Founded by Ruchita Dar Shah, First Moms Club (FMC) started as a Facebook group. The platform and community are aimed at connecting Indian mothers across the world, to share the joys and pains of motherhood, and have grown phenomenally over the past 8 years.
A Mother’s Promise is a wonderful and heartfelt compilation of letters, poems and narratives from mums to their children. Why did you specifically choose the theme of “promises’?
I have been running the First Moms Club community for years and there are many conversations that take place on the platform. What caught my eye was that as mothers, it is always about making things better for the kids. We make these silent promises to ourselves. These can be simple things such as, ‘my child will travel more than I did’, or may be, ‘I will always give him a stress-free and safe childhood’, or ‘I will get him to read more’ and so on. It is subtle but a constant thought in everything the moms do. I thought that it would be good to chronicle these heartfelt thoughts into something long-lived.
How do you think the narratives would have been different had older parents penned this down? I notice that many of the writers are relatively young in the parenting journey.
It is at the early stages that we are most invested in the parenting journey. We think about it a lot more. The emotions are rawer as you are living through those feelings for the first time. But yes, narratives would have been different with older mums. My awareness as an older parent is definitely different. Maybe, we are more realistic and do not romanticize it as much!
How did you curate the mix of writers?
We had a mix of writers and everyday mums. You see, I’ve discovered that motherhood turns all of us into storytellers. Sharing it only makes it better!
Why no dads?
We thought of it, but since it was our first book, we wanted to focus it around the mothers, true to the name of our community. Maybe when we come up with a second book, we may have more Dad-writers!
What message do you want the readers to take away at the end of this all?
In the motherhood journey we find that many mums just feel alone. They feel that no one understands them. The idea is to make the readers know that they are not alone. There are so many women who are probably sailing in the same boat, but cannot express themselves. They can derive strength from others’ stories and from knowing that other women are in similar situations.
Of course, we also wanted moms to resonate and relate with the feel-good factor that comes when talking about children and motherhood. I think at the end of it, we want it to be inspirational to moms.
What has made you put this up for free downloading? Any print version coming out soon?
We do plan to put it up on kindle. We want to do so many more stories, and this book was about testing the waters. We are a small team and this was a home-grown affair that’s close to our hearts, so we were hoping people would love it as much as we do. Thankfully, the response has been really good. People read a book looking for something meaningful, and so this has definitely been encouraging.
I think many of the ideas that come out from the book are those of legacy. In a world where mothers encourage individual expression, where we reject shackles of the past, and where we do not want to leave the burden of our thoughts on our children, there is also a desire to leave behind a legacy that they can take forward. How can the modern parent achieve this balance?
It is tough! Today, children are exposed to so much more than what we were. We need to understand they are different people and more importantly, I think we need to accept it. We can introduce them to what we like but we have to learn not be disappointed if they choose a different path. Children are not extensions of you. We need to acknowledge that, and after that, if they do choose carry on your ‘legacy’ then that’s great!
I loved the fact that the mothers who penned these stories down were unapologetic about their decisions. For example, a mum who missed many of her child’s milestones since she worked full-time, did acknowledge that but never in a judgmental manner. This shows a maturity on the part of this generation of parents and children. Would you say that is true of most of ’society’ today?
I think it is because of the way digital medium has spread. We get strength from each other and are open about sharing so many things. People find their own tribe and that’s what online communities are for women. Earlier, we were restricted to the communities we were born into, but today, we can choose communities online. We can express ourselves. People are willing to share personal and intimate details… and that’s how women are finding their voice. The percentage is small but growing. When that happens, it does give people the confidence to be unapologetic about what they truly want and feel.
A Mother’s Promise is replete with touching and heartfelt write-ups by mothers to their children. Well, we can guarantee some tears of joy as the poignant words touch your heart as well as moments of humour. Ultimately, the book leaves you with an overarching feeling that being a parent (with all its challenges) is indeed a blessing!
You can download it from here – https://firstmomsclub.in/a-mothers-promise/