With a throbbing ‘mind’ ache, a prayer to make everything work for me and a hope to increase my stamina exponentially, I switch off every night at around midnight almost like an abrupt, unplanned power cut. I am not sure whether my circulatory system suffers while I sleep but my nervous system does.
I have been often accused of not working smartly, of being tactless in a world that demands it, of speaking my mind way too often but never for being a bad mother. Yet the last one beats me up the most. Yes, it’s the self-inflicted guilt.
It’s not so bad either (except for those occasional pangs at the back of my cerebrum which I feel even as I write). If you see me with my daughter, you might feel that I am either lying or am insane! - gurgling with laughter, playing high-risk pranks, taking turns to be the horse cart which she loves to ride on or passing time in a mindless marathon of kisses, just like any other mother. My better half too, is one of those extra-supportive 23rd century men, who’s ready to take a long sabbatical and baby sit his daughter on any given day, if I give him a go ahead. :-)
You might ask – what’s your problem then? Well, I go to work outside home (I don’t like to use the term ‘working’ as ‘stay-at-home’ moms work hard too). I do that primarily for pleasure! The high I get, when my work speaks for itself, is unfathomable. Even if something went grossly wrong early in the morning, I would be my usual self an hour later as soon as I step into my workplace. Yes, my bank account too smiles at month-end which allows me to splurge a bit on my daughter’s books and toys occasionally. The challenge though, is that every moment of my time there, my daughter demands brain space. By god’s grace, she keeps good health, is very well-behaved and I am blessed with an awesome daycare too but what I battle with, is my own guilt of not being able to meet my own expectations as a mom!
As soon as I get back home, the phenomenon reverses! I am reminded of those thousand things that I could have done for the day to be better at my work. Switching my mind between these two modes ‘Daughter’ and ‘Work’, is the juggle! And the juggle is the struggle!
I must admit I am trying hard like that spider on the wall which failed 99 times before being successful at the 100th attempt. A self-managed conversation between ‘who I am’ and ‘what I want to be’ ensues as I try to stay afloat:
Guilt #1: That I am unable to do any learning-led activities with her in the limited time I have.
Mind Speaks: Not all geniuses had genius Moms!
Guilt #2: That she has to travel to and fro from school in a bus on a hot summer afternoon, while I travel in an AC car.
Mind Speaks: I am training her for life!
Guilt #3: That I feel angry when she falls ill on a day that I had planned meetings at work & can’t take leave.
Mind Speaks: She feels better when her Dad is around so he takes leave ;-) Her happiness rules.
Guilt #4: That she has to play with mobile or watch TV because I am too busy to play with her.
Mind Speaks: Aren’t we supposed to allow kids to make their own choices? So what if she chooses the TV over books sometimes?
Guilt #5: Those occasions when I am almost about to spank her due to my diminishing levels of patience
Mind Speaks: She knows why I do that. Once we patch up & I explain to her the ‘black’ and ‘white’, she is the most darling daughter you can ever aspire to have :-)
God knows that if he cuts my brain into two parts, it will be saturated with my ‘daughter’ and ‘work’, each with a 50% share.
While I try not to beat myself so hard, I pray that she gets the best of health, development and happiness even when I am not around!
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