Good, Bad & the Mummy: Stop Telling Mothers That They Are Supermoms – Just Stop!

I spent the last year working the most tiresome, traumatic, turbulent, heart-warming, exhilarating job of my life.

4 min read
Hindi Female

I sat down to write this piece after a year of working the most tiresome, traumatic, turbulent, heart-warming, heartening, and exhilarating job of my life. Obviously, I should have a fair bit to say.

But really, what did I want to make this piece about?

Did I want to make it about the very realistic expectations families, friends, and other 'well-wishers' shove down the throats of unsuspecting mothers? Especially when it comes to breastfeeding vs formula vs exclusive breastfeeding vs exclusively pumped vs 'it’s the most natural thing in the world'?

Or did I want to write about the 'bounce-back' theory? Heard of it?

My Unrecognisable Vagina

It’s that one where even a year later, you cannot tighten your core without a niggling pain in your lower back and an excruciating carpal tunnel is just about wearing off.

It also includes that thing where you may have weaned months ago, but your breasts, on cue, get that 'not-so-sexy' wet t-shirt party going every morning when your child cries.

Symptoms also include little to no sex drive, an unrecognisable (hence now rendered useless) vagina, and dark lines (I like to call them chokers) around your neck that “will go away eventually”.

There’s also the occasional outburst, feelings of isolation, loneliness, zero agency – emotions you might feel multiple times in the same day! But if you’re looking for real Mother’s Day inspiration, Instagram momfluencers often make this transformation truly effortless.

They present a seamless, accurate picture of “how it doesn’t have to be that hard.” Of course, these convincing reels are lightly edited to underrepresent grossly underpaid childcare and paid partnerships.


Did I Ask You For Advice?

But maybe this piece should have been about the expert body. Let me explain.

These exclusive members are in your Instagram DMs, WhatsApp (support) groups, the staff in your building, at home, and sometimes people you have never met, nay, have never even met you.

But this self-important advisory group, takes it upon themselves to give you their precious, invaluable, and unsolicited opinion on how you should take care of your child and yourself.

I mean, which mom isn’t open to constructive feedback on personal choices that concern childcare, breastfeeding, sex life, broken vaginas, and parenting?

Everything Changes But Pressure to Bounce Back

However, this piece should probably make special mention of the fiends that are mothers who also work jobs that pay them, but only a little, because they sometimes like to focus on their children so they’re probably not that into the gig anyway. (They’re called working moms, look it up).

Some of them, who I spoke to, expect to be promoted despite going on full paid maternity leave of six long months (you’ll bounce back ya, come on) and then have the audacity to ask for flexible hours and pumping facilities when they return?

They should be instead totally comfortable, and grateful in fact, that they can strip down in the ladies’ room and park themselves on a commode face down and extract milk from their engorged breasts.

In fact, several male allies often lament about how they’ve lost faith in the system because so many of these ‘working moms’ take advantage of the paid leave and never return!

So, what if you don’t have childcare and your baby can’t speak or walk or go to the bathroom themselves or eat solid food. Our parents did it, today’s women can have it all.

Please show up to your 9-5 job after you have finished your ten thousand and one duties from the crack of dawn if you want to be taken seriously. You’re a supermom after all!

A Lesson In Patience & Resilience

In fact, the expert body takes special care of these women. They often interrogate these women (never their partners) on their child’s whereabouts in their absence and their own whereabouts.

They really help these mothers understand and even question, albeit obsessively, besides their sanity, whether they really need to go all that way and work so hard everyday when they have the greatest job here back at home?

Lastly, this article should have probably focused on this 2023 trend though, single parenting (so many people are getting divorced, tch).

With no resources, barely any social acceptance, and a system that works against you, this is truly a learning experience for parents who already didn’t have their hands full.

If you are an unmarried mother, even better.

Consider your experience at the passport office like a government bank. You will be asked at least 5000 times where your in-laws, marriage certificate, and shame are.

It’s a lesson in patience and resilience, just what every new mom needs.

Happy Mother’s Day and don’t forget to post a photo on your social media.

(Sanjana Chowhan is a journalist, communications specialist, and the host of the podcast 'I Heart Women' and currently lives in Mumbai with her partner, son, and Doobie, a golden retriever.)

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Topics:  Mothers Day 

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