Hi, I am Rohan’s mother. This has been my identity for the last 7 years since I took a maternity break.
If you feel there is nothing wrong with that introduction, then you might find my story unappealing. For which, I won’t judge you and would request you not to judge me either.
But, in case you believe there is something missing, then you will definitely understand the battle that I have been fighting for the last 7 years. The battle between just being a mom or being something more. The battle of not accepting this identity of being Rohan’s mom and nothing more. And I’m definitely more.
Yes, you got it right. This is my declaration of imperfection, my truthful confession that some may call selfish: I love Rohan, but I want to be more than his mom.
Before you judge me, I am a gold medallist from one of the reputed engineering colleges. I’ve worked with the best software companies. Things were going good but things got better after I got married to Gaurav and then after 2 years of marriage I was blessed with Rohan.
While for a lot of new mothers, the birth of a child also means that they have to sacrifice their careers to take care of the child; luckily for me, I had the best support system around me to help. My in-laws and parents hardly let my professional life to be affected by my motherhood. They supported me in all the ways possible – taking care of the baby, making meals, groceries and much more. So much so, a couple of times they took my baby for vaccination when I had to travel out of town for important meetings.
I was promoted to a manager. Then, suddenly Gaurav broke the news that he was getting an option to move to Amsterdam.
Obviously, we were all excited – in the midst of polluted air, crazy traffic, kids being unsafe and the money conversion rate, we thought it was a no-brainer to exercise the option and move to a foreign land.
But that also meant I had to give up my job and be a full-time mom. I was really happy for my husband but there was something that was making me uncomfortable.
Probably, it was the first moment of many where I felt split between the two ends. A split between being a mom and being myself.
I confide my fears in my mom, who has been a great support for me throughout my life. I told her that I was scared of giving up my job and career and turning into a full-time mom. She tried to convince me that at this stage raising the kid should be my top priority. In a completely unknown world, it’ll be too difficult to raise Rohan with me still being in a job. She also felt there wasn’t even the need for me to make money because Gaurav was earning a fancy package. She was right about everything except the last one. It wasn’t about money. It was about something much more than money. It was about my existence and purpose of life.
7 years passed in a moment. And, I have a lot of achievements to showcase for these 7 years.
Gaurav & I are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary in Australia. Rohan is turning into a very handsome, lovable and intelligent young kid. As a mom and a wife these 7 years have been great, but for me – there’s a lot missing, which makes me think if my life could have been more exciting. I have learnt a lot of new stuff, have picked up multiple freelance jobs as well. But, I always feel something extraordinary is missing when I see Gaurav talking about his colleagues, his office, his career and more importantly his purpose.
And, after 7 long years, I opened up to my family about these thoughts. At a dinner table, when we were hosting dinner for my in-laws a day before their return flight. The timing couldn’t have been better.
It all started with remembering the old times. And, suddenly the conversation took a turn. I started talking about how much I miss having a real job, a real career, a real purpose. I was telling my husband about how I want to go back to learn new skills like artificial intelligence. I would love to update myself so that I can move back into the workforce.
I was abruptly cut off with, “But why you want to do it. Your life is not just about you anymore. Rohan should be the sole purpose of your life.” My mother-in-law was not trying to be rude, she was repeating what she had likely been told by the society. I was surprised how her words sounded so similar to my mom’s.
Patiently, I listened to her and tried to find my lost voice.
“But, I want to have more in Life. Being only Rohan’s mom is not my identity. Rohan is an extremely important person in my life but he is not my whole life. And, for the last 7 years, every decision in my life I made ends up circling around how it would affect him negatively or positively”.
Gaurav knows how strong and pushy I could be if people try to control any aspect of my life. So to maintain sanity that evening, he changed the topic to discuss and started discussing flight details and cab arrangements.
I felt like a voice, which found itself after 7 years, but then lost itself in her own words.
The next day was quiet and lonely as we bid goodbye to the in-laws. And, I tried to forget that voice in my head which kept reminding of my dreams, hopes, aspirations, and desires.
No one can deny my love for Rohan. But I find it degrading, condescending, and inappropriate when a woman is told that her identity is 100% derived from being a parent.
I understand and appreciate the generation of our parents, who believed in the concept of “Your child is your whole world”. I can understand when this generation, who has sacrificed dreams, hopes, money and time for the children tell me that “You don’t come first anymore because your child is more important”. But, what I can’t understand and accept is Gaurav’s stance on it. I have sacrificed and will continue sacrificing the rest of my life to see that Rohan is happy and healthy.
However, I refuse to accept that I do not matter anymore. That I don’t exist as Mayra.
And suddenly my thoughts were broken by the doorbell. I opened the door and was surprised with a huge bouquet of flowers along with a note.
“You matter. Your desires matter. Your dreams matter. Your personal goals matter. Rohan matters but more than Rohan it’s YOU who matters. For almost 10 years of our marriage, you have prioritized fulfilling my and Rohan’s dreams. Now let’s start fulfilling yours.
Your selfish husband – Gaurav”
More from I for Her: The Time When She Realized It Is Important To Say NO
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