This piece is not about that situation that every woman faces when she becomes a Mommy- the decision of whether to continue working or become a SAHM? Or probably a Work from Home Mom. I am a Working Mom by choice. Family support affords me that bandwidth to work. Sounds easy? No it isn’t.
I don’t have to worry about the Nanny taking a day off or my child not happy at the day care? Is she well fed? Are her diapers changed in time? How is she treated? Not that all day cares are filled with monsters who are out to get our kids, but when we leave them at a day care or with a Maid/ Nanny, to say that we would be completely at peace without a crease of worry, is not true. When our child is being taken care of by our kith and kin, we are much more at ease. But does that mean life is a breeze for the Mom on question. It’s far from that.
When day dreaming before I joined back work, I would always see this rosy picture of me waking up at the crack of dawn and working deftly at lightning speed cooking breakfast, food for the baby, packing lunch boxes, taking a shower and dressing up in smart casuals with high heels for office. While at work, I am the that talented, super smart and efficient multitasker who adeptly handles meetings, mails, gets work done, talks to my stakeholders and convinces them and by the time it’s 5, I am magically done with everything for the day. I call it a day and pack up.
Once home I take the baby for a walk, then cook for her, we sing songs, laugh, play. I feed her dinner and she goes to bed like a good girl. I then spend some time chatting with hubby while we grab dinner, half an hour of leisure time reading or writing blogs and then going to bed.
But that was just a dream, a mirage. – Reality is far from it. 6.5 years of working has taught me a lot of things- good communication skills, multitasking, how to articulate myself better, analytical skills and so much more. But it’s a rat race which just gets murkier as you grow senior. It’s the time you realize that there are many things you cannot control like people’s perception, which again may stem from a host of things. The race to the top is not just about doing your work well it’s about so many other things and some skills which not everyone can possess (you know what I am talking about!). Plus when you are a Mom, though how much people tell you and you tell yourself to keep your personal life out of office and focus on work when at the workplace, the thought of wrapping up and getting home in time after battling the mad traffic in metropolitan cities is what the mind is always pre occupied with. So the days you mange to pack your bags and call it a day at a decent time of say 5ish so that after a cab ride of 1.5 hours in the ever growing traffic, you are back home by 6.30 which is a decent time and gives you some good time with your baby before she goes to bed, you smile that you have made it, but you don’t fail to notice the smirks all around. The comments of “oh half day kya” ,”wah wah Aish hai” and “Oh she is a working mom work life balance it is called, don’t we dare raise a finger” and so much more , some are hushed whispers at the coffee machine and some remain unsaid but they all seem to be pointing at the working mom. They fail to notice the daily login at 8 am (yes others do that as well) they don’t think about the breakfast and lunch had at desk so that food can be gobbled up in as less time as possible or if had in the cafeteria it is but a 15 min affair, and luxury of coffee breaks is not something that she even dreams of. Let you in on a secret too- she sometimes doesn’t drink much water for that would mean trips to the toilet and when it’s a day with too many things to do, every minute saved is worth it! Despite all this there are those days when she cannot leave by 5; she misses the office shuttle which would mean the next one which is at 6. This is the worst time to travel as its peak office hour and by time she’s home it’s already 7.45-8pm.
Drained by work, the pressure of trying her best but knowing that there are things beyond her control and they don’t look in her favor, she sees the little one smiling vivaciously “Mumma “she calls and the worries vanish. Some days they vanish into thin air instantly other days it’s slower, but disappear they do. Such is the magic of this little child. The little one is up to her antics now, feeding her is not easy nor does she go to bed that easily so by the time dinner is done , utensils are washed ( thanks to the man of the house who does this each night unflinchingly) she is drained and just hits the bed hoping baby will sleep soon.
The Mommy guilt bogged her down initially, “my baby never cries for me she happily waves me good bye, will she ever know I am her mother or will she l love those who take care of her more?”But as time passed I saw her slowly and steadily understand that I am her Mumma and she may not cry for me, I struggle to feed her a meal, she tosses her head and refuses and my grand mom puts the morsel of food miraculously right into her mouth, and I look with a sigh. Yes I may not be perfect at these and someone else may do them much better than me but that doesn’t make me any less of a Mommy. So I have risen much above this mindless guilt, I am glad I could conquer it.
But after a particularly long and tiring day at work I wonder if it is worth it. Yes I do it cos the amount of money is not something I can forgo, I need it for a better lifestyle for my child and myself, I need it to pay my EMI for the house that I bought and I like dressing up, going to the workplace, meeting people, doing something to occupy myself and getting paid for it. There are days I wonder if I am really passionate about it, does it really give me a sense of accomplishment, If not for the money would I be happier staying at home and baking, reading, going to salsa classes, blogging and exploring new things above all spending this priceless time with my child as I watch her grow and capture each moment in my heart as we both create wonderful memories of these days. This time will never come back.
This is not to say that I hate what I do and do it forcefully just for the sake of doing. This is no true. I have always been the kind of person who puts my heart and soul, does things with dedication, strives for perfection so that end of the day I know I tried my best and this trait which I have since childhood continues. It’s just that on some days I do wonder if this is my true calling. I discovered my passion for blogging when I became a Mom and I was pleasantly surprised to see such a fabulous response to my blogs, people wrote mails, shared their thoughts and feelings, some posts went viral, I made so many new friends in the virtual world with similar interests and I realized the sense of satisfaction I get when I complete a post is so much more. And this is something I discovered by chance quite late in life, I have never been formally trained (Like I trained for my profession), I randomly penned down my thoughts and a new world opened up to me.
My earlier notion that Stay at Home Moms must be really bored or lazy was shattered when I became a Mom and more when I started reading blogs and writing, I realized there is do much to be done at home. Apart from the housework, there are a plethora of opportunities which are really difficult to explore when you have a 10 hours a day, 5 days a week job and you are a Mommy.
How much ever we talk of taking out time did ourselves, cross your heart and tell me how far you really succeeded at that? How much time do you get to read a book leisurely, attend an event, have dinner at your favorite restaurant, conversations with friends are wrapped up when the baby cries for attention.