Secret Wish List of Moms

Motherhood is hands down a wonderful and very satisfying experience. But all is not always hunky dory, as often perceived or sometimes portrayed. As a mom there are things I go through and I feel, is it just me? Then, it moved on to what if there are other moms out there who are going through similar things, but are feeling alone or sometimes a bit lost.

And, ta da! I kicked off “Secret wish list of moms”. For once I didn’t have to do anything but ask around young moms and mom-to-be’s to send in their feelings. Let’s take a look at what moms (includes me) have to say!

Motherhood is hands down a wonderful and very satisfying experience. But all is not always hunky dory, as often perceived or sometimes portrayed. As a mom there are things I go through and I feel, is it just me? Then, it moved on to what if there are other moms out there who are going through similar things, but are feeling alone or sometimes a bit lost.

And, ta da! I kicked off “Secret wish list of moms”. For once I didn’t have to do anything but ask around young moms and mom-to-be’s to send in their feelings. Let’s take a look at what moms (includes me) have to say!

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Perfect mom of her son says “I left my career for a short while to take care of him because I am reluctant to give my son to others’ hand (it is a kind of fear and depression that I don’t want to share him). I like to think that I can leave him somewhere when he gets a bit bigger and with this hope I keep up job searching (not vigorously). Some will think I am not ambitious but that is not the truth. I am just believing my instinct and setting out my own priorities. As my son is 2.5 now, I feel this is the right time to step out, but I am not sure whether opportunity will knock my door too. My secret wish is to live back the life of ‘no responsibility’- just what we enjoy at my own home: nice food, good sleep and no tension. But I know that those days are gone, now I am a mom, wife, career woman etc.

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Working mom who wishes to spend more time with kid says “I want to spend more time with my kid, but sometimes I shout and beat my kid when she does some naughty things, especially when I am really stressed at work. I keep thinking that I should not turn my tensions into anger towards all, but sometimes I cannot help it. I secretly wish to take some time off and go to some really cool places with my husband and baby.

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An anxious mom-to-be says “I never thought the red line in the kit that marked the confirmation that I will be mom will bring so much of self-realization and individuality in me. I thought I will be taking this pregnancy along with my husband as a couple together. But things turned otherwise that I was left alone. Of course, I have my parents but no daughter can celebrate the ownership of her parents post marriage, worst case is if you have chosen your own partner. I was staying with my parents after 12 odd years and things were no longer like it was before marriage. Maybe they didn’t realize that I am all alone with no support either from husband or anybody from his family. Then, I voluntarily went to my husband’s place but I was soon sent back again to my parents place citing ill health. There started this journey of self-realization. Four months of introspection and interaction with like-minded friends boosted my confidence and strengthened my valor. Initially I was trying to pull my partner to get him to understand what I am going through. Unfortunately that resulted in pain and fatal arguments between both of us. I felt he was busy concentrating on his own career and his acquaintances. It became worse when we stopped talking for quite some time which has never happened in the 4 years we were together. I was slowly able to overcome all of it and I stopped seeking his attention and time. It was around this time that I was diagnosed with severe anemia and depression. I realized the seriousness of where I need to be. I took some time off, read lot of books, spoke to lot of people, rejuvenated my lost acquaintances and started to surround me with positive people. I slowly built the lost confidence. I have now reached the stage that nothing can demean me and my baby. Even if I am the last human being left on earth I will take care of baby and I will be the best mother to her. I wish and feel pregnancy as a journey should be traveled by both the partners. If it is a single lane it will turn difficult for both of them as they are laying roads in opposite directions. However situations, customs and culture differ and some of the women are left alone at least during their first pregnancy which can be avoided with slightest effort from both the partners. My wish to other moms is to stay fit and to stay strong.

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A nearly perfect mommy says “I am always worried: that my daughter could be still hungry? How frequently should I change her diaper? Is she meeting her growth milestones perfectly? How can I keep her engaged all day?

I keep worrying almost for everything, while secretly wishing for the day I can start having my road side panipuri (Indian savory snack)!!

