Guilt to Pride : Confessions of a working Mother
Confession – we working mothers don’t even need a box or a visit to the church for making one, as most of us bear our guilt almost like a cross around our necks. Before you start speculating about the reasons of this talk of guilt, let me tell you my story from the beginning.
Mother, as most of my friends remember theirs fondly, is someone who waits for you at the door when you reach home and serves your favourite lunch hot and so on and forth. On the contrary, I always had to experience something different. I used to return home to a locked door, its key in the pockets of my heavy school bag. I had to serve my lunch all by myself, and then had to lock doors from inside and wait for my Mom to return home in the evening.
All through my schooldays, I envied my friends as my Mom was never there to lend ears to my super-stories when I reached home like any other kid. Poor me. I never had the privilege of my mother serving me hot lunch. She neither entertained my tantrums nor treated me like a princess as were most of my buddies. This feeling of a vacuum used to be so intense, at times, that I vividly remember the two such occasions when I had surprisingly found my Mom home. It made me so ecstatic that I felt as if I was dreaming.
This was my side of the childhood tale but its more than a decade old now. And then, some years ago, I had my son and a different story to narrate. It all started when I left him with his grandparents to become a corporate citizen when he was of just 9 months. Some of my peers too had left their 3 month old. As is mostly the case, my neighbours took on the initiative with comments like, “oh, you come so late, poor baby almost as if no mother…” Then the relatives followed, “poor little thing, what will he do… how can you be a good mother when you are not around full time, how would you ever connect?” These are some of the questions bombarded at you whenever you socialise with the ‘full time Moms.’ Oh yes, that’s what housewives like to call themselves as if our role of a mother is just a hobby to be cherished every evening and on weekends. How do you do it? Oh yeah, we are supermoms – The retorts didn’t come first, guilt did!
At times, it felt so useless, so pointless to go out everyday to work as if this was the biggest crime I could ever commit; I spent every single moment at home with my cutie baby. Our lives, you see, are not some organised train of events but a messy set of disorganised cupboards, missed breakfasts, forgotten lunches and tired dinners. I am always anxious, apprehensive, worrying about things that could happen. It saps a lot of energy out of my day thinking of all these worst case scenarios. I have become a warrior just like my Mom, always on some task, never a free moment, and a battle to be fought every moment.
The comments, jibes, questions don’t help but push us near the cliff. It’s really not easy but you see we have made that choice of being a working Mom. We don’t stop being a mother or forget our kids when at work, the same way that non-working mothers don’t when theirs are at school or in play ground. We don’t do much more than a home-maker but no any less either. We don’t make merry when we move out to work anymore than non working ones spending their afternoons leisurely. We go through the same dilemmas of what to cook for dinner and what to pack for that party lunch box on Children’s day. We spend same sleepless nights when our kids are sick and cheer the same way when they perform on the annual day at school. We spend the same nervous evenings during examination weeks and feel the same light spreading in our hearts listening to our kiddo’s school antics. We too are parents, same as the non-working ones. Our kids are not deprived but have the same sense of fulfilment.
And you know, my happiest moments are gifted to me by my dear son, 6 year old now, when he runs up to me on my return from office; when he narrates his school buddies stories sitting in my lap; when he demands his favourite dish for dinner.
From my school-days to that of my kid’s, I have come full circle today. I will always be thankful to my Mom for teaching us that working or not-working, a mother would always be a mother. I will always be proud of my Mom and one day am sure my son would be equally proud of me.
So my message for all the working Mom’s out there – let us now put a stop to our guilt and let go!