Mother's day wishes few days back flooded the social networks in an unprecedented level. What percentage of the wishes actually reached her is a different question. Forget speaking against such trend, those who abstain from praising their moms are considered cold villains (to visualize, remember the bad son in films who push his ever loving mom towards a brick wall in rage). I started noticing such messages stuffed with love and gratitude. One tweet read, "There is no place in this world which can prepare food as good as my mom". Another read, "Mom used to prepare me dosa even if I wake her up in odd hours". "She does not know the taste of exquisite dishes prepared by her, as we finish it off in a jiffy”. You get the drift. Almost all the messages praised her culinary talents. Remaining praised her selfless deeds.
The wish floods are quite common in this electronic and market era, and it did not bothered me. What caught my attention is the stereotyping of the mother image and what we remember her for. It is quite obvious that many of the mother's actions are spontaneous and due to the natural instincts all the mammals possess. But the over boil at times by the mother - seem to be forced upon her, and it is like as if she does not have a choice. In fact, she fits the stereotyped mold so effortlessly with immense pride and eagerness.
A very small example with my mother may illustrate my case. Jangiri is her favorite sweet. She loves it. The other day, she eagerly opens the box only to find the last piece left (of course it was emptied by the other members of the family). What does she do? She comes barging to me, and says "See, I have to throw this box away, and this last piece is stopping me from doing it. Take it". She is very careful in not showing even an iota of liking for the last piece. And as many a times, I take it. That might have made her happier than if she had consumed it.
Even if most of us praise only her culinary talents and selfless deeds, we all know how difficult it is to run a family/home without glitches. It is not an easy task. She is out of station for few days and the whole home machinery goes haywire. But, shouldn't those talents be put to better use? What is her contribution beyond the family? By constantly stereotyping her, are we curbing her talents and instincts that could be put to better use? This actually becomes a problem when she becomes dependent on others, and gets serious when she is unable to help others or couldn't add value (getting sick, old age etc.). She suddenly feels herself as a burden to others. Even her small advice need to be heard and acted upon, otherwise imagines we are ignoring her. Most of the clashes with daughter in law (or son in law) have their roots in this over dependency and selfless love on the only thing she cares for - the son (or daughter). I feel this will not happen if they have an interest/career of their own, in addition to selflessly helping their wards.
Things are changing now with women starting to concentrate on their talents and likings. But with the constant stereo typing and expectations forced upon her, we are still slowing her off. My mother is a very good reader, but rarely spends time in reading, in order to cater to our needs. She feels mightily guilty if she sits for few more pages reading an interesting book resulting in slight delay in preparing dinner. I am not against highlighting this kind of selfless living through mother's day wishes, but I really do not want that to strengthen the stereotypes already present in our minds. This might slow her down, and create guilt for following her interests.
All I am asking is, Mom, please take at least one half of Jangiri, hand me over the other half. That makes me even happier!