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Full time mom with a full time job says “I guess you are wondering how is that possible being a working mom; but let me tell you that I am a 100% present mom when I am with my son. I get judged a lot because my son goes to a crèche from 10 to 5. It is as though I am a lesser mom and at first it used to bog me down a lot. Trust me, that it is not the easiest thing to give your kid to someone else. There were days I used to wake up and think I wish I don’t have to work or earn a living; but I know it is not for money that I work, but because I truly love to have a career. And, that does not make me a selfish person. Right now we are in a good place and my son adores me, we spend all non-working hours together and I feel this way I am more appreciative of every second that I spent with him. I know for sure that he will find a role model in me and I will have more experiences to share with him as we grow up together. I secretly wish sometimes to have some time to myself- read a book, binge watch shows, paint my toes, go to spa or have some time with my husband. Yes, we do spend a lot of time together as family, but I secretly miss his companionship and wish there is something we can do about it. I also wish that people randomly don’t keep advising and scaring me, but encourage me for the positive things that I do, as some reassurance and validation is what I badly need now.

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Happy mom with twin interests says “Working out-of-home, I am glad I can spend as much time I want with my two kids, but I miss the ‘me time’ so much. I have once fantasized going on a break for a weekend or so with a best pal or a long lost crush, to spice it up a bit, so that I am away from the monotony.  Preferably a beach, as it relaxes me.  And I come back rejuvenated. Yes! I do secretly wish that my husband notices me romantically. I stocked up a pile of sexy lingerie, but then I realized lingerie doesn’t matter at all 🙂 you know what I mean?

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New mom of a 2 month girl says “I quit my job to take care of my baby as all that I keep thinking wherever I go is about her. I am not comfortable leaving her with anyone, even my partner. I am always anxious if I am feeding her well or is she growing as per what is mentioned in the baby books and online media. Though, quitting the job was my decision, I am always worried if I will get a good one or if I will be underpaid or if my ex-colleagues and friends will go far ahead of me in this so-called corporate race. All those who suggested that I quit my work, now keep on nagging why I quit and that I shall regret this in future and blah. I feel like staying away from everyone and their stupid suggestions. When I see myself in the mirror, I see that change, a big one indeed. I don’t receive any compliments anymore, no one admires me and I am worried that spending so much time with baby will create a distance between me and my husband. Though he was very supportive all this while, he cannot do much when it comes to the baby. I get anxious and I keep thinking if he was ready to welcome our baby. I know he was, but still these thoughts haunt me. I secretly wish about holidaying with my husband and that is something I have been longing since I was pregnant. Sometimes, I want to do seemingly mundane things like gulping down a glass of beer or wine, or pampering myself at the parlor. But, the most important thing is getting back to office as it keeps me active throughout the day. I am a very happy mom and I feel proud that I created an individual, but somewhere I am worried if I will lose my individuality raising her.

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A complete woman says – Days and months have paved way to where I am now – an year into my new job after maternity break, going back home to my naughty 2 year old daughter, husband and wonderful in-laws. Beating the blues of the first few months: is she sleeping enough, is she fed enough yada yada; I successfully navigated to the next stage where I could sit back without worries and wholeheartedly enjoy being a mother to my beautiful little daughter who was few months short of year then. A group on a social networking website guided me through the abundant sources of information on the internet and more importantly, made me feel that if it is a difficult day, week or month as a mother – “This too shall pass!”. Sometimes that phrase, as much as it helped me deal with the issue on hand, made me sad too – my lil one will grow up soon.
All through these 2 years (and 9 months), I’ve been wishing that I could walk into my home back in my place, sleep till I want to, eat the food that I ate as a child, enjoy a relaxing spa while my crush texts me with a flirty message, after which I walk into a cafe to meet him – no kiss, no intimacy and definitely no strings attached, enjoy the raw romance and get back to my home – sleep. Wake up to a Monday morning – all refreshed and ready to head back to work – with good health and a sound mind. All through these 6 years, I’ve been wishing that I could go back in time to MY days.
As much as I love my daughter, I have realized and made peace with the fact that I hate my life!
And, by the way, I am a complete woman because I feel so, not indicating only motherhood and career completes a woman. I feel complete because I have all the aspects of my life that I wanted and need.
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These are women from different walks of life, but I feel they all share one thing in common- strength of their character- the courage and resolve in doing what they ought to do, despite being judged or facing loneliness (not alone) or putting their dreams on the back burner.

