Subha Manoj

While I Was Away

Subha Manoj

‘I am a bad mother’ syndrome

I know I am getting a lot of nods and faint smiles here.

After nine months of extra weight, pressure on the bones and the back, hairfall, bad skin and sleepless nights, the day arrives and a baby is presented in the arms of a woman. And voila! life changes…well, it turns upside down. Slowly as days pass by, the pressure to thrive a baby into a perfect human being builds up. And what we forget is that we too are plain mortals. When God gave us the uterus, I think He should have also given us an extra nerve which reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes and absolutely fine to take a day or two off from ‘perfect mothering’ days.

Motherhood doesnt come with a handbook. The baby doesnt come out of the womb with a ‘How to’ manual. The day a baby is born, so does a mother. And as each day passes by, every day is a new one to the mother as well. With experiences come maturity. No day is the same and every new day teaches a mother that as much as it is easy to have a baby, it is bit tad more difficult to bring up the child.

So, today was the day when you shouted at your child louder than the usual, or called him/her stupid or asked him to shut up or well…gave him a thrashing (Oh the guilt!). Now you are sulking while the child is away from you at school, or you are at work or the child has simply forgotten about the episode and is playing happily.

You sulk, feel the pressure of guilt taking you below the ground and feel invisible fingers pointing at you. Is this why I became a mother? Is this what I can give my child? You ask yourself. I am a bad mother…a monster. You tell yourself.

Well, give yourself some credit. It was also a day when you got late  for a meeting, the car keys went missing, your period came up in the morning, you are PMS-ing real bad, you had an argument with your husband, a colleague rubbed you the wrong way, your child had been moody than usual, the maid did not turn up, or you were just plain tired. To have all of this together is unmentionable but even a few factors could trigger a bad day.

Oh ya, and dont forget that you are the same mother who drove all the way just to buy a pack of play-doh for your child’s activity period on the next day at school, or who bought chicken and made it just the way your daughter likes it because she looked into your eyes and said how much she loves your chicken. You are the same mother who, a week back did not sleep the whole night while your son was having a stomach pain. Weren’t you the one who threw an awesome Ben10 party for your 6 year old’s friends on his birthday while you got up with a bad cold and body pain? And what about that day when you went about asking every neighbour whether they had a peacock feather for the impromptu fancy dress competition at school? That was all you, right?

In case you need a reminder, here it is. You are a just a human. A human being made up of bones, muscles, nerves, hormones and blood. There are off days. The body does give up sometimes. And it does not change just because you are a mother. Being a mother is NOT being an epitome of patience. Yes, it is not correct to transfer the problems at work or family on your child. But as human beings, sometimes it is difficult to give up all negativity or brain work just like that. How much we wish that in a flick of a finger we could transform ourselves from being clumsy and tired to an energetic and smiling mother. But, we are not a genie, are we?

So, now what?

The world moves on due to forgiveness and forgetfulness. The day gets over and a new day comes with promises and hope. The good thing is you know you did something wrong. Go ahead and do the obvious. Say a heartfelt sorry and give a genuine from-the-heart hug to your child. It’s amazing how much a child’s body can transfer warmth and love. Tell him/her why you are sorry. Tell why you behaved the way you did. Tell the child why you were upset. And this applies even if your child is a two year old. They do understand your emotions.

Talk to a friend. You will be surprised to find a lot more in the same boat as you.

Keep track of your outbursts. If you find yourself having bad days often, then it is time for a change. Sit alone and ask yourself some questions. Are you under some stress? Is your job satisfying? Is there a family problem lurking inside? Has a friend been putting you off? Are you facing an ailment? Do you need counselling? Do you need help around you? Do you need to get away for a while? Do you need some lone time?

Get to the root. Everything in this world has a solution. You just need to ponder over it. And always remember, never strive for perfection for yourself or your family. There is nothing called a perfect life. Aim at having a positive and warm environment for your family at home. Rest everything will fall into the right pegs.  

5 Replies to “‘I am a bad mother’ syndrome”

  • great article subha..loved every word of it..i think we moms need this re-assurance every now and then to save the guilt trips..thanks dear!


  • I think every mother has this 'syndrome' at some point … u were brave to admit it . To put it differently , perhaps this despair came out as an attempt to achieve perfection in your motherhood and your consciousness of your self(mother) unlike mothers-of-action. Remember , if u had no user-manual for your kid , u had no user manual for 'your' life either. Perfection is only a relative thing. We are burdened with becoming ourselves , and perfection is what we usually settle for. Perfection has no upper bound and we keep cultivating despair in our attempt to be perfect.

  • Hi Bibhash…

    I really appreciate your thoughts and words. especially because it is coming from a man who is not even married or is a father.

    Keep reading and posting.


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