MUMS WILL BE MUMS

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With social distancing measures in place, we talk to some mums to know what Mother’s Day means to them and how their family is going to celebrate the day this year.

Motherhood is one of the most rewarding yet sacrificing trait of a woman. No matter which country you live in, what language you speak, there is no place as peaceful as a mother’s lap and no language as pure as a mother’s love. This Mother’s Day, we talk to three wonderful mothers from Melbourne, who are at three different stages of motherhood. While their lives may be different, the sheer selflessness and undying love for their children is the quality that binds these three and probably every mother on earth together.

Sunalini Arya is a new mum of 7 months old twins Jia and Jai. When Sunalini came to Australia in 2014, she started her dance school and also organised dance fitness classes. Sunalini got into lecturing and is a sessional lecturer at La Trobe and also at Melbourne Polytechnic. So, what does Sunalini do today? She chuckles saying, “I am a full-time mum, a full-time teacher and also a full-time student.” She’s got her hands full, pursuing a master’s degree in Teaching.

While it may sound like a cliché, Sunalini truly manages to balance all her roles effortlessly. Sunalini thinks she has developed this habit of organisation and multitasking only because of motherhood. She knows she will have to make time to attend to her kids, to feed them and clean them as they are so young, she knows they will not be able to feed themselves or even express what they may be feeling like. She has gradually learnt how to compartmentalise her professional and personal life. Her kids are her top priority, and she makes time for them no matter how much work she has to finish in a day.

Another beautiful insight Sunalini shares is that this skill of multitasking is not something that you sit and think about having, it just comes to you naturally when you become a mum. When asked about her upbringing skills and who has majorly influenced them, Sunalini credits her mother-in-law. “After I got married, Eshan’s mother became like a close friend to me. She used to tell me different stories about how she raised Eshan. These stories left a mark on me. There is a difference between inculcating traditions just for the sake of it and inculcating values. I learnt that from my mother-in-law. And even today, with my in-laws living with us, I look at her for guidance,” Sunalini said. When asked about the difference in upbringing kids in India compared to here in Melbourne, she said that while it is fairly easy to get help in India, but here we have to learn to do everything ourselves. This, in turn, teaches us the value of being independent which also subconsciously passed on to the kids.

With the current situation of social distancing and the lockdown, Sunalini is now taking lectures online while having one of her kids on her lap most of the time. So, while the pandemic and its impact are gruesome, Sunalini is trying to look at the positive side of it. She is getting to spend more time with her kids! She gets to witness Jia, and Jai’s personalities develop right in front of her. While her kids are too little to celebrate Mother’s Day with her, their family aims at dressing up and having a quiet celebration at home. Finally, her message to all the desi mums out there is, “Motherhood is like a blessing. It is surreal. We mums ought to enjoy every moment of it. Happy Mother’s Day to all of us! I hope we have a beautiful celebration this year and every year.”

Husna Pasha, besides being a supermom to her kids Aliyah (11) and Shahan (8), also wears many hats professionally. Husna is a public speaker and also teaches the art of public speaking, particularly to women of colour. She has also appeared on TV a couple of times and has established a successful catering business. While growing up, Husna always considered herself to be a tomboy until she had her first baby, when she realised, she was born to be a mum.

Husna finds her inspiration in her kids. She teaches them to love selflessly, always give back in gratitude and her kids, in turn, teach her to be more self-accepting. With the increasing consumption of social media and its influence on children, Husna emphasises on the importance of teaching children to be kind, loving and to be a good person. “It is crucial that kids today know that these are the virtues of a truly rich and wealthy person.”, she adds. This beautiful mum is more like a friend to her kids. She wants her kids to grow up to be independent and aware of how superficial the digital world can be at times.

Social distancing has made an impact on Husna’s family too. While her husband is becoming more aware of their kids’ routines, helping them out with schoolwork, Husna is finally able to give some time to herself. She is working from home, cooking delicious food with her husband, spending quality time with her kids and also making time for some daily exercise. The entire family is also learning gardening together. Husna wants to make the most of this time to bond and grow with her kids.

