“But I am just 21 I have so much to do, hardly have I seen life. I have just stepped out of college. I want to work, want to go on treks, the mountains are calling me. They make me feel alive, I want to fly, don’t cage me father” she protested.
She knew it was a futile attempt. For her parents, getting her married was a responsibility, a major one which they wanted to fulfill as early as possible. Barely a few months after marriage and she was expecting her first child. She quit her government job as the mother in her wanted to revel in each moment of motherhood and relive her childhood with her baby girl. A year and a half later a cherubic baby boy was born to her. Taking care of 2 young kids plus the household chores right from cooking to cleaning hardly left her with any time to have a cup of tea but at the end of a tired day, those 2 innocent faces lit up her life. The mother in her was happy, what more could she ask for? But the woman in her still dreamt of those mountains, the urge to create her own identity, to do something.
A brilliant idea struck her. Why not take tuitions at home? She can be around for her kids at the same time do something she likes- teaching and be around people whose company she enjoys the most- children again. The classes were a huge hit and her name spread far and wide. It was not easy juggling her classes and home but a sense of accomplishments is what kept her going.
She looked at her daughter and thought “It isn’t easy to pursue one’s passion and manage kids and the house after a woman enters motherhood but I hope you too find the strength and courage like me to brighten up not only the lives of your spouse and kids but also nurture the woman in you. Hope you do not strangle her like many others do in – sometimes in the guise of too much household work and so little time, pressure by family or any other external forces. I hope my girl sows the seeds, waters the sapling and tends to the Woman in her. May she find her passion and have the willpower to follow it, come what may”.
Years flew by and the little girl grew up. Her passion was not the mountains but books. She loved to read, had a secret wish to become a writer one day, meanwhile she was happy reading her text books. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with brilliant marks and an All India Rank, landed a plum job and her goal was to make it big. She got married after a few years and her husband was equally supportive of her career. A few years into the same job and like everyone else, the monotony started creeping in. Fridays were looked forward to with bated breath and Monday mornings cast a dark spell. She thought if this was really her? Or was she in a wrong place? Had she lost the spunk? Where was the overzealous, ambitious go getter, the one who set targets of getting a rank in an exam where most just hoped to pass? Had she been replaced by a mediocre woman who just worked on auto mode?
When she voiced her thoughts to friends and colleagues, the free advices poured in “You are a woman you really don’t need to be so career driven, look for work life balance. As long as you can get off work at a decent time, no one pesters you to login or take calls from home, you get a good salary, have a brand name of a company people swoon over, what more do you want? Focus on your personal life and don’t think much about your work”. She was in a dilemma.
To add to the mayhem that was playing out in her mind, she discovered she was expecting. The life growing inside her brought in a surge of unadulterated joy and everything else took a backseat; she let things be and focused on her baby. She gave birth to an angelic baby girl and after a few months had to get back to work.
Initially things seemed ok as her focus was now her child but anything that troubles you and you fail to address- either make peace or take a step towards change is bound to haunt you. And it came back.
She thought a lot, debated, argued with herself, tried to convince herself and failed miserably.
To bring about a change would require her to give up a lot, look for something new which would come with its share of challenges and would require her to put longer hours at work. Was she ready? She did not know if she would succeed. What if the gamble did not pay off, what if she screwed it up? This would also mean spending lesser time with her child- was she prepared? Would she ever get back these golden years? Why not stay put and learn to be content? After all it’s just work. Why take it so personally? Spend time with her family, her child and find joy in other things like writing which she had just discovered and brought her sheer bliss. She toyed with the idea and let things be as is. One cannot get everything in life they say- your professional life may not be great but you are blessed with good family life.
She thought bitterly- when I was little my Mumma told me and my brother- dream for yourself and work towards your dream, you can be anything you want. But as I grew up I realize that despite the best of education, degree, intelligence and so much more, the reality is that for a woman it is not easy. How many women after having a baby take the step of a job change, which may require them to move cities, work at different shift timings, how many of them really make it big? And would they live forever with the guilt of failing in their role as a mother, a wife? Can a woman really not have it all? And why doesn’t the same apply to a man? Who made these biased and illogical rules? Will it ever change?
She could stay put and be a happy mother, wife and daughter but the woman in her also wanted to be happy with her work. The place where she spent 10 hours a day, 5 days a week couldn’t just be taken lightly. She did not desire to be the CEO, she just wanted to feel valued, feel good about it at the end of each day.
Change wouldn’t be easy, it was a big risk but who said it’s easy? Wasn’t it a rocky terrain for her mother too? Different wishes and ambitions but it wasn’t easy either. The biggest strength she had was her mother by her side, who took care of the baby and she could work with a free mind. It was time to take the plunge- the first step of being mentally ready for a big change had been taken. She was certain good things will follow. The ray of hope shone bright and made the day beautiful.
I love weaving stories, it’s my passion but this isn’t a fictional story- this is the true story of my mother and me. The #WomanInMe is a lot like her, I have inherited her perseverance, ability to dream and work hard towards fulfilling those dreams. The #WomanInMe knows that to raise a happy family I need to be happy and this cannot happen by sacrificing my desires at the altar, people may call me a selfish mom but they would talk anyways. She also taught me to be fearless and care a damn about people.
She taught me to not stop dreaming just because you become a wife or a mother, you want to be a writer work towards to it. You are unhappy with what you do, change is what is needed, it won’t be easy. You need to have risk appetite and be ready to slog, 24 hours in a day is never enough for a Mom who has dreams. But do it anyways – more than anyone do it for yourself. And that’s what gave me the impetus to knock on the doors of my heart, shed my fears of what if this doesn’t work and take the first steps towards change.
As I look at my daughter I want to be the wind beneath her wings, I would wish for her to follow her passion and her heart and nurture the Woman in her. Be it her work, her hobby or any other thing, may she find what makes her truly happy and build her sanctum which she could visit time and again to rejuvenate herself and feel alive.
I love, passionately love the #WomanInMe and I promise to keep loving and nurturing her, for the day I fail to do that I know this would take away a bit of something from every role I play. May you take the plunge, fall you might but I am certain you shall get up, dust your pants and be ready to face the next hurdle, after all isn’t that what the Woman in you is all about