By Juhi Bansal
The last time I wrote an open letter to you was on Mothers Day 3 years ago. You were all of 16 months and I had just gotten back to work full time. That letter was ridden with guilt but also had an underlying hope that you will understand why your mother chose to go back to work when she could have stayed with you.
This year I am attempting to write a happy letter, however, a mother’s guilt always creeps in. You’ll probably understand that when you’re a mother yourself.
Today, I would like to share a few life lessons with you. These are my learnings over the last few years and while I know you will make your own mistakes before you establish your life philosophy, hopefully, my experiences will encourage you to make new mistakes rather than repeating mine 🙂
Working vs Stay at Home
Working a full time job and moonlighting for CB means I have practically no time to drive you around for any activities. I would of course like to believe that quality trumps quantity and whatever time we spend together during weekday evenings or weekends makes up for all the lost time. I could take a step back in my career and enjoy a few years with you. I could but I don’t want to. I hope you will understand this. I also hope you will take this as an example in your own life when you have kids and you have to choose between spending the whole day with them as against juggling a job & raising them.
I have grown up with deep rooted insecurities about my body. Some of them were borne out of societal pressure (one size is better than another) and some from conditioning (complexion complexities). It has taken me years to get over some of these insecurities. I have learned to shut out my inner voice that encourages me to hate my body. It hasn’t happened overnight but I am getting there. While I am happy about conquering some of these monsters I know I still have a whole lot of demons to fight. And, when I look at you, the last thing I want for you is to hate anything about yourself. You are beautiful the way you are. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, you need to change anything about yourself. You are perfect and will be at all sizes and all skin colours.
Experiences vs Possessions
I am guilty of not buying you that shiny remote car or the beautiful princess dress. I may not celebrate your birthdays with a bang or take you to amusement parks but that’s because your father and I have learnt to put experiences before possessions. I can see the disappointment when your friends talk about their new i-pads but I also see the excitement in your eyes when you look out of the airplane window. The ecstasy you feel when you run after a stray cat or pet a dog. I hope when you grow up you will look back at life and remember each of these experiences and not the things we couldn’t buy for you.
It was a conscious decision on my part to be a “lazy parent”. To not run after you to make sure you’re fed or do stuff for you. Do I second guess myself? Every day! Especially, the days we have a disagreement and you’re unhappy. It takes me all of my self-control to not give in to your tantrums. But, I can also see how independent you have become and that’s such a delight. There is no set of instructions for perfect parenting. I so hope there was but sadly there isn’t. That’s because each parent has an inherent instinct. Mine is a little lazy but I won’t have it any other way.
Mom? Wife? Myself?
Being your mum is one of the greatest delights of my life. Of all the roles I play in my life, this is one of the most fulfilling. Notice how I say “one of”? It’s because (and I hate myself for admitting it because mothers are conditioned to not put anything before their kids) my favourite role is still being myself. My apologies if I sound callous or insensitive. You are and will always be my most precious even if I don’t say it enough but being “Juhi Bansal” is more gratifying for me than being someone’s daughter, mother or wife. You may not understand this right now. Most people don’t. Most women don’t. But, as you grow up you’ll probably see reason in this. You’re growing up to be immensely warm and amiable and I am so proud of you for that. But, I hope you learn to love yourself as well.
If I sounded preachy at all, know that I am your mum and that is a privilege of my job :). If I embarrassed you in any way, know that as a mother that is also one of my perks :). Happy Mother’s Day my darling.
The following shoot was done for an interview with Vajor for Mother’s Day. You can check out an excerpt from the interaction here.
My Outfit: c/o Vajor
Earrings: c/o Alto Vida
Iyra’s outfit: H & M
Pics: Amreet @ Beardedshutterbug
Hair and Makeup: Glam Stories by Mani