It’s worth mentioning that I have written this article with utter ignorance, I’m not a mom, and the closest parental role I currently practice is that of an aunt, which I practice out of love, not obligation.
I love children so much, and I am quite patient with their tantrums and misbehavior, yet I still cannot imagine spending more than 4 hours babysitting them. But who knows! Maybe that will all change with marriage, motherhood and responsibilities.
Even if that changes and I suddenly started to love their loud voices and high vibrations, I do not think I would be that type of mom whose society tries to impose some false maternal ideas inside her mind. Ideas that turn the whole motherhood experience into a real hell in all levels.
During my studies, my readings in English literature, and through my friendships with many people from the west, I did not find any similar ideas in their culture. They believe that maternity is one more wonderful role in the life of a woman through which she can perform miracles which a man knows nothing about.
They mostly believe that a mother plays a major role in educating and disciplining children to prepare them to be actively involved in the community within a few years.
However they also believe in her right to have some time for herself, for her hobbies, her readings, her friends or even a time to do absolutely nothing.
As for us, Arabs, how we see a mother?
We describe her, or she is being described to us as a super-natural creature who wakes up every morning to carry the worries of everyone upon her shoulders. A super woman who should be anxious all day long, and should feel guilty if the kids didn’t like her lunch of the day. A woman who should put her children first and foremost before herself and her happiness in every single thing.
A woman who should live by sacrifice over happiness, over sleep, over success or even over health; mental, physical or emotional.
The Greatest injustice a society practices against women is to rise such unhealthy standards for motherhood. The greatest injustice a woman practices against another woman is to question her motherhood or to label her as selfish when she deviates from those miserable “norms.”
Society does all that then compare between the Arab and Western mother inside out after years of marriage!
If you simply look up the words “mother” and “أمي” in Google, you will see the difference in the nature of pictures you get with each search. Even though they both mean the same thing, each carries different vibes.
A mother is a big heart to contain you, but she is not an angel and should never be described as such, because holding such a title leads her to eat herself silently from the inside. It never does her any good.
I do not know about you, but when I become a mother, I will make sure to spend 4 hours daily of love and full dedication with my children. That’s way much better than spending 24 hours with them, while my mind is wandering somewhere else.
Girl, love yourself!
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I’m Noor Elhayat, and I’m a Saudi writer. I like to dance, eat bagels and collect stories.
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