Saturday, January 18, 2014

On the wings of an Origami Bird

Photo courtesy: Sandeep Banerjee aka smokey bandit

A motorbike, a scooter, an aeroplane and a bicycle, all painted in lollipop-bright colours hover over my son’s head. They’re just the things that hold the fleeting interest of a six-month-old baby boy, floating and twirling above his cot with the grace of a ballet dancer. Made with card paper and threaded with twine, this homemade mobile is one of the many mobiles that entertain my son while he lies in his cot, flailing his arms and legs in excitement. There’s another one, a bevy of origami birds, flapping their jewelled wings in the wind and one with little paper animals in brown and purple. Each one of these is handmade with love. And I wish I could tell you that I made them all. But each of these trinkets was folded and cut, strung up and twirled by my husband. Every weekend he makes a new toy for our son and invents a new game to amuse our almond-eyed baby. And every time he does this, I wonder why I wasn’t the one doing any of this? After all, I’ve always wanted to be that kind of mum, who makes things for her little one in the scraps of time snatched from a day that’s filled with the needs of a small baby.

Handmade is a tradition I cherish and enjoy. Before I became pregnant, I imagined myself spending my time knitting cute little sweaters in pastel hues, embroidering baby blankets and crafting toys to entertain our chubby little bundle. But in the nine months of pregnancy, all I managed to do was knit a sleeve of a sweater and embroider a couple of receiving blankets. And come baby, I have even less enthusiasm or energy to craft cutsey things for the little one. I’ve spend many-a-moment wondering about this, feeling guilty, needling myself about what kind of mother that makes me.

But as I watched my husband make yet another toy for baby N, I came to the following conclusions:

Mama guilt is over-rated. It’s time to place it on the backburner and be more accepting of the kind of mother I am.

We are exactly the type of mom that our baby wants (with or without the handmade love.)

Mothers are of all kinds and there’s really no charter for an ideal mom. There are stay-at-home moms who do it all without help, moms who work out of an office fulltime, work-at-home-moms, moms who have a village to help them raise their babies. The idea is to be just the kind of mom we are and do/or not do what’s not true to our own selves and babies.

Often there might be a disconnect between the image we have in our minds about how mommyhood is supposed to be or what we should be doing when we become mothers and what we really do when we become mommies. Our ideals are often like Technicolor films and television adverts, but our reality is made of who we are and what comes to us naturally at that moment.

If Daddy is doing what you may have dreamt of doing for your baby, then that’s great because between the two of you the ideals and ideas of new parenthood are kept afloat.

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