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Cult of Bad Mama

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Don't get me wrong. I don't object to motherhood per se. I certainly don't have a problem with all-sacrificing, 100% unadulterated love-incarnate, earth mother type motherhood either. My struggle is that that is the only kind of mothers I ever read about. The ones who spend their waking hours worrying about little Johnny's milk intolerance and blogging about how much poo little Sweety has deposited. I mean, where are all the real mothers? The ones who plonk their little ones in front of the telly so they may check out ex-boyfriends on orkut? The kind that sedate their non-coughing infant with Benadryl so that they can watch Sivaji in peace? The sort that secretly dream about adoption so that they don't have to go through morning-bloody-sickness again?

This is the blog for the less-than angelic mothers. The ones like me. Share your sordid stories here. The ones that are frowned upon elsewhere. Pour them out here. You are human after all. If you wish to remain anonymous, drop me a line at ammania@gmail and I will publish it for you. Come on, ladies. Join the cult. Yummy-mummies not allowed.

cross-posted at


blue mum said…
am coming am coming. i hope this would prove to be another "lost in post" type "unthinkable, yet a relief to write" space.

thanks ammani. there's no such thing in this world as a bad mother. in your own words...we are all humans after all.
Munimma said…
benadryl, yes, the savior of moms all over! Doc recommended actually for long trips. unfortunately, doesn't work on determined kiddos.
Space Bar said…
Oh, yes! I like, I like. Is one allowed to talk about wanting to strangle the resident cherub?
Anonymous said…
Strangle resident cherub!!! Whoa that is serious Angela yates stuff!! i think ammani refers to the non-psychotic ones here!
SS said…
I loved your post :-)

During my pregnancy I really believed that I would not expose Ab to the tube until he was 2.

Recently,I've started playing 30 mins of Barney and Friends just so that I can sit on the couch and breathe for 30 mins while dances. And he is 19 months old. Guilty!
Space Bar said…
Anon: Erm...the wanting doesn't translate into action, you know. I was wondering if, in this case, the thought can stand up to be counted.
Blogeswari said…

Looking forward to your next blog

deepika said…
This blog sooooooooooo completely rocks , way 2 go aunty, ur a complete fcp, btw i know of u thru this lady called uma, ROCK ON, chk outta my blog too if u hav d time
Sujatha said…
Count me in!
Shyam said…
Gosh, I wish I was a mama just so I could belong to this cult! :) Can I be an honorary bad mama please? I'm not kid-friendly once they cross the age of 7. And who hasnt let out a heartfelt groan of dismay on seeing all the mummies with yelling brats in the queue waiting to board the plane first? And HOW I've prayed that I dont get to sit next to them!! :)
Madura said…
Loved it! :))))) ....
Totally rocks!
sree said…
me too, i was hunting for some space to belong after scolding off two noicy brats to sleep and about feeling thankful to "Maggi noodles", not having to cook?
rads said…
alright! Finally, I was beginning to feel quite 'bad' with all the mommy posts :(

Thanks a bunch, am on my way.
Jillu Madrasi said…
Mine from a favorite columnist C.K.Meena.
Jillu Madrasi said…
Here is the whole CK Meena piece:

Childless bliss


After they find out that I'm married, the next question is, of course, "How many issues"?

I HAVE been working my butt off this past month. Racing in spurts like a wind-up toy, no time to breathe, getting snippy with friends and snapping at strangers, living on Chinese takeout dinners and even the odd lunchtime pizza-at-the-door. And just when I think I'm about to murder someone, a single thought stops me in my tracks.

All complaints freeze in my throat.

And I hear music playing.

I'm not quite sure, but I think it's a gospel number that runs in my head.

Lots of hallelujahs, anyway. Maybe even an "Oh lordy" or two. The rousing chorus goes: "Child-free, child-free-eee".

The single stunning thought that makes nonsense of all my whingeing is: "What if I had all that work to finish, and two children to look after?" It's enough to make me eternally grateful to all concerned for the pleasures of living in a state of childless bliss. What if, instead of the quiet presence beside my chair, I heard a persistent voice butting in each time I wanted to write a line? Let's imagine that I'm reaching for the dictionary to check whether whingeing has an "e" or not. There comes that tug of the hand. "Where's my caterpillar jigsaw puzzle?" It's not going to stop at that. Sundry questions will follow, most of which she already knows the answers to. "Who gave me the puzzle? Was it Somu-uncle? Was it for my birthday? Why is Somu-uncle's tummy so big? Is he going to have a baby? Does he have a cat? Can I have a cat for a pet? Can I have a monkey? Can I have a monkey for my birthday? Can I have an ice-cream now?" In case you're dazzled by my intimate knowledge of the workings of a four-year-old mind, let me inform you that my family and friends have generously kept me supplied with a whole array of children of all ages and sexes. This makes me quite the expert on child behaviour.

I know how an 18-month-old can manipulate you, I know all about frisky three-year-olds and frenetic 10-year-olds, and I know the exact expression on a 14-year-old's face when he's called upon to make polite conversation with his mother's friends. But I can't for the life of me think of one good reason why I should have children of my own. Oh, I love the little creatures, don't get me wrong. I am often moved by their devastating innocence. It's just that it's much less stressful being aunty than being mother. I can play with them for hours when they're in their best moods, and airily walk away when tempers turn foul. Their parents can't afford to do that. They're never free from thoughts about their children. Ever. They keep their ears cocked at all times. Like a shadow play, the silhouettes of their children dance forever on the backdrop of their minds.

This burden of lifelong responsibility, this awareness that my life would inescapably revolve around my children if I had them, is perhaps my strong motivation for remaining child-free. And it's precisely this that makes the world resent people like me. Total strangers' reactions to my state of being never fail to amuse me. After they find out that I'm married, the next question is, of course, "How many issues"? I beam brightly at them and chirp: "None." Immediately their faces assume an expression of utmost concern. They believe that I'm putting on a brave smile to hide my pain. At times I make the mistake of explaining that it was a choice, and all sympathy vanishes to be replaced by suspicion and sometimes downright hostility. "How dare you?" is the silent message. "How selfish of you." Guilty as charged.

I like being able to take my thoughts out for a walk, to dream uninterrupted. I like being able to go to bed whenever I want, get up whenever I want, and get back home at my own sweet will. I don't need to crave a moment to myself - a sea of moments is there for the taking. An image from my childhood comes to mind. I once saw a nest of baby crows with their pink mouths open, cawing incessantly for their mother. No sooner would she feed one and turn to the next than the first one would quickly gulp down the morsel and start cawing again. I remember feeling rather sorry for the mother crow. Not very different for the human being, is it? I don't regret having sought freedom from this, but I also know why millions of men and women don't regret having forsaken this freedom. It's the love that gets them hooked - the unreserved, uncomplicated love that only a child can bear.

I notice the young mother watching her toddler play in the garden. Not really watching, but watching out for him. Absentmindedly she gazes into the distance as she calls out to him now and then. I see him changing over the years. The maniacal tricycle, the fights, the falls, the fevers, the homework, the exams, the loud music, and suddenly, one day, he's just an e-mail message or a voice on the phone. I go back indoors and sit before my computer. Silence. If I need to create anything that I can call my own, it's there right before me, waiting to come to life.

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Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”

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Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.


Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

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My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

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