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And, at the risk of sounding preachy, I also need to share a snippet. I was telling a guy-friend of mine (who had a baby around same time as me) that I wanted his wife’s inputs for this blog. He disappointed me by telling why I would want his wife to make a list of his shortcomings. I felt he like many men (/people) out there totally miss the point. Whenever a woman seeks help she is either a nag or is pointing fingers at a guy. Most often, we are asking you to be there for us while we figure it out ourselves. To be fair, it probably could be because the way a woman reaches out makes it look like we are complaining all the time. But, sometimes a little support can go a long way. And, as partners we need to do it together and not both of us, separately- that is just not the same.

Finally, a big shout-out to all the moms who put their feelings into words for me (you know who you are ;). Sometimes just putting it out there will help release some steam and get you going. All I have to say is you are not alone! You go girl!

Lastly, when I started this project I was thinking that I am going to help some moms out there. But, now I realize it is the other way round. This whole experience was very humbling and it has helped me in ways I never imagined. I am convinced without an iota of doubt that I need to keep doing things that I believe in, even if that ruffles few feathers and rattles some cages.

P.S

If you are/know a mom and like to share your story, please feel to post it in the comment box below. No pressure!

Not just a piece of furniture

Nobody remembers when the rocking chair came to our home. But, when you think about it, it feels like an eternity that the chair was part of our life. The mahogany chair sits in the corridor connecting living room and kitchen, overseeing the hustle and bustle of our household.
One of my earliest memories of the chair is tip toeing  pass it as my grandfather sat in it. Being the patriarch of a large family we respected him to the extent that we could hardly speak to him. But, every morning after breakfast he would ask his grandchildren, how many idlis we had and how well we were doing at school. During those days I have felt that the chair is like the witness stand in court.
When grandpa was not around, I would meekly walk up to the chair and run my hands over its smooth surface. There were some dents and marks indicating its age and the journey it had gone through over the years, but for a long time sitting on that chair was a distant dream as my mom discouraged the very idea of it.

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And, you know how fascinated we are about forbidden things. Whenever I visited my grandparents I would hang around the chair and my eyes would fall on the old Bakelite phone with a circular dial pad. It was one of my greatest childhood wishes to sit on the chair, dial a number on the phone and later, keep the receiver on the cradle with a click. I had fantasised this moment a lot in my childhood and finally when I managed to do it, no one could wipe the smile off my face.
A greater part of my teens I totally ignored the chair. I would walk past it a thousand times, pose for several family photos near it and attended many phone calls leaning on it. It took me several years to realise that I had not lost interest in the chair, but perhaps growing up I had lost the inquisitiveness and attachment to such small things that actually play a big role in our life. Alas, I was very naive at that point to understand how much that chair meant to me.
When we take things for granted or later realise it, we really cannot key in on the point we started doing so. But looking back I feel it must have been in the times we all have rebellious thoughts. We have these dreams and goals that we want to achieve, and who has time for a rocking chair or someone sitting in it advising you about life.
I guess it is not that fire in me died out, but it was a case of realising over time that life is not about materialism or ticking off things from a list or an endless chase. I did not and still do not regret the time I took to come to this point, because after all it was those experiences that shaped me. However, I did not waste anytime once I got my priorities sorted and returned to the chair with an open heart. I patiently listened to those who sat on it sharing their experiences, be it about their childhood, work, marriage, raising children or simply gossip. Sometime in middle of all this I felt that the rocking chair is not just another piece of furniture and beyond the wood, varnish and cushion, it shares with us a legacy of shared experiences and memories.
Today, I sit on the chair with my 3 month old son and I rock him to sleep telling him stories about this and that. I know that he is too young to understand, but I am sure he will be able to feel the warmth of the moment we share and that is what I want him to take away from this. Much like the rocking chair, I want to be there in his life, not being too pushy, but be there when he wants me- to be part of his fears, excitement, hopes, dreams, conflicts and realisations. I want to be his rocking chair.

