Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-06-09 20:00 Last week, I felt like some tapas for lunch. So, I strapped my daughter to the car seat and headed out to the only tapas restaurant in Chennai, my new abode, hoping to experience the a-la-mode slice of the city. As anticipated, it was a faddy place thronging with the weekend brunch bevy either hanging around the buffet or having a laugh around long wooden tables spilling over with tiny platters. Hoping to get a seat near the buffet counter, I pushed the pram to a table that looked inviting when the waiter asked me to accompany him to another place – the farthest end of the room, around a clammy corner that I never knew even existed. “Why?” I asked him. People with children get this table, he told me. “Why,” I persisted. Those are the rules mam, he replied sheepishly. So there I was, wedged between two concrete pillars, facing a crack of a breathing space, pram barricading my only way out, trying to get the attention of the waiters who also seemed to have forgotten that such a place existed. People often ask me whether I have changed after becoming a mother. True, I have become more responsible (at least I think so), but otherwise I haven’t changed – in thoughts or in deeds. Only things around me have changed. If at all I have changed, I can only say that I have become more audacious. I started running, hiking, biking and even scuba diving only after becoming a mother. Motherhood hasn’t stopped me from exploring life, but people often assume that motherhood means the death of personal pursuits. So, often we are pushed to clammy corners, or sometimes we choose to put ourselves there. More often than we realise, people make it difficult for mothers to do even the most ordinary things. Along with being judged constantly – for the way they bring up kids, for the lifestyle they lead, for the careers they choose or not choose or even the way they dress, mothers can’t even tug along a child to restaurants or even gyms. When I took my daughter to my tiny little apartment gym, the instructor told me that I shouldn’t bring her along the next time. “Why,” I asked. “Rules madam,” he said. So, for a mom like me who chooses not to depend on a nanny for help, life can be hard. Eating out or even working out can be hard. But that is not the end. Somehow I have fared to find time, even if it means working through the night or sacrificing a couple of hours of sleep, just to strike a balance between being a mother and a humanoid at the same time. It is possible if we try and remember not to be too hard on ourselves. Every mother needs her space – she needs to remember that, so do others. So, take a solo trip, wear those bikinis, discount those stretch marks, read those piled up books, ask the hubby for help, go for a run, go to sleep, wake up late, eat what you want – the world will not end if we indulge in life occasionally.