Tiger Cub resting on Mother from http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=§ion=&q=tiger+mom#/d37mjji
I went to meet a friend yesterday and she has a baby girl. Something ran in my head and I asked her “What is it to feel like a mother?”
She didn’t say anything then, but an hour after I had left sent an SMS “What are the parameters on which on which one judges that one is/feels like a mom?”
Hmm, I absolutely love this friend. She always asks very interesting questions, maybe because she has a knack for picking up on times when I misspeak.
I should have asked her specifics, like how much of your freedom do you feel has been curbed due to the presence of a child? What major lifestyle changes have you noticed after the arrival of the kid, and so on and so forth.
Coming to the point, why the question? My image of a mother is based on Mama. When we were younger, Mama was strict, always in control and kept an eagle eye on us at all times. She was very mindful of the language we used, our behaviour towards relatives, guests & seniors and would not tolerate any untoward manners. She was authoritative & in-control at all times, and one look from her would send us scampering.
My friend is very similar, in that she takes the child’s behaviour very seriously. However, that’s where the similarity ends. The friend is a woman of a much different generation than my mother, a lot closer to my generation actually. She’s more lenient with the child, spends time doing things that she likes and has a life of her own which isn’t necessarily intertwined with the family (not so with Mama, almost everything she did was with us and Papa).
So I guess this is the difference: Mama did everything with her children and husband while the friend has a family life, a professional life and a third life which hardly overlaps with the other two. When I asked whether she feels like a mother, I was asking the friend how does she manage her three different roles without any overlaps, since this was something new to me.
Of course, now that we’ve grown up, Mama has a lot more free time. She’s currently hooked to a popular social network and happily tells us to go take a hike when we ask her for stuff we took for granted in years gone by :-)