There is no doubt that mothers are a walking miracle and there is no word beautiful enough in dictionaries to describe them.
Gilbert Parker once said, “For when a child is born the mother also is born again.” Every year on Mother’s Day when the internet gets flooded with overwhelming posts about mothers, and buying expensive gifts become a normal thing to celebrate the day, here’s a social support group that talks no-nonsense, but only complete Momsense to make parenting super exciting and cool for mommies!
In a candid conversation, Life Beyond Numbers spoke to Ritu Gorai, 36, founder of JAMM’s Network (Journey About Mast Moms) to find out what makes these super moms stand out when it comes to parenting.
“Parenting is more of a privilege than responsibility for me. I feel very very blessed that I got an opportunity to mold and facilitate another person’s life, someone who is going to be the future generation. So standing in front of them as a role model is very crucial to me,” feels Ritu, who is a mother of an 8-YO baby girl.
Journey About Mast Moms – The Begining
When I relocated from Delhi to Mumbai in 2014, I didn’t know anybody or anything in the neighborhood, says Ritu. On being asked whether she is a single parent or not, Ritu says, “When it comes to taking care of our child, I am a parent, doesn’t matter what my relationship status is. I wanted a girl child and I was blessed with one. I am very happy that I chose my child over aspirations and I have absolutely no regrets about that.”
JAMM was not planned, says Ritu and it started when she promptly created a group just out of her love for socializing and networking. “I created a small group of mothers from my inner circle, they were my friends, ex-colleagues and some of the neighbors as well. Mothers from our group started to invite more mothers as well and this is how we are connected to 50,000 mothers online and offline,” she said.
As we all know there are no set guidelines or books about parenting and one has to just accept it as it comes, for every child is different. “Lessons about parenting are not taught in schools and therefore, when you raise your child, you also evolve as a parent. Having said that, parenting does give you a fair amount of curiosity and anxiety of whether you are doing it correctly or not, and the share of guilt in case you have left your child and do something of your own but it is very natural to go through these emotions as a parent,” says Ritu.
Till now the social support group has done more than 400 workshops and all free of cost. This is so because she believes in the idea of giving back to society and empower mothers.
Is it Necessary for Mothers to Stay Informed?
We live in a time where the amount of rape and assault cases are on the rise and sadly, children are not spared. This is where parents need to be more conscious, talk these things out to them. “Safety and security of kids have become a huge issue today, it is good that some pre-schools are introducing the concept of safe and unsafe touch to students and are involving sex-ed teachers as well,” says Ritu. “We as a community has boosted a lot of these workshops.”
“I give my daughter simple situations and ask her to choose her response in those circumstances. This makes her aware of the senses. Therefore, she has a fair idea of what open conversations with parents look like and a fair understanding of the situations around her,” believes Ritu.
JAMM also works closely with Whatsapp and Facebook India. “It is because of the user-friendliness of these platforms the initiative has become much more effective now,” she adds.
Becoming a Mentor first and a Friend later?
Bonding with children doesn’t happen overnight. One has to add time to the relationship and nurture it beautifully with love and care. Children fail to share important incidents of their lives because they fear how the parents will react. Ritu says, “It is not them but us who needs to choose our response wisely when a child is sharing something with us.”
“I believe there are two types of parenting, one is Helicopter parenting and another is Lawn Mowing parenting. Talking about the first one, the parent constantly controls the child and lead the kid’s life. They do not give them the freedom to be themselves- be it space or creativity or the opportunity to experience boredom. In the latter one, the parents tend to give in their children’s whims and fancy. For me both don’t work out,” tells Ritu to LBN.
“I have been very clear with my parenting since the beginning- that I will be a mentor and not a friend. Because my daughter is just 8-year-old and she is not capable of making her own decisions. So, I have to constantly guide her and help her make the right choices. Once, she is in her late teens, there will be a little more maturity and consciousness of what things are or how her environment is, then I feel it is fine to become her friend. So, I am not in favor of parents who ask me to become friend with the child, instead I think guiding them like a mentor is necessary for this phase,” she says.
On asking about fathers doubling up as mothers or married couple who are skeptical about having children, Ritu puts forth a very strong and important message for them- “Do whatever makes you happy and there is no need to feel guilty about it. It is very important that you take care of yourselves first before taking care of your children. Even though I am yet to come across fathers who are also mothers for their children, but I have a lot of respect for the couples who have just reduced few carbon footprints in the world,” says Ritu between laughs. “It is not that they are missing out on life, they travel, they have a great time. They are happy, they are childish themselves, so nothing matters.”
“As parents, we have a lot of learning and unlearning to do. We live in a country where people are critical and judgmental about what we believe makes us happy. It is high time that we do not let others decide our identity,” she concludes.