Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On the Job Training - Motherhood 12: Our Mothers

This month's O magazine has activities that I never do - I usually mull over them for a bit, but I never write them down. This time I will.

1. List 5 things you do instinctively that your mother did.
- When I get my daughter ready in the morning, I find myself putting the same hairstyles on my daughter that my mom did. I thought they looked boring at the time. Now I see it's cute and practical.

- After I do her hair, I put some moisturizer on her cheeks and then kiss her face.

- I wake Annika up with kisses & hugs.

- Calling her 'gandi' (crazy girl) affectionately.

- Telling her how much she means to me and how tiny she used to be. I never understood it when my mom said that to me. I usually thought, "Yeah, Ok. Get over it now."

2. List 5 things you have chosen to do differently.

- I almost invited extra friends to her birthday party because I talk to the mothers; she is not necessarily very good friends with the girls. My sister warned me this is how we ended up with the extensive wedding list of people I didn't know, but with whom my mom was friends. Birthday guest list was shortened.

- Controlling my temper and trying to choose my words wisely. I know now they will be remembered.

- Let food be central part of the house, but not spend unbelievable amount of energy cooking. That way I have more energy & time for friends and family.

- I don't sing when waking up Annika. I don't sing when her friends are around. I don't sing period.

- I go out with my girlfriends for my book clubs, writing groups, and nights out on the town. My husband pursues his social life & hobbies, which are independent of our activities as a couple and family. We have given each other space to grow. My mother, as many Indian women of her generation, believes that she should mold herself to her husband. A wife should always accompany and be accompanied by her husband. His interests would be hers. That is a difficult choice. But, it is a choice and the rules of propriety are not the same.

Now as a mother, I let my daughter see how mommies and daddies can step away from each other and come back together.

Actually - a big kudos to the men for giving women the freedom to do this. Men now are more capable and confident about child care and household duties than they were in my father's generation.

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