Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Look Who Is Watching

I didn't know Banni was paying close attention to me one ordinary evening. I did know that nothing slipped past my bright, inquisitive second-grade daughter. Like all mothers, I bragged about my child's brilliance, but once again I was caught off-guard by her insight into adult behavior.

From the time I picked my munchkins from after-school day care at 4 pm after my work, that particular Tuesday evening until after our family dinner, she observed me prepare a snack for her , her older sister and brother, comb their hair into beautiful braids and Joora, help them with their homework, cook dinner, wash dishes, and sweep and mop the floor. And I began the daily laundry routine during all these chores. When her dad walked in the door from his day's work, she observed him stretching out on the sofa, checking mail, watching television, eating dinner and retreating to the backyard to play catch with her brother.

"Ummm," Banni wondered what was wrong with this picture. In her mind, the score wasn't quite even. She decided this issue demanded immediate resolution.

As I checked a load of clothes in the dryer, Banni approached me with a puzzled look.

"Mom, is it hard being a mommy?"

"No, dear," I moaned as I trotted to the family room with a load of hot sheets and towels to fold. "I love being a mommy."

"You do?" she asked in amazement.

"Yes, I do, sweetheart," I moaned again, as I gathered up a pile of smudged play clothes to start yet another washer load.

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, to me, it looks like mommies get all the hard work and daddies get all the fun."

"This is what moms do. It's part of my work. You didn't see Dad working hard all day at his office. Now it's time for him to relax and have fun with his family."

"Oh, okay," Banni conceded. "So, when is it your turn to have fun?"

Good question. I wondered if I had a good answer. Before I replied, my son called for Banni to come outside and play ball. As I folded and stacked towels, it occurred to me that as Banni observed me that evening, she didn't see a contented mother, happy to be home and care for her family by maintaining an orderly home. What my daughter watched was a stressed woman frantically rushing about the kitchen preparing meals. She witnessed an impatient woman who thought the story in the second-grade reader would never end. She saw a weary woman who seemed to prefer scrubbing sticky pots and pans to skip jump rope in the backyard.

This wasn't the picture of motherhood my daughter needed to model. She deserved better. (I deserved better, too!) She needed not a picture of perfection, but one of joy and contentment in a mother doing the same old household chores again, and again and again.

In her daddy, Banni noticed a man who took time out for himself and his family. It was my turn to try that approach to life as well. I decided immediately that the laundry could wait to be folded. I joined my family by the swing set. My relaxed, new and improved outlook on life paid immediate results. My family watched in amazement as I started counting at jump rope….ek…do…tin….char….panjaah….aassii….sau……...


Anonymous gurnit said...

that's so sweet. =)

8:59 PM  

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