Candid, not Candied

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Motherhood Challenge - What I think

I would have by now done the "Motherhood Dare/ Challenge" that's doing rounds on FB, had I not stumbled upon a few blogs/ articles that were not completely in agreement of the concept. 

I am sure most of you have already seen, if not actually done the so called challenge. For those who have no clue, here's the deal (copy pasted from where I was nominated)

The Motherhood dare! (I accepted)

I was nominated to post a picture that makes me happy/proud to be a mom...I'm going to tag the ladies that I think are fabulous mothers, and can rise up to the challenge of posting a pic of their own. If I've tagged you as one of the awesome moms, copy the text and paste it to your wall with a picture, and tag more moms!

Well, that's the deal. You have to RISE UP to the challenge of posting a pic with your bub. Now the blogs that I read, seemed to have a gotten a little upset over this, and empathize with those women who have suffered a miscarriage (once or maybe repeatedly); women who are trying hard to concieve; women who have lost a child. The general impression I got from those blogs was that this challenge is unfair to women who are not as fortunate as the rest who are uploading an innocent picture of themselves with their kids. 

My take on the entire issue is slightly different. While I am going to be blunt about it, I, in no way intend on being hurtful or insensitive to anyone who has gone ahead to do the challenge, or to those who would love to but cannot. 

The thing is, this is social media. It is a place where all the gloss and glamour of ones life are highlighted. It's all about showing everyone the good side of your life and getting a kick out of rising likes and comments. No one stops to think if their good news is going to hurt someone else. I mean, why will they, because they just want to tell everyone what they have achieved/ seen/ done/ bought..

It is not just limited to being or not being able to be a mother. I understand that I am treading on a very delicate subject here. However, there's nothing one can do but choose to ignore it if you don't like it. This is just one face. There are many people who feel dejected over others achievements/ happiness. 

Consider a few examples (i think a few of these I wrote in the comment to one of the blogs)

Ex getting married while you are still wallowing in the past

A student who was denied visa checks out his friend's graduation snaps at the university he was accepted to do his Masters

A single girlfriend checks out her married best friend's snap who is also a mother of three

and that married friend checking out her single friend's photos and check ins, clubbing into the wee hours of the night, her perfect figure intact; while she is up all night feeding the infant and tending to a sick child

A woman who lost her husband feels sad looking at her sister's 10th wedding anniversary status message

Someone your age bought a mansion and you are trying hard to make ends meet

The list just goes on. What I mean to say that calling it unfair to a certain set of women is completely baseless and irrelevant. Anything and everything shared on social media ends up touching someone's raw nerve and that doesn't mean the intention was that. We have got to learn to ignore things that affect us to such a private level. 

I do not wish to demean anyone or say that getting affected by such things is for weak people. I can only empathize with the pain and yearning that women must be dealing with. However, it is social media and it is reckless, for everyone. Do you think I have never wished my life was like someone else's? All the time! That's the time I tell myself that I am just seeing the bright side; what lies beyond and beneath the shadowed, concealed part is probably not what I want.

My reason to not do the Motherhood Dare is entirely different. I want to know what's the dare or challenge in putting up a happy picture of you and your kid. Whoever started this whole thing obviously did not know what "rise up to a challenge" means. A challenge or a dare is something which you do going against the current. What kind of courage is needed to put up a picture featuring you and your kid which was taken obviously when both were in a happy mood? One may contest that it is "a picture that makes me happy and proud to be a mom". Well, then don't call it a challenge or a dare because it is a blatant mistreatment of those words.

Which one is more of a challenge - take a flight of stairs to the 50th floor or take an elevator to it? Clearly the former; unless of course you are claustrophobic, in which case it would be the latter.

The "Motherhood challenge" is just asking all these women to take an elevator to the 50th floor. Who can't do that?! While I agree that motherhood, rather parenthood in itself is an enormous challenge. This little drama certainly isn't.

If we did have to dare mothers, it should be to click and upload a pic of yourself (and optionally the kids) when you are at the most vulnerable moment of motherhood and mothering. Click a snap of yours, as is, when you are having a long night with a cranky/ tantrum-ing/ sick/ refusing-to-listen-to-you kid. The day when you haven't had time to even wash your face, let alone take a bath. The day when you are so sleep deprived that every cell in your body is begging you to shut off your power unit but your kid ask for "one last bedtime story" for the 372nd time. The day when you realize you are no longer invited by your friends for an outing because you are too busy being a mom. The day when you are so angry and frustrated and exhausted that your cheeks are streaked with never ending tears. The day you yell so hard that it seems like there are mini explosions of blood cells in your brain. The day you realize that you are not the person you were. The day you feel that despite your best efforts everyone is blaming you for all the things that went wrong. The day you just want to abandon everybody and crawl back to your mother.

Last week I had one of those days. The entire household had a meltdown. Aa threw a fit because I accidentally flushed the toilet while she wanted to. No amount of cajoling, caressing helped. I couldn't humour her, I couldn't console her. She was angry and unreasonable beyond any repair. Right from the sweetest form of consoling to the worst form of yelling did not help. it wasn't long before the younger one started bawling at the commotion. While she did compose after a while, the entire cloud of anger and glum proceeded throughout the day and well into the evening. That day she tested our patience. Even the husband, who is usually the one who takes everything coolly just lost it. 

I am not too proud of what happened that day. At the back of my mind I was wondering what would I answer if someone called the 911. 

Things weren't just this easy. The younger one was suffering from upper respiratory infection and was coughing. He was unusually cranky too. And the royal icing on the cake was the younger one's projectile vomit ending up all over my upper half. Did I say there was a cherry on the icing too? After having him cleaned and changed, we put the sleepy kid down with his ritualistic bottle of milk, only to vomit again and soil not just the bed and sheet, but also his entire right side, including the hair. 

As I cried tears of exhaustion, anger and failure, I thought of how much courage it would take me to document my day into a picture and post it on Facebook saying "Motherhood Challenge Accepted". And that would say that despite such days I am proud/ happy to be a mother.


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