believe in each to their own and one should never judge another parent, or anyone for that matter, as everyone's situation is different. I am no expert, just a regular mum learning everyday — often from the kids!
(Compiled by A Varsha Rao, Deepika Nidige & Pooja Mahesh)