Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mommy Guilt and 24 Hours a Day

Having a job that I love, staying in sync with amazing people and friends on Twitter, Facebook and Blogger itself takes up all my time. That's why I can understand Barbara Miller's statement when she says, "As a mother of five active children, an owner of a growing business and a habitual volunteer I find myself testing scientific theory and bending and stretching time to unheard of limits. " (resource:The Impossible Stretching Woman: Prioritize to Return to Normal Size http://tinyurl.com/co9w28)

Let me talk about this in the context of an Indian woman whose way of life is radically different. A typical contemporary Indian woman cannot come back home and expect to relax, read the newspaper and watch TV or just gossip on the phone or simply idle away time at the end of a very hard working day. In my world, it doesnt work that way at all.

Countless details need to be checked that requires focus, commitment and detailing. My mother is a working mom. I've never seen her relax or spend time for herself. She is working or worrying about things that need to be done. Without her, I cannot imagine my dad managing his day efficiently. She looks into a thousand countless details about his patients, their records, their history and knows each of his patients by name.

Mummy looks into other things too though she cannot spend as much time as she would like with us. Is dinner ready? Are the kids fed? Did they do homework correctly? Did they eat well? Do provisions have to be bought? Are the clothes ironed? Did kids have a good versus rough day? Did hubby's day go well? Does something need to be prioritized for the following day? Did you call your parents, or others whom you need to be in sync with?...etc.etc.etc.

Now I understand how much my mom has worked to keep her identity by making a different choice of not being a 'home maker' but a bit of both. I think I've never seen her complain or say she's had too much stress even at this age. She never pampers herself because she has to prioritize her time really well so that it helps another person in dad's sphere of work. She works for the sheer joy of it. Not because of duty or anythingelse. I think that in itself is amazing.

My father, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the most hard working people I've met. I think i get my inspiration from him. He says, "work is worship" so he loves his work. Being a doctor is taxing enough but I've never seen him stop smiling. I've seen him work over 24 hours at a stretch. He is not so young anymore but he works harder and longer than I do, not because he needs to but because he loves to. He holds his work as sacred. It is not always about money but about the difference that you can make to another person's life. That human touch of love and compassion is something I've inherited from my dad. I'm indebted to him for that, among a thousand other wonderful things.A lot of my friends and colleagues have told me that my best traits are my ability to feel for others and to show compassion naturally.

Some one recently told me that i am his 'Guardian angel' coz I take care of him like a mother. A lot of people have told my dad that he's been a guardian angel to them. So this compliment I got takes me closer to what my father taught me to believe in, that work is worship, the best way of reaching God in a meaningful way.

I use my work to reach out to my team members and increase their learning. It isnt a one way point of communication because every day, every moment, I learn invaluable lessons and ideas and perspectives from them too.Reading Barbara Miller's article really made me think seriously about my role as a mom so I have to thank her for this article.

Like her, I too experience 'mummy guilt moments' in my life. When Adi, my son uttered his first words, I wasnt there to hear it. When Adi took his first steps, I didnt know it. It is a painful choice that I made because what I do at work is invaluable and losing that opportunity is equivalent to losing my identity. Still, there are no excuses for choices that you make about work.

I am there for my son when he wants and needs me. I dont want to suffocate him with my love or sense of control over him because I grew up with freedom. My parents never trapped me with conventional rules that you must do this and you must do that. They told me their perspective about something and would tell me, you think about it too and do what you think is right.

Till today, I do what I believe is right. I don't take anybody'else's mantra into my work or life.

If I believe something, I will do it. I think that is why I am confident of my work and the person that I am. I want the same for my son but I think when it comes to independence, Adi has always had a mind of his own. At six months, he would decide what clothes he wanted to wear. I tried persuading him with my choices and he would never agree. He always made his choices right from the age of six months. I think I want him to have an independent mind of his own like I always did. It has brought me far in life and I would like the same for my son too.

I dont want to be the conventional mom who shows right from wrong because I think each person must learn what is right and wrong on his own. No bodyelse can show or teach you that.

Some truths and some mistakes are yours to find. When my son is ready to move away, spread his wings and fly with the wind, I want him to have no fears. That day, he will know and respect the person that I am and the confidence I gave him to be what he wants to be.

But now he is perhaps too young to understand and I try to be there for him and if i can't, I try to tell him how deeply I love him and would like to be there and not miss what's important for him.

I think we all need to think about such moments and relationships in life because we need to take ownership for the choices we make and how it treats our loved ones.

Nowadays, I try not to push myself over the edge. I try hard to stay fit so that I feel relaxed and playful while I spend some precious time with Adi. I spend my time doing meaningful things that i love, like reading, writing, tweeting and blogging. The kind of amazing and supportive Twitter friends I have, well, I can't put it into words. Really, they make me smile and think in ways I never had before.

Still, there are lots of things that I want to do but I don't have the time to right now. I know that one day, I will make time to do things that mean a lot to my existence. One day, I plan to do all those things I've wanted to do. Not now, coz I have far, far to go.

Till then, I realize that there are only 24 hours in every day but I do feel contented that I make every hour truly meaningful and precious for not just myself but for a lot of others whom I learn from and who are bound to transmit the little that I know to another two generations. That makes me proud of what I do in 24 hours a day. I tell myself, "Wow, you're awesome" coz if I dont cheer myself, nobodyelse will.

6 comments:

Raaga said...

There are enough people out there who don't think twice before pulling you down... so we have to cheer ourselves. :)

GentleLavender said...

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate that.

The Mom Cook said...

Moms are our super heros, role model and of all some one whom we can look up to!!

Thanks for visiting my blog

GentleLavender said...

Yes, thats true. Our moms lead the way and the light:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my blog.

BMiller said...

Beautiful article. Life is full of tough decisions everyday but as long as we make thoughtful decisions and live them with purpose then we deserve to cheer for ourselves. Good for you!

GentleLavender said...

Thanks so much, Barbara. You are my inspiration for the article that I wrote. I am thrilled you shared your thoughts on it too.

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