This post was written by Sushmita Sundaram, a member of the Floh Network.
Remember when you were a kid and Mother’s Day meant handmade cards, sloppily made breakfasts, and your Dad scrambling last minute to ensure a huge bouquet of her favourite flowers was delivered that very morning? If you asked your mom right now, it’s highly likely that she has all those cards made with folded over A4 size computer paper covered in your scrawls and scribbles tucked away somewhere. Now, of course, you could likely get her anything her heart desired, and it would definitely be scribble free. But I’m sure every mom would be unable to bear parting with those old, misspelled notes of love or silly craft projects you brought home from art class for Mother’s Day.
When I entered my (rather terrible) teens, my mom told me that she felt like she had transitioned from being just a mother, to someone who was half-mother, half-pal. This is a sentiment I think most mothers of adult children will agree with. The relationship goes from need based to choice based, which can be exhilarating and heart -breaking at the same time. As one of the moms I spoke to said, a mom can’t stop being a mom. And that means you can’t stop wanting to protect, love, and advice your children, even if your baby is 35 and a fully functional adult.
For Mother’s Day we spoke to three mothers on how they still dream for their children, and what those dreams are, whether it comes to work, friendships or relationships.
Deepika, a Bangalorean working at a venture capital firm, and mom to a 2 year old energetic little boy, hopes that her son grows up to experience sincerity in his work – that he continues to challenge himself.
“The only way to achieve greater things in life, is to moving out of existing comfort zones and work your way through uncomfortable zones, onto the next comfort zone,” she said.
Shweta, a counsellor at a local private college, and mom to a 31 year old lawyer, agrees – “You should never feel like you have arrived in life, because that is when you stop growing and it stops being enriching.”
Their own experiences shaped their views. Vanessa, a writer and researcher, and mom to 30-something Peter, talks about being one of five siblings, who knew quite well that after leaving school they would have to help supplement their single income household. With her son, Peter, she was happy that his father and she were able to be there to give more advice. Deepika spoke of cultural differences, driven by generational gaps – “What my mom wished for me was very suitable for those times. But with this changing generation, I feel it is important to educate children on being accountable to themselves and responsible in their actions.”
But as things change, things also remain the same, thought Shweta, who fondly recalled that her mother, even while being from a more conservative time, insisted that all her children speak their mind, find their independence, and insist on respect in their friendships and relationships. These are aspirations she passes down to her daughter.
And what about relationships?
Whether the child was 2 or 32, all the mothers were more focused on ensuring that a potential partner would be a constant that provided a meaningful relationship and unwavering support for their child. The push-pull was obvious – they knew their children were adults (or would be in a few decades), but a mother’s concern is forever. Whether it was wanting them to build a solid foundation of friendship, based on complete acceptance, or building cherishable memories, or just wanting their child and their partner to tie the knot already, mothers seemed least concerned with social antecedents like community, religion, and class or appearances for society. They were keen on building relationships with their children’s partners, like Vanessa, who spoke fondly of Peter’s partner, “We speak often, and we all love her, we just want them to be happy.”
Like the sentiment behind those heartfelt, if not particularly expensive, Mother’s Day gifts from years ago, all they wanted was for their child to experience an authentic, fulfilling, and memorable life.
Do you know what your mom wants for you? Share in the comments below. And if you really don’t have a clue, what better day than Mother’s Day to sit down and have a chat with her about it? We promise it’ll warm your heart.