Friday, September 29, 2006

We Are Doing It!

Carol Evans, the CEO of Working Mother Media in her book, ‘This Is How We Do It’, shares

“Today, as CEO of Working Mother magazine, I'm often asked how we working mothers manage to juggle motherhood and career, life and work, self and job. And I always think of Dr. Wan. (My doctor who delivered my second child; encouraged me through ‘pushing’ when I almost gave up) Because sometimes being a working mother feels overwhelming, and some days we're convinced we just can't do it. We want to yell at someone, "I can't do it!! I want to go home!"

And then I see Dr. Wan's smiling face in front of me saying, "But you are doing it!" And I realize that we are. Twenty-six million mothers—more than 72 percent of all moms in the United States today—work full- or part-time. We raise strong and happy kids. We fuel the economy. We earn money that keeps our families safe and secure. And we get a ton accomplished in a day at work.
Still, most of us draw a blank when friends and family ask us, "How do you do it?" Nine times out of ten we laugh (or cry) and say, "I don't know. I just do." But in our hearts, we know that response doesn't do justice to the real answer. How do we do it? We do it with old-fashioned elbow grease, with humor, with sleepless nights. We do it with the help of family and friends who pitch in, with great babysitters and caregivers, with husbands who learn how to support us (or not!!). We do it by cramming more into a weekday and into a weekend than should be humanly possible. We do it by finding confidence in our own choices. And increasingly, we do it with the support of our workplaces and our husbands. However, my husband, Bob, now a devoted partner and father, wasn't always that way.”

If it was not for photographs; I would have had hard time believing that it ever happened – pregnancies, babies, toddlers, kindergarten and so on. My children are now almost teenagers and memories are already fading. Raising children at first seems like a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, we realize that it is an endless essay. No parent knows everything. Being mother of three, I can reassure you that they not only look different but they respond differently too to the same loving mother. One child responds well to positive reinforcement while other can only be managed with a stern voice and/or a timeout. One of them is toilet trained at the age of three but the other at 2. One likes bottles of baby food, while other wants to eat daal-roti out of your plate. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself; learn to lean on Waheguru for all the decisions you make for and about your children. One such decision I made to continue my job after the babies arrived. As Carol puts it; I also believed “We earn money that keeps our families safe and secure” but to my dismay I can open journal of my memories and write a novel about the guilt moments. Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, we all learn through our mistakes. Now when they are not babies any more I wish I lived in the moment at that time. I wish I wasn’t in hurry all the times; wish I stopped and captured the moments in my heart. Once, when they were 4, 2 and 4 months, my husband was gone for work-related trip for a week. Though I had nanny at home during the day while I was at work; I was left alone with the munchkins before and after my work hours. One evening while I was busy with the baby; the older two found box of ‘Aatta’ (wheat flour) in the kitchen & played in it like sand. When I turned around, I could only see their big black eyes in the flour covered body. Our family room carpet was all white. While giving them bath again, vacuuming the carpet that evening; I was in tears. It did not even occur to me to laugh with them and take few pictures before cleaning it all up. I was so much attuned to the clock; doing everything by the clock and if anything ever fell apart like this, I would be all tensed up. Over the years I have learnt to relax but now relaxing is not enough. They need my time to hear their school's stories, to ask all kind of questions that arise in pre-adolescence and during adolescent years. No, I strongly differ with Carol; we can still ‘push’ ourselves but this time it will be at the cost of well-being of our babies . Sometime s it is absolutely necessary to do Caesarean and cuttin g second job outside the home is that c-section fo r me .

3 Comments:

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4:29 PM  
Anonymous punjaban said...

Isn't it always like that? I agree with your kids childhood you must feel you rushed thru it.

I feel it with mine. I want to go back to my 'pind' and take a bath in challah (tubewell) and run home all wet ... sadly i can't do that anymore.

You are a strong mom Massi Ji!! Keep it Up!! I hope you get to take off from work soon :D

I miss my bachpan now ... :(

5:44 AM  
Blogger Singhni said...

Punjaban,
I agree with you, life is like that but it has become more so with the changing norms. We have had 'khula bachpan' in the 'pendu mahaul'; todays children are loaded like donkeys with books and mendatory extra-curricular activities. I just look for those time patches where our kids can be kids and they are not restrained further by my time schedule. Making life-style change though is a tough one but I have no doubts that it will be rewarding due to sense of satisfaction that a mother gets nowhere but being with/nurturing/guiding her children!

7:26 AM  

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