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The Mother

July 7, 2012

A mother, according to most of us, is a nurturing, caring, generous soul. She’s always there for you and all that stuff.

Given the challenges of today’s world, a mother has to juggle several roles and many of them do manage that successfully. Of course, sometimes there’s a bigger scanner over her and she gets nasty/judgemental looks from people in the mall when she’s buying the kid a big bag of potato chips just to keep him/her quiet. But for most part, she carries on.

Sometimes, she has help. In the form of grandparents, neighbours, best friends or a nanny. They all need a quick back up when there’s something important and urgent.

All this is something I knew.

Then you see those movies like The Nanny Diaries or better versions of it where the children are primarily raised by nannies or their counterparts. The mother is more of the overseer rather than the doer. Those movies always end in a happy ending where the mother realises that she needs to spend more time with the children and the nanny goes off to find an awesome job (and subtly hinting that it is something ‘greater’ than nanny-hood, though that is fulfilling) and of course with a handsome companion by her side.

The daddies are completely absent from the scene – be in the movies, or as I realised today, in real life.

Till today, I was living under the illusion that mothers in India, for some reason, were well, taking care of their kids with the nannies being an add-on only. It perhaps sprang from my own experience when my mother would be my side or within calling distance, no matter how glitzy the party was.

But that was the last illusion of my childhood. Today was a strange awakening for me… I saw real-life nannies, dressed in uniforms and being all that I saw in movies.

Why is this so disturbing? Have I grown so judgemental that I would scorn at a woman for not herding her own kid?

No… I probably wouldn’t have commented if it was a business do and mommy had to go away for a little while to talk big stuff and the nanny entertained the child. This was a party, meant for children. And where I expected sexy mommies dressed in jeans, having fun with the kids. I was shocked to see majority of the kids in the care of other people while the mothers supervised and ordered.

Logically, I knew this happened. I had heard stories. But it is disturbing to see it happen. At a party, are you so busy with your socializing that carrying your kid on your hip is trouble? I overheard one kid yell at his mother and rather nastily. And he was all of 7 years old. The mother tried to soothe him instead of repriminding him. Really? The use of that word would’ve earned me a kick on the ass and privileges suspended for a year of my life. And my mother isn’t the kind to slap.

And where were the fathers? Sure, it is a kiddie party but hey! they are important too.

Of course, I’ve seen parties where the daddies are present… but with all that was happening, it was quite stunning to see that they weren’t present.

I know I’m being judgemental. But my little self found something bizzare in this. There was the nanny-crowd and the non-nanny crowd. Why I found this picture wrong is something I cannot put my finger on and I’m not completely comfortable with that.

I try not to be judgemental about other people’s lives and actions. But this disturbs me.

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