I have never known a mother who has been either completely selfish, or absolutely selfless. All my life, I have come across conscious mothers, who have a deep understanding of the "long-term" goals and aspirations of their children. I have come to believe that mothers are mindful and are acutely aware of what they are prepared to give away for the rest of their lives.
A mother is someone who prioritizes her needs, yes, but over and above that basic tenet, she prioritizes the needs of her child. I've had the fortune of knowing a mother who fits that description, and I've known and assumed every mother to be a reflection of that same sentiment.
A mother is expected to lead by example when we are kids, to show us something at least close in perception, to a 'way of life'. As we grow older and hit our teen years, she walks behind us to make room for us to fall back in times of need and she always makes it a point to just 'be there', every step of that dingy, disturbed lane called life. Time passes by, and there comes a time when we are adults, but the idea of her as an overarching guardian still still exists right beside us, making us realise how we can capture the best moments spent together, just being 'friends'.
She isn't someone who goes to bed when you haven't returned home, she will gorge on delicacies and let you sleep on a hungry stomach. In fact, she might be that one person who chooses to go hungry as long as you're well fed and taken care of. That's the way I have imagined every mother in the world.
On The "Motherly State Of Mind"
I think there is something very basic that changes in every girl once she approaches motherhood. There is a genesis of unquestioned love, unlike what you've known before or grown accustomed to. Mothers can teach you to love indefinitely, to know that no amount of love is "too deep", and to love deep enough so as to rejoice in someone else's happiness as if it were your own, feel the pain within someone else's wounds, and to feel without expression, lest it betray the multitude of emotions that lie within.
Being a mother is not a full-time job, because it might not be a job at all. It is not a relationship, but probably best explained as an emotion. Motherhood can be best described as an emotional state that is born when a child is born, and continues throughout the child's lifetime and beyond. Mothers have a connection that begins in the eyes and flows through an invisible line between hearts.
It is almost impossible to draw analogies to motherhood, because they might seem as obscure as comparing a heartbeat to a home. A mother is probably the only adjective that is allowed the privilege of being called a heartbeat to a home. Without her, everything simply seems to be lifeless. Literally.
This is a guest column by Manvi Singh. If you wish to contribute a guest column to The Times Blog, please submit a sample of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.