P.S
This article about chair is a juxtaposition of several chairs in my life!

“Work in Progress” motherhood!

Straight from heart story of making baby steps in motherhood.

Once upon a time, a mother was helping her seven year old daughter prepare for a scholarship exam. “Hyakutake is the name of the comet”, said mom to which the kid daughter replied: “When I grow up, I am going to name my kid that”.
Fast forward 21 years and here I am. This is my story of making baby steps in motherhood. And let’s start with few disclaimers. This is not an article where I justify the choices I made: like the ones you see on how great it is to be a stay at home mom or what a guilt ride it is to be a working mom or such stuff. I am also not trying to glorify pregnancy and motherhood here. This is just a light-hearted take on what I went through in pregnancy and after, laced with experiences that are made of same stuff as wonderful memories. Also, I did not write this in a day. I wrote this as a journal for several weeks of pregnancy and also after, and lot of people asked to read that. Now, that is too special and private to share, but at same time I want my friends and well-wishers to feel part of my journey. Then, it struck me, as to why I cannot condense it all in few words. And here we are.

# It all started in my head- I mean I conceived the baby in my head first (dubbed as project Plan B, B for baby, irony is it was always the no:1 plan). You know how it is for dreamers, they always have these references for what an experience is likely to be- I had a version myself- a concoction of what I saw in movies and read in books. I always thought when I do get pregnant, I am going to jump up and down with joy, my husband is going to sweep me off the floor- you get the drift. But, none of this happened. I was alone when I found out and all I did was sit there silently for some 2 hours- occasionally looking at the mirror, I saw a different me- one with a full heart and a tiny relieved kind of smile on lips- I  was content and I waited patiently for my husband to come back from office. That moment I realized this is not just a life changing moment, but I am changing too.

# The part of world I come from, everyone has a say on what goes on in your life- and I mean literally anyone you could probably run into. So, after marriage everyone asks when the baby is coming and when it passes 3 years of marriage people are no more subtle or dropping hints- they tell you things explicitly- like you are not trying enough or you have to meet a doctor. Many such occasions I swore upon God that when I do get pregnant, I am going to wave it on their face and say screw you (moms are not allowed to swear, but there are exceptions). But, when I did get pregnant, I did not bother because I realized this is not an achievement or a trophy. I chose to share it only with people who I thought cared. The other day when I was around 8 months pregnant this girl who often commented on why I am not having kids, while others who married later overtook me, pinged me. She wanted to know if there is any good news and I told her work is going on really well. What she wanted is to have a jibe at me and I let her have it.

# Love and support flew in from all directions: from unexpected people, in unexpected forms. I never knew so many people would actually care for me with their presence, thoughts, gestures, food. I mean just not parents, relatives, friends and colleagues, even total strangers like the auto rickshaw/cab drivers, house keeping staff at office and people I met in the super market were so considerate. It was overwhelming and to say the least the most humbling experience for which I will forever be grateful.

# Again, it differed. It was not hunky dory like you see in Bollywood movies where a pregnant woman is glowing, gushed over by husband and family, she is divinely happy and even invariably knitting a sweater. I mean you puke a lot- you look, feel and smell bad; you also have to do all the work because you have always been the strong independent woman. I also began to feel a difference of attitude towards me- I mean one day you are this strong, competitive, independent woman that all want to speak to and the moment you are having a baby, there is a gear shift- you have to mellow down, you are less competitive and also needs to settle down. Now, that was a bit disheartening because I really do wish people do not assume things about you and force it on you, rather support us to take the path that comes naturally to you. You know what is worse if you show some emotion- good, bad or neutral- people just call it mood swing- I mean, I wanted to scream at them- this is not a mood swing, but then I would only confirm their theory, wouldn’t I?

