PARENTING: Mother’s Day Issue -Embracing the power of multigenerational motherhood

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ON this revered occasion of Mother’s Day, let us embark on a fascinating voyage of introspection, where we unravel the extraordinary roles that mothers gracefully fulfil in our lives.

They are the pillars of our families, embodying the essence of love and strength, whether as stay-at-home nurturers or indefatigable conquerors of the professional realm.

From grandmothers to mother figures, they shape the foundation upon which our society stands.

Today, we shall bestow our deepest admiration and pay homage to these remarkable women, who devote their lives to raising and nurturing the seeds of the next generation.

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Mothers, the unwavering beacons of love, strength and guidance, cast a radiant light that guides us through the darkest storms and the most perplexing of times.

From the moment we take our first breath, they assume the roles of our champions, our protectors and our eternal wellsprings of solace.

Motherhood is also a profound journey connecting women across generations, creating a powerful legacy that resonates within us.

Today, as we honour their invaluable role in our society, we dive into the joys, challenges and wisdom that multigenerational motherhood brings.

Like the interwoven strands of a vibrant mosaic, we celebrate the strength and resilience embedded beyond time and space.

In the course of my own journey, I have witnessed mothers from diverse generations, each leaving their indelible mark.

My late mother, born in 1936 in India, often reminisced about a simpler time when cooking was a cherished ritual, nourishing both body and soul.

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Her mother, I was told, would infuse into their daily diet herbs and condiments that nurtured good health.

And for every minor ailment, there was a home remedy that was readily available and it always worked.

With ingredients harvested from their own farm and garden, a healthy lifestyle was ingrained following a natural balance that now aligns with the inverted food pyramid.

When my mother arrived in Malaysia after her marriage in 1963, she embraced the local flavours influenced by her Malaysian in-laws.

Over the years, she skillfully adapted and modified recipes to suit the local palate.

The result? Mouthwatering dishes that delighted the taste buds but deviated from the health-focused approach of her upbringing.

In my own generation, the luxury of a mother and a live-in maid combo spoiled me to the core.

Cooking and household chores were foreign concepts, as my mother’s expert hands effortlessly created culinary masterpieces.

Attempting to replicate her dishes never yielded the same satisfaction.

As I raised my own children, I followed the wisdom passed down by my mother, dictating strict mealtime routines and prescribed food choices.

Looking back, those mealtimes were often met with resistance and struggles with a sense of horror for both the children and the feeding entourage.

Now, I observe my nieces, the new-age mothers are driven by the knowledge acquired online, guidance from expert pediatric nutritionists and innate wisdom.

Their approaches differ greatly from the past, embracing a generously democratic way.

Their toddlers are empowered to choose what they want to eat and when, and learn to feed themselves with occasional messes that are considered part of the learning process.

Some practices of this new generation may sound peculiar to those from my era.

For instance, newborns were not given water until the age of six months, and sugar and salt are withheld for even longer periods.

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No candies or chocolates until who knows when.

Having said that, the babies grow up just as healthy, if not better and they are self-enabling from an early age.

On this occasion, I must mention a busy colleague of mine who talks about her twins who are just 12 and how they both mother her, including tucking her into bed and so on.

This is a true reversal of roles, and I would tell my colleague that such pleasure was a rarity and that she should relish and enjoy the pampering while it lasts.

Multigenerational motherhood weaves together the threads of love, wisdom and experience, forming a vibrant mosaic that intricately shapes the lives of mothers and their children.

As we commemorate the diverse perspectives and journeys of mothers spanning across generations, we cultivate a profound connection that spans the continuum of time.

Let us wholeheartedly embrace the power inherent in multigenerational motherhood, acknowledging and honouring the immeasurable contributions of mothers throughout the ages.

Together, we celebrate the enduring legacy they bestow upon us all. Happy Mother’s Day.

Bhavani Krishna Iyer


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