Middle-aged mothers 02/12/2010

We are seeing a new breed of ‘Middle-aged Mothers’ in the late 20th century and they are on the increase. They are in their late forties and early fifties, still full of life and with a wide range of interests and hobbies. Their husbands are on the verge of retirement and all set to prepare post-retirement plans. But, for the new breed of ‘mothers’, there is no retirement, no superannuation and no part in their spouses’ retirement plans because life starts all over again for them, a different kind of life.

Their day begins at 4 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. as they work almost round the clock. Their routine includes, besides household chores, changing nappies of babies, preparing their feed and putting them to sleep and snatching their forty winks while the young are asleep. Come evening, the whole family is at the table looking forward to a sumptuous repast. Does that leave the new middle-aged mothers any time for themselves? Can they pursue their hobbies or interests with a round-the-clock schedule like this? Certainly not.

What happens if these ‘mothers’ fall ill or tire themselves with overwork, ageing at a faster pace? Who will take care of them when they can no longer look after themselves in their seventies and eighties?

You must be wondering who these ‘Middle-aged Mothers’ are! Doesn’t every mother take care of her children? What’s so great about it, you may ask.

There is nothing great if ‘they’ are the real mothers of the children they tend to. Enjoying the child’s pranks and lisping  talk  is different from having to take care of him/her all the time. That is what the grandmothers of today are forced to do because either they have working daughters or daughters-in-law who are away most of the day, leaving their children in the care of the grandmothers.

The latter are forced to don the role of ‘mothers’ all over again. This time it is with greater responsibility. Since they are accountable for their grandchildren’s behaviour/misbehaviour, their task becomes doubly difficult.

More often than not, they  find it a thankless job. This is the ‘other side’ of the picture of ‘Middle-aged Mothers’. They are the ‘reluctant’ ones who long to have some time for themselves to spend as they wish. But before long they realise it is only wishful thinking on their part.

Sometimes the child’s aunts (especially spinster aunts) also are forced to take up the role of ‘Middle-aged Mothers’ for various reasons and their plight is worse.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao



4 thoughts on “Middle-aged mothers 02/12/2010

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    The youngsters don’t think so because they are focussed on their own lives, their careers and their social life. Children do not have the same nurturing and protective feelings towards their parents as the parents have towards their children. Somewhere in the inner recesses of their minds, they might have a sense of gratitude for what they received in their childhood, but they rationalise to themselves that the grandparent passionately likes to baby-sit, cook and clean all their lives without respite.

    It’s as if they have convinced themselves that Sisyphus enjoys carrying the rocks up the hill ( The Greek gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, from where the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour).

    You indeed have observed the anomolies in our human society, you feel empathetic towards such females because you understand their plight. You are angry with the status quo but feel helpless. Your write-up reflects your angst. Sometimes life really sucks ! This is journalism at its best.

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