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.
***

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!

Short story: His kaleidoscope!!

You know that feeling of having it all, yet unable to savour anything, like being alone in midst of a crowd. That was what love did to her.

But to understand her, you have to know her first.

Growing up her favourite toy was a kaleidoscope. She loved it when the broken pieces transformed into beautiful patterns. Much like her.

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She never liked to share. Not that she was insensitive or a hoarder. Mostly because she felt a compulsive attachment to everything and everyone in her life.

She could not be herself when someone borrowed mundane stuff from her, say a pencil or a book. When it was returned she would pass her hands over it a hundred times, to see if it felt the same; to make sure it was treated the way she would have cared for it.

And…he walked into her life. Wait, it will be an understatement to tell he walked into her life. For the kind of person he was, crashed would be a better word.

It was as if a stone had hit still water sending ripples through out. The kind of ripples which shattered the wall she had created around her, shook her senses and opened her up.

It would be too cliché to say opposite attract. Let’s say, he was everything she was not. He was popular, had a happy personality and could make anyone talking to him feel that at that moment only they mattered to him.

It was not that she was antisocial, but making relationships was always her Achilles heel. You could judge her to be selfish, insensitivity or practical. But, no one understood that she would give an arm for people who loved her, just that it took a lot more time for her to accept someone in her life.

And, people thought it was weird that they are together. You couldn’t blame them for pointing out. Even she thought she was not the one for him and told him so as well. But he wouldn’t hear any of it.

She would tell him that this wont last long. She said, he will lose interest in her, that all romances fizzle out. And, he told her with conviction that he will feel same way for her even when they are 80 years old.

On outside she would tell him that he will get bored of her, but secretly she gloated that he was into her, truly, madly, and deeply as he often told. She believed every word of what he said, deep inside, though she won’t show it out in open.

She saw him grow, the magnanimity of his personality often baffled her, but she found pride that she was there to support him throughout. He was a lot ahead of her and she would take great pains to get to where he was. But, by the time she reached half distance, he would have moved on.

He always wanted lot of attention, to be popular, to be known as the guy to go to. Friends flocked around him. She was suddenly not enough for him. She tried to fit into the image he had made of her to his friends. She tried and tried, then got tired of it. It was a lot of pain to watch the laugh escape his lips and smile in his eyes, when he was around friends. Something that she did not see him do with her, or may be something she couldn’t give him. It hurt like a thousand nails had pierced her heart. She started hating all for taking him away from her. But it did not take her long to realise that it was not about them, it was about him and her.

She asked why did he need so many people in his life: they come and go, she was the one who was and will always be there. Why does he choose them over her?

And he said, that she is always there, and that they have rest of life ahead of them. He cannot be happy with just her. He needed a lot more.

She cried, begged, fought, cried a lot more and asked , why them? Why not her?

He said he never chose her over anybody. That, all existed in parallel worlds of his.

She did not know what to do. She had lost all hope. Life as she wanted was never going to happen. She did the only thing she does when she’s alone. She read.

She read two stories that day. One was about a violinist, who met this girl randomly, fell in love with her, and lost her to a fling that lasted only a moment, compared to the lifetime she was willing to give him.

Next, she read the story of a girl who loved zero. It was written by a guy who was taught the value of zero by her. He was the zero, when they had met and he was thankful she was there for him through the years they were together.

And, she wondered. She could be either of these girls. But, it would depend on what he chooses, would it not?

Either way, she was his kaleidoscope; broken glasses or beautiful patterns? Only time can tell!

Finding me

I said to myself
I don’t want to be just someone’s daughter, wife or mother
I want more
I want to be me

I got my first pay cheque, and it did not feel as good as the first pocket money from my parents
Long distance for career made me independent, but I missed leaning on my husband for something as trivial as opening a jam bottle
And I did not miss a moment of work, as I waited hours for toothless grin of my son

Bonds are not bondages
I lost myself in them and found me

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A Woman’s Day Note

As always I stepped out of elevator and rushed towards my bay at office, a hundred thoughts about my current project and personal life swapping its turns in my head, fighting for precedence. I was hurriedly switching on my system and my eyes fell on a single white rose lying on the keyboard. Next to it was a beautiful card wishing me “Woman’s day’, apparently from my employer. Never ever on a woman’s day have I got such a thoughtful gift, that I was feeling elated, but the feeling did not last long. Seeing me hold the card and rose, my colleague said “Why don’t we men have a day like you women have?”

My mind reeled back to the conversation I had with a fellow blogger, who had written about how some of the women in Indian B-Schools attend the placement drives, land good jobs, but when it comes to joining the jobs scoot the scene in pretext of strict parents and other reasons, thereby sabotaging the opportunities of several men and aspiring women in dire need of a job. Having seen and been part of many such incidents, I am glad he did not become a chauvinist, but rather a wounded man.

His words resonated “Why do some of the girls’ bag their career aspirations some years into the job, marry some NRI and settle abroad? Why do they deprive their classmates and colleagues (this includes aspiring career oriented women and men) of great career opportunities?

Some questions just stare at you, tease you and take the peace out of your mind, however hard you try to ignore it. So before I make an attempt at answering these, let me make a story out of it (After all I am a woman too, with a lot of imaginary powers).

While speaking about women in corporate world, we have a tendency to demarcate them into career oriented aspiring women and family oriented women. However, in very few contexts, I have seen a man been evaluated in terms of intensity of devotion towards work/family. Perhaps the fundamental flaw here is that Indian culture sees men as the breadwinner and women as the all-round caretaker who keeps the family happy. As time passed, some women went ahead to work and make a mark in the world, but it often came with a disclaimer of being a supporting aide to the male. Perhaps, even as time raced by, we women have taken the conditioning a little too seriously and stuck to the idea of being the supporter to the men as they conquer feats in career.

Then why do we study well, top exams, land jobs and even sit for the dream job, knowing very well that we may not go to work or even if we go to work, it is just going to be a job and not really a career? It is purely because of self-esteem need to prove to ourselves and also others, that we are capable of doing everything, but if need comes we can leave everything and pursue other’s dreams. The others could be anyone including parents, boyfriend, husband, siblings, colleagues, peers and children.

But, do we really need reservation for women, a special day to celebrate woman and all that? Perhaps, it would help empower lot of woman who struggle everyday for basic rights. But, speaking about all the women who are educated and employed, it is high time that we stop relating our success and failures to our being a woman. In my opinion, our fundamental mistake is that we blame all that we could not achieve on our being a woman. That is wrong, I would say. If a woman achieves or fails in something, base that purely on her capability and competence.  Not because she is a woman. I have been to final round of interview for sales position, only to hear the same “You are woman, you cannot do it”. Another scenario is when I say I am getting married and people asks “So when are you quitting? ” Now that is de-motivating.

Some of the women take it as a challenge, aspire for more, and achieve work life balance as well. Then they get branded as “career oriented aspiring” class, while others believe the hearsay blindly and let others decide their destiny. Sadly, most of the women fall into the second category and we cannot blame them too. What they need is support, encouragement and gentle push at times of self-doubt. Yeah, life is never going to be a bed of roses and it will be so for both men and women. Once we all shed the baggage associated with the gender and see ourselves as contenders in this race called life, success is guaranteed.

P.S We don’t fail to get anything, because someone else achieved it for so& so reasons. It is solely because we couldn’t beat that person and they deserve it better than us. 🙂