Sunday, August 22, 2010

Doffing my hