Mentalhood: Pressure Of Playing The Perfect Mom Needs To Be Dropped Now!

ZEE5’s latest original series Mentalhood explores a space where we see what mothers experience while raising their children.

Rashma Shetty

March 28, 2020


6 min


Motherhood and parenthood are amongst some of the hot topics of discussion these days. In the Indian context, we often hear people blame parents for their kids’ bad behaviour. Raise your hand if you’ve heard – “Maa ne do thappad lagaya hotaa, toh aaj yeh aisa nahi hota”, “Arey Maa-Baap ne parvarish achchi nahi di hai!”, “His/her upbringing is not right!” – we often don’t pay heed to these remarks unless they’re directed at us or then until one become a parent. There are enough expectations from women after they become wives in our society; increase it by a hundredfold and you’d know what pressures moms face. ZEE5’s latest webseries explores a space where we see what mothers experience while raising their children. One line sticks out in the trailer – “It takes a village to raise a child” – but somehow in our society it often ends up being the sole responsibility of a mother.

It’s funny how mothers are put on a pedestal and hence often end up bottling up their own personal frustrations and put their needs and wants aside to cater to that of their kids and more so to the societal standards of being a “mother”. I’ve heard horror stories of raising children and it starts right after the mother delivers a baby. In some households, where a woman is unable to deliver the “Raja Beta”, the mother is blamed for not being able to conceive one. She is often treated as a factory to deliver the parivaar ka vansh. Some women are even subjected to criticism for not being able to lactate properly. With more nuclear families, ladies face criticism for trusting caretakers with their child while they resume work or then entrust their partners to grab some sleep. And it’s not just your relatives, their relatives and often your folks from your own circle dole out unsolicited advice on parenting and motherhood. Many women who’re unable to cope up with the pressures of parenting and bodily changes experience post-partum depression.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, in a 2011 interview to Good Housekeeping had confessed that she suffered from PPD and felt that she was a “terrible mother and a terrible person” after she delivery of her son Moses. In fact, many public figures like Princess Diana, Chrissy Teigen and even Friends actress Courtney Cox have admitted going through a low phase after childbirth.

Mothers are often expected not just to don many hats but ace all of them too. And while every mother has her own way of raising her child, she s often labelled for her choices. A mom is often expected to put her child before everything else and its not as if on doing this she becomes the ‘Perfect Mom’, she can also earn the title of a ‘clingy’ mother for keeping her offspring as the centre of her universe. I remember a friend once told me how his mother, who was a journalist let go off her job for her 5-year-old son. As the boy grew up, he became more independent felt that his over-protective mother was encroaching his private space. It was only many years later he recognised what his mother that his mother had sacrificed a great deal for him. He encouraged her to get back to a profession she so adored and was committed to. But not every woman gets a second chance.

Thankfully, things are changing today. Parenting is no longer a woman’s job alone. With the idea of stay-at-home dads and partners voluntarily participating in raising a kid more and more ladies can relax. The judgements will be there, but at least there are small changes, like acknowledgment of the PPD or then a woman’s needs along with a mommy’s duties.

Perfect or not, mothers have the warmest hugs, sweetest smiles and are our biggest support systems and cheerleaders. As moms, women and humans its important to acknowledge that role and learn to understand that even a mother is human, and she can err too. The pressure needs to drop, her needs must be acknowledged and every little effort of hers should be valued…. Also, she must be loved as much or even more!

And if you still don’t know why a mom’s imperfections deserve as much love then watch Karisma Kapoor starrer Mentalhood on ZEE5 and you’d know what we’re talking.

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