Mother’s Day celebrations are always special for Husna like many. Her kids prepare something special for her, their school organises fun activities around the day, and she invites her mum and her sister to come along for a Mother’s Day special family dinner. But this year, they are going to have the ‘Zoom’ version, a virtual Mother’s Day dinner! As for a Mother’s Day message to other brave heart mums, Husna states, “All the challenges, the barriers, the downtimes that come with being a mother are actually a blessing for us. Be proud of the way you are and of the way you are raising your children. Motherhood should be embraced, celebrated every day! Happy Mother’s Day and make sure to be proud of yourselves today and every day!” Husna’s kids Aliyah and Shahan also have a cute message for their mum and all the wonderful mums reading this. Aliyah says, “Mums are very helpful and overprotective, but they’re very loving at the same time.” Shahan adds, “Mums are the best. They take care of you when you are sad.”

Husna has a message for other desi mums:
“Life is not perfect, and neither are the people around us necessarily, but remind yourself every day about how lucky you are to be you. Your challenges are there to help you evolve, grow and continue to be the best version of you. When you put yourself first you will have the capacity and resilience to deal with anything that comes your way. Never apologise for being the powerhouse that you are. You are amazing.”

Neena Anand is a firecracker mum who has raised two wonderful kids – Preet (30) and Anmol (26). Born and brought up in Delhi, Neena moved first to New Zealand and then to Australia after she got married. She was running a kindergarten school all by herself in India and now handles the family business with her husband. She has always been a hands-on mum and has never shied away from handling her work as well as her sons simultaneously.

For Neena, her sons have always been her source of joy. Having seen them grow up and become the ideal sons that they are today makes her immensely proud. “My husband has also played an important part in Preet and Anmol’s upbringing. Unlike in India, he knew that we had to do most of the chores by ourselves once we started living in New Zealand. Since then, he has helped me a lot in taking care of not just the house, but our kids too.” The one thing that she learnt while raising kids out of India was to respect her kids’ opinions and interests. She had noticed that back in the day in India, usually, the head of the family made decisions. But when she came to the land down under, she decided to break that cycle, to give her kids freedom and let them feel safe at home. She wanted to create an environment when they could freely express their opinions. Another boon of raising kids outside of India was that their schedules weren’t as packed, and they could make time for their kids. Neena bonded with her sons and over time, has developed a wonderful relationship with them.

Social distancing has helped Neena grow even more closer to her sons and their partners as both the sons are married. With no option of having social outings, they are spending quality time at home, having lazy afternoons sitting and talking, reminiscing childhood memories. Mother’s Day has always been a social event where Neena’s family gets together with a couple of friends and their families, they go out for dinner and have a beautiful evening together. This year, however, Neena doesn’t know what they will be doing. (PS – She is hoping her sons prepare a surprise for her. Hope you are reading this Preet and Anmol.) Neena loves to do small things for her sons, her daughters-in-law and all her family members. Be it appreciation texts, surprise gifts, an extra-long hug, preparing their favourite foods or even just calling them up and checking on them randomly, Neena loves to do that as a mum. And on this Mother’s Day, Preet and Anmol have a special message for Neena. Preet shares a Mother’s Day Haiku – “She carried us first. Her unconditional love. Here. There. Always.” Anmol adds, “Mum you are like superglue, always holding the family together through thick and thin. For all you’ve done, we should make every day Mother’s Day.” And lastly, Neena gives a warm message to all mums, “Love your kids as much as you can and give them the independence to grow themselves.”

These inspiring mums and their stories tell us how each mother has her unique way of raising her kids, of moulding them and shaping their personalities. Let’s hope these mums and all the other mums out there are celebrated, appreciated and loved not only on Mother’s Day, but every minute, every day of their lives.

By P Harsora