Motherhood is exhausting . Most days I feel that I am working in double shifts .One that runs from 8.30 AM to 5:30 PM and another that runs 24 hrs . I know this is such a clichéd topic . Lots has been written on this but I still want to write some more . Motherhood has no off days , no time off , no sick days , plus its always a losing race against time .
It’s a tiresome , draining job . And at times thankless ..Because mostly the nature of this responsibility is intangible it tends to be overlooked and underappreciated . There are days when I am so exhausted that I can sleep standing too . But there are the toys to be put away , that story to be read ,reread & reread some more , the medicine to be given , which are all non-negotiable . So I have to invoke my warrior self to takeover so that I can get through the day . Wearing multiple hats & juggling through all the roles sometimes is daunting and intimidating . There have also been days when I have looked behind and wondered aloud “Man , how did I even get through that day”.
I didn’t quit my job when my child was born and that is a decision I am proud of . Yes , of course I took things slow in my career these 3 years. I refused to take on additional responsibilities , turned down great offers because It would have meant lesser time for my son , but I continued working . I wrestled demons of my own , when I felt dejected on seeing peers grow because they weren’t hemmed in by the responsibility of a child . After all I am only human .But every time I would sense myself getting bogged down I would remind myself this “to take things slow” was my choice .
Initially I had a full-time help and then my child went to daycare at 18 months . Daycare was a good decision for my Son . Not only did I see a positive change in his behavior , it helped his communication skills also immensely .He became far more confident , made friends and became a chatter box J . He dexterously wielded a fork and a spoon , picked up basic manners and many other trivial things which were big at that point . In fact he would treat the prospect of breaking bread with far more enthusiasm at the daycare than at home . For at the daycare , it was a 360-degree experience for him .At home , it was a forced activity that he had to somehow get over with .
Children adapt beautifully . Much better than adults . In fact it is us adults who remain stuck up with our ideas of child rearing and refuse to adapt . My child is a fussy eater right from the beginning . He was always a cherub , but not a chubby one .My sending him to the daycare is seen as the reason for his fussy eating . But the fact is he was always difficult when it came to food . There is nothing to even remotely suggest that he would eat any better if I were to quit my job and stay home !!And for this I have heard all sorts of sarcastic , mean comments . “What will you do with so much money” ,”Poor child” and what not!! First of all , my going to work is not just about the money . Hell yes it is also about the money . Who doesn’t want the money .. But it is also about me . It gives a sense of purpose to my life . I am not only a mother . I am a person in my own right , with my own talents & ambitions . And I believe I would be wronging myself if I don’t do justice to my abilities . I have gifts beyond my maternal sensibilities to give to the world ..
Secondly , all our interactions in the world broaden our thought vistas & bring a better perspective .If as a person I grow through my diverse experiences and varied exposure , would my son not benefit from it .
Thirdly , it is assumed Daycares are lax in their treatment of kids . That may have been the issue earlier but its not the case now . For the simple reason that we live in the digital era . Feed from the daycare can be viewed on your phone ,giving you instant access and round the clock access to you . Accidents can happen anywhere . It is not that our homes are completely accident proof . Of course, willful ,gross negligence will be a different case altogether . In this day & age of social media , where reputations can be built and vilified in a day , good daycares do go to great lengths to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the kids .
Our society is still mired in stereotypes and patriarchy is deeply ingrained in our genome. Child rearing & running the house are still seen as a woman’s job . So in addition to the deadlines at work , we women juggle with picking up the groceries , putting appetizing food on the table , children’s homework & school schedules , dealing with illnesses and bad tempers and what not ..God forbid , in between all this if the child does badly at school , falls sick , or throws a tantrum in public , the mother gets hauled over the coals by all & sundry. Over the last 2 years , I have realized that its pointless to berate oneself over these so-called parenting lapses. Being a working woman does not make me a lesser mother . For one , there is no single , error-free, accident-free template of parenting . There is no self-help book to help you navigate through the treacherous bogs & mine-laden fields of motherhood and parenting . It is unique to every mother & child . One has to constantly learn , unlearn and innovate . What may have worked for me need not work for another . Every mother is blessed with the discernment to figure out what’s best for her child . So disassociating myself from such criticisms was my way of handling it .You don’t need others to validate yourself. Strengthen your internal locus of control & practice a clinical detachment from such negativity . And if any validation is required , it will come your own child . I am yet to see a child who would agree to exchanging his mother with another child’s mom . Isn’t that validation enough of how wonderful a mother you are !
At times when it got too much to bear I have confronted the person concerned to put an end to it once and for all .
Often I feel that we women are battle hardened , doughty warriors with an invisible cape flapping behind, ever- ready to take off for rescue & recovery operations for our families . Just that we remain the unsung heroes ,our war cries are usually silent and our battles mostly unknown and unheard .As women & mothers ,irrespective of whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mother , show respect for other woman’s decision and desist from making condescending , hurtful observations . We are all heroes in our own rights & all of us are fighting battles , some similar & some different .
For women like me ,working moms , I would say Motherhood is a beautiful , though extremely demanding experience and let it not be blighted by the pettiness & malevolence of some .This is a journey to last a lifetime and a journey which will alternately call for Fortitude , Love & Faith . So chin up ,put on your battle fatigues , steady that invisible crown & go be the awesome Mom that you are !!!
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