# And the fatigue gets to you. You are struggling to remain at top of things- there are so many doubts and you are second guessing yourself. It happened to me; I really thought I am not good enough for some responsibilities. Someone was kind enough to suggest I take a break, relax a bit and come back face the problem, which I did and with a bit of positive reinforcement, I got my steam back- my self-esteem improved. During this phase, there are lot of people who I reached out to- some said I am just cribbing and I need to buck up; some said pregnancy is such a normal thing, a phase and I just need to cope; some said I should let some things go and I cannot have it all. A note to self from my experience here is whenever someone comes to me with a problem; from now on at least, I am going to acknowledge that there is a problem and not deny them an opportunity to deal with it. Often, all people want is a sounding board- it is lame to think you can solve something for someone; you can only enable them to.

# I realized soon enough that by planning too much for future, we were not focusing on the present. I was letting go of all the beautiful aspects of having a baby. The only happy thing that I was doing was writing the journal which I totally enjoyed and also the ultrasound scans where I could see and hear it. But I wanted to feel a real connection with the baby, so I started reading stories to it. I and my husband also started discussions on little things, the sweet nothings. Stuff like what would baby look like, who would it take after, what features of each other we want the baby to have etc. I would say that it not only brought both of us close to the baby, but also brought us together as a couple. We also had so much fun planning and executing a maternity photo shoot and that was when I saw my husband the most excited. I understood that his way of connecting to baby and fatherhood came only when he did something that he enjoyed, and I should in future also let him find things that he feels part of, rather than push him to do things I do. But, one thing he unknowingly taught me was that we also need to be part of each other’s activities how much ever you dislike it. I read stories to the baby and often ask him to as well and he will brush it off. One day I had puked a lot and was very exhausted, lying down and he picked up this book and read a story to the kid. It was the happiest moment in pregnancy for me.

# Throughout you might have seen me refer to baby as “it”. That’s because I don’t know what the gender of baby is. I mean everyone I met had a guess on what it could be. I was always intrigued, not that it matters a lot whether it is a boy or girl. I tried to figure out based on popular myths, some statistics and patterns, Chinese calendar and what not. Everything threw up a different result. To be on safe side, I did follow some little kids around: boys and girls, tried to chat them up to see what are the latest trends and fads, what do they like and dislike etc. I feel fairly confident that I will be able to gel in whether it’s a boy or a girl, as this continues to be the biggest and sweetest mystery ever. We will know when we know 🙂

# Now, how do we name the baby without knowing the gender. Never a problem with parents like us who thought of it while sitting under a tree in college campus. If you have read ‘Love story’ by Erich Segal, Jenny and Oliver comes up with the name Bozo while thinking of having a baby. We also came up with a random name long back and it kind of stuck with us through out the years. So, that was pretty much easy, was it not?

# My weirdness quotient increased manifold during this time: from weird dreams, to being weirdest couple in the clinic waiting room or the weird jokes that I would crack and that no one got, I was totally on a full on crazy mode. Honestly, I enjoyed exploring this crazy side and I could mostly get away with it. My husband also said I was smothering him with love and attention, and I could not help but think if this is all due to hormones and if it stops when I deliver baby, I would indeed be missing a lot.

# If I were to look at everything as a whole, there has been so may ups and so many lows, there are so many things that I want to be exactly same and so many things I would like to change. I realize now that bygones are bygones, but it is never too easy to accept that- there are lot of things I wish I did and there are lot of times where I wish some people were there for me. But, life is such. I think as a person we will never ever be satisfied, best is to make best of what we have really. But it is not easy, we always think about what we don’t have than focus on what we have. Acknowledging this does not make someone selfish or needy. I believe a person can be only truly happy if first of all, they accept what their heart yearns and goes about getting it done. So if it means you need more time with your spouse or family or a little get away with your friends before responsibility comes in: that’s what you pursue. But trick is to find the right balance (I am still working on it I guess).

# I could go on and on, but I have to stop somewhere and I will with “mother of all motherhood feeling” I faced. So, some people: near, dear and those I really don’t care, walked up to me and randomly say: you are going to be a cool mom, awesome mom, tiger mom, moron mom, stay at home mom, working independent mom etc.
So what kind of mom am I going to be?
Let me tell you world, what kind of mom I am and will be are not for you to decide. It’s for my baby to realise over time.

My son, I can only hope that you understand that everything mom did, does and will do is with best intentions in heart and that I will strive my best to be the best mom I can ever be.
I will forever be a “work in progress” mom!