My 10 Hats Series: Motherhood

by | Nov 14, 2021 | General


Photo Credit: Deb Sardar

In June of 2021 we relocated to India from the USA and this major transition has me thinking of my adult children often. As they continue to journey forward in their stories in the USA, I am proud of them for staying true to their callings and thankful to be able to continue to live into mine!

Although I am thankful for technology that provides us a way to stay connected, we are all being challenged to be more intentional with our relationships.

I became a mother for the first time in 1996 and this path of motherhood wasn’t always easy and understood for me. I struggled a lot in the beginning with finding my way and what was best for our family. I think many of you mothers out there will agree that much of motherhood is “on-the-job-training”!


To be honest, I went into motherhood well prepared with what not to do so learning what to do was really led by the needs of the child(ren) we had. Our four children taught me so many different lessons and required levels of understanding in a variety of areas so I would often seek outside resources such as mentors, counselors and parenting experts for guidance.

The role of a mother in the Indian culture is very revered and is held to a high standard. The respect and honour that is given is almost always public. This level of respect is also a belief that I have held deep in my heart throughout the years and can see how it has sometimes impacted my expectations in a negative way.

Although I have seen it lived out in a similar way in Western culture, in the Indian culture generally the mothers do a lot for their children and their families. While this provides great comfort and support for the family, the idea of “doing for” the child(ren) seems to continue well into their adult years. In Western culture, this ongoing “doing for” is called “helicopter parenting”; a sense of hovering by the parent(s).  Initially, this is where the disappointment was communicated to me. That I wasn’t “doing for” our children by still taking care of them into their adult years.  However, as I grew in my understanding of this cultural nuance, I began to recognize its roots and the “why” behind the it.

While raising children who are a product of a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial marriage, I learned that raising them in a Western environment would require me to modify my expectations.  I am proud and thankful for our four children and the amount of respect they give me. But since returning to my place of birth, I am just now realizing how important it was to me and where the root of it came from!

Photo Credit: Deb Sardar

When we first arrived here, I was often asked, “where are your children”? In some cases, my response was met with disappointment. I wasn’t offended by it because I have already received a lifetime of messages of “not being good enough”. I have learned that I am enough for my family and their opinion matters the most.

In the Indian culture, generally a girl will stay with her parents until she gets married and then she will go and live with her husband in his family’s home. A young man will stay in his home until he gets married and then he will bring his bride home to live with him and his family.

In contrast, in Western culture, generally a boy or girl has, not only the freedom to, but is often encouraged to leave home after high school – around the age of 18 – to go to college or to live independently. The goal is to discover the world for themselves with the hope that they are prepared with everything they have learned from their parents and other adult role models.

As an Indian girl, growing up in the Western culture, I was greatly influenced with the idea of autonomy and left my family’s home at 21 years of age to finish college and then eventually move to the USA to get married. I really valued the autonomy I experienced, while also learning that I was not living up to Indian cultural expectations. It was a difficult season for me that spanned decades, but I eventually learned that I could not adhere to some of my Indian culture’s expectations because of certain circumstances, and I would have to learn to adapt. Unfortunately, adapting to new environments not only invited ongoing disappointment from some people but also required assimilating into environments I didn’t feel like I fit into.

To live authentically into the cultural and ethnic diversity of our family, my husband and I chose to encourage autonomy for our children from a very young age. We knew and appreciated the value of autonomy from our stories and wanted them to experience the benefits of it as well. We came to believe that preparing the child for adult autonomy should be the goal and should therefore shape how we parented each child. Of course, we were conscious of how each child was uniquely created, what their specific needs, talents, gifts, and abilities were, to adequately prepare them for the world they were to enter.

Now that we have relocated to a different country, I am thankful for our approach because they have proven to have the necessary tools to thrive and live independently while maintaining a healthy connection to us as their parents.

For me, being a mother is a calling and not a job, as some people see it, but in a humorous way, I would say, “I was trying to work myself out of my job!”. I will never stop being their mother and they will always be my children. However, my role in their lives continues to be redefined as they get older.

Redefining roles suggests change, and I know that not everyone likes to change. But the reality is, “change” is all around us. Every minute of every day, we are needing to learn to adapt to changes that will help us live healthy lives well into our senior years and will allow us to pass on healthier perspectives to our children.  The question is, “what are you willing to do about it?”


To you mothers reading this…Here’s to growing forward in your “mothering” as I continue to grow forward in mine, in this new culture with healthier expectations and support all around!!



How do you view your role as a mother?

What are some learned behaviours that you wish you could change?

What are some expectations that need healthier boundaries in your story?




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