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It was a busy morning, as usual. I was hurriedly going about preparing lunch for my kids’ school. Both of them have different tastes and preferences; each had clearly conveyed their demands to me the night before. As much as I disliked making two different lunches early morning (for which I had to wake up earlier than usual), I knew it’d make my kids happy to find their favorite food in their lunch box.
As I went about my work, a quick thought crossed my mind. My mom did the same for me when I was a child! I’d keep complaining about the same, boring stuff she’d pack for me every day. I’d come home and tell her what my other friends had got and how well their moms cooked. I’d even ask her why she couldn’t make the same meal for me or just as tasty as others’ moms.
Little did I know then the difficulties a mom goes through in sending off her child to school, every single morning, right on time! I can perhaps try to understand today (now that I’m a mom), yet not fully comprehend her struggle (because every mom has her own). Also, my mom never shared her troubles with me or even let me know her endeavors to ensure that I carry a lunch box to school every day.
And lunch-making isn’t the only thing. There are a million other struggles moms never talk about. As I started thinking hard, I could find at least 10 things my mom never told me, and probably I wouldn’t tell my kids either.
What My Mom Never Told Me
1. That she had her hard days too
We all feel different each day - some days we’re more energetic and enthusiastic than on others. My mom must have felt the same but she never showed. No matter the hardships she’d be experiencing in her mind or body on a particular day, she’d always try and bring a feeble smile to her face on seeing me. With no idea about her physical or mental pain, I’d ask her to play peek-a-boo with me or read me a story book. She’d always oblige.
She’d never reveal the pain she was going through, physically or emotionally. I can feel it today as a mom. I can understand how difficult it is to put up a face before that innocent being when deep down just nothing seems to be fine.
2. That she was very, very tired
Yet, she’d carry me in her lap every time I’d cry or make a fuss. She’d even carry me for hours in the market because I refused to get down and walk on my own. She’d say, “Mummy gets back pain if she carries you and walks”, but I just wouldn’t budge. She’d again oblige, rarely complaining.
She was the first one to wake up and the last to go to bed. How she wished I’d sleep in the afternoon so that she could catch a short nap before starting her evening shift - preparing dinner. But I didn’t want to sleep and I wouldn’t let her either! I’d go, shake her up and wake her to attend to all my natural needs that would pop out of nowhere that very hour - toilet, hunger, thirst, and whatnot. She always had to oblige.
3. That she longed for ‘me time’
How I understand its importance now as a mom to two kids - the value of just a few minutes of ‘me time’ in a day - the only time I experience absolute bliss. I know my mom would have wanted it too, so badly. But I’d never leave her alone. I remember she’d sit in the bathroom for unusually longer (now I understand why) but I’d keep sitting outside, and would even start crying if she didn’t come out sooner.
Finally she’d give in, come out and yell at me - “Can’t mummy even go to the bathroom?” I’d innocently look at the furious expression on her face. But now I understand when I too wish to spend a few extra minutes in that haven of silence; the only place where I can be without kids for just a little while.
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4. That I hurt her, often and real bad
It hurt when she brought me to this world. Yet, she welcomed me with a broad smile, hiding her bruises and pain. It hurt when I bit her hard during breastfeeding. It hurt when my sharp fingernails scratched her but she couldn’t cut them as yet because I was a newborn. It hurt when I pulled her hair because I was hungry and crying.
It hurt her when I fell off the steps and got hurt. She hid her tears as she consoled me howling in pain. It hurt when I fought with her and said “I’d never talk to you again.” It hurt so often but she never said so.
5. That she did want that last cookie on the plate
But she happily let me have it. She could very well see how I had my gaze fixed on it since a long time. I failed to notice though that she liked cookies too. She’d spent hours preparing them in the kitchen and while everyone ate to their heart’s content, she could only manage to get one. But she still let me have it because she knew I loved it more than she did.
6. That she never got a day off
Every Monday, she struggled to get me out of bed and literally pushed me out of the house to attend school. I remember complaining to her how she was always behind my back to study. I’d often ask her, “Why can’t I have a day off from school?" (weekends were never enough, of course).
Even though weekends were her days off too (from work), she worked equally hard at home. While I’d play all day, watch TV, sleep and wake up late; basically enjoy my day off to the fullest, she’d be up at the usual time. Cleaning, buying groceries, preparing elaborate meals, doing the laundry, and finishing any pending tasks piled up over the whole week. Now I know that there never really was a day off for her.
7. That she too was scared for me while she helped me overcome my fears
She’d never show her fears to me. Even when she and I were scared of the same thing at the same time, she’d always bear in mind to never let me know that she was. In fact, she’d tell me, “Why’re you scared? You’re my strong kiddo. I know there’s nothing in the world that can scare you.” But deep down, only she knew that she was scared too.
She had to be because she was the mom. She consoled me when I cried on the first day of school. But she was too scared herself to let me go - the very first time I’d be away from her for so long. She encouraged me to try cycling without side wheels; shouting out, “You’re doing great,” each time I pedaled along. But, she had fear deep within and a “what if she falls” on her mind at every pedal.
Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story because hers is where yours begins. [Mitch Albom, American author]
8. That she never got to eat on time or to her tummy full
Whenever she’d sit down to eat, mostly after I’d been fed and put off to sleep, I’d nearly always interrupt it. I’d wake up unusually, for some reason, or I was hungry after a short nap, or I’d dirty my diaper. Poor thing, she’d have only taken the first bite off her plate and there I was - howling so loud as though all heaven had broken loose that very moment!
What could she do? She may have tried pacifying me to hold on a little while longer as she finished her meal. But where was I to listen? Finally, she’d leave the meal mid-way to attend to me. Sometimes she’d be lucky to get back to it after I’d doze off again. But mostly her meal time would be over because I just wouldn’t give her a chance for a long time after.
9. That she forgot her world for me
She forgot watching movies. She forgot calling friends. She forgot meeting them. She forgot going to the salon. She even forgot to look at herself in the mirror some days, only because I was her whole world. She put me before everything else because I mattered so much to her. She even left her job and gave up her career dreams because I needed her the most. She happily became a stay-at-home-mom with no complaints ever.
10. That I too would be a mom one day
All those times when I fought with her, when I didn’t talk to her - for days sometimes - when I’d even abuse her in a fit of rage, I never realized that I too would be in her shoes one day. And she never said so either. She never told me that I’d then perhaps understand what goes on in her mind; how much it hurts.
Mom, for all the secret tears you cried which I brought to your eyes,
For all the fears in your mind you hid away so that I could be stronger,
For all the love you doled out to make me feel the luckiest child around,
For all this and much more, I salute you.
You never told me what it feels like to be a mom. But today, I understand. And I love you even more. I also know that I may never share these experiences with my own kids because when you’re a mom, you just do it. You don’t say it.
Every mom has a story. I’d love to hear yours. Email it to me or leave a comment below with your feedback and suggestions. If you liked the post, please share it in your social network to let others realize the unspoken love of mom. Follow me on social media for more such posts or subscribe to my blog to get regular updates in your inbox.