It is one of those days. The hollow ones. Ones where you end up feeling empty and start questioning everything. You wonder if avoiding issues will force them to disappear. You can’t handle the loneliness but avoid company. You wish you could avoid reality and be with the fictional characters in your mind. You daydream and star-gaze. You wish the book-world would come alive and take you in. You wish people would understand but you don’t want to explain. You crave for a warm hug and a friendly smile. You feel homesick. When there is heartache for no apparent reason and cravings cannot be satiated by chocolates and ice-cream. You refuse to look into the mirror because the person in there is not you. You wonder when the twinkle in your eye vanished and the fire within you stopped raging. Definitely one of those days.
Had to pack Baby R’s bags for the 6th time within a span of 3 months. Poor thing is being moved around a lot. Paucity of good caretakers, working parents both posted miles apart that too in cities without daycare facilities and grandparents living in different cities are taking a toll on the little guy. Though he’s been a sport and is very playful but I can see the insecurity in him. Hoping things work out soon. My request to the Lord of working mothers- Please let me find a good maid. Soon.
The emptiness of a house hits me when I walk in the door. It has been almost a month since I had to leave my 2 year old with my mom because I am again without a reliable house-keeper. Three members of the family in three separate cities. That’s Army life for you. Missing my little one. Do I really want a career at the cost of separation? Sigh.
Separation kills. Not literally i mean. Still, staying apart from your other half that too with a toddler in the house is pretty tough. There are days (nights rather) when i am dead tired and baby R is super charged up. Times when my eyes are droopy and he is poking me to check why i am not responding to him. Poor guy can’t understand why I am crazy cranky at times. Desperately waiting for daddy to come home. Give me a break please. 3 more days to go. Near yet so far.
At times I thank my stars that I live in a country like India where getting a house-maid/nanny (although not professionally trained) is easier than many other places. With my work occupying most of the waking hours the only time I get to spend with my growing-up-too-soon-baby is dinnertime. So imagine my (good) surprise when I casually asked baby R – “where’s your nose?” and he points to his cute little button nose promptly. It seems my maid has been teaching him things in my absence. It is a huge relief believe me as it eases my guilt a little bit of not being able to teach my baby anything and the fear that kids his age already know so many things (I know, I know – never compare. Still…). It is a mixed bag because as a mother I start feeling guilty all over again that my child is learning things from my maid rather than from me….uff…pains of motherhood.
Guilt, doubt and constant worry – woes of a working mother. Though endlessly debated by both sides (the working mom vs. the stay at home mom), it still is a totally individualistic viewpoint. Me? I am a working mother. Working since eight years and a mother for a little over a year out of those.
How has it been so far? Umm….the jury is divided on that one. I am presently living in a town where there are no day care centres and the concept of babysitters does not exist. My husband, parents and in-laws stay in different cities and have their own commitments. Luckily I have found a temporary maid who has agreed to babysit for a couple of months. What then? We shall cross the bridge when we reach it. Clichéd I know, but that’s the best that I can do right now.
The basic worry taken care of, I still have doubts and endless guilt at the end of each day. It breaks my heart to see my darling baby cry when I leave him in the mornings. Sometimes he wakes to find his mommy gone and those are the good days. Out of sight out of mind right? He was mostly off breastfeed but has relapsed, seeking the comfort of the breast every time I am at home. His sleep pattern has drastically altered with him trying to stay up whenever I am around to ensure I do not go anywhere while he sleeps. He wakes up scared, crying. So people who think it is easy leaving your baby while you work – it’s not dearies. It is difficult, very difficult.
The negatives seem to go on and on. So why do I work? It pays the bills. Also if I leave I would have to change cities and move (but I am already moving every two years- transferrable job you see). Some say that seeing me work will instill a little independence in the baby but right now all I see is him clinging to me every second I am home. But being a SAHM? Will I get the satisfaction or will I regret later? In my opinion SAHMs are master managers; I don’t think I have it in me. Give me a board meeting any day but a hyperactive toddler and a house to run by myself? I am in shallow waters there.
So till I gather courage and take a plunge or finally decide otherwise I guess my dilemma continues like so many before me. This is one lesson each one of us has to learn on our own.