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Can mothers have it all?

Kavita Srinivasan
Filed on April 15, 2021

Let’s stop praising ‘perfection’. It doesn’t exist.


I was on the phone with a friend

recently and she revealed something I had felt was inevitable. A beautiful, toned, popular, successful mum of two had a breakdown. A big one. She could not do it anymore. It was too much.

The whispers that ensued were predictable: “She looked so happy. She has it all — the career, the kids, the friends, the husband and the gorgeous home.”

No, she did not have it all. No one does. It’s simply not possible.

When we worship perfection, we push women to kill themselves to become something that does not exist. Why did this mum have a breakdown? The more the world praised her, the more pressured she felt to live up to the façade she had killed herself to create. Eventually, the adulation broke her.

So, please stop heroine worshipping an illusion.

When was the last time you looked at a mother who hasn’t lost her baby weight and who has stains of the baby variety in unseemly places, and said: “I want to be like you”? We feel like we’re failing if we admit that we are that kind of mother.

Well, I am that mother.

I haven’t lost all my baby weight and I’ve taken a breather from the rat race.

I am scatter-brained sometimes. I forget things, I mess up, my hair is hardly ever done and I lose my keys in my bag several times a day.

Here’s the truth: Since the day I’ve allowed myself to be simply who I am and take pride in it, I’ve never been happier and neither has my child.

Let’s embrace our mess. That is compassion. Let’s speak our truth. That is connection. Let’s be real. So, others can too.

You can’t preach what you don’t practise, so here’s what my version of motherhood looks like:

I had deep Post-Partum Distress for several years.

I find it hard to make time for myself. I don’t know why.

I sometimes want to run away from my child.

I question why I had a child on some days.

I have stepped back from a demanding career because it was too much and it wasn’t for me anymore.

I like laying in bed and watching Netflix instead of dressing up to go out.

I love food. It brings me comfort. The extra pounds may be here to stay. If I don’t lose it all immediately, I will be patient with myself.

I have a hard time keeping up with people. I’m tired.

I could go on…

Having these feelings makes us human, not ‘bad’. YOU are human.

You are not that mannequin or that celebrity.

You are not the toned, perfect mum with the ideal social life, perfect children, a wonderful partner and a booming career.

You are YOU.

You come with your own stash of ugly. Embrace it. It’s yours.

And nothing brings out your ugly like motherhood does.

The women that hide behind what the world deems as perfection, are shells waiting to crack, if they haven’t already.

The truth is…

They may not be present with their children.

They may be miserable at work.

They may peg their entire self-worth on their appearance.

They may be constantly insecure about their jobs.

You don’t really know who they are. Chances are, they are exactly like you, broken in different places, mending in different ways…

These ‘perfect’ women are failing too. We just don’t believe it because we’re conditioned to believe what we see, not what we feel.

Why do we mistake vulnerability and imperfection for failure?

Why are we ashamed of ourselves for not living up to a lie?

Why is it so difficult to speak the truth?

Let’s stop the cycle now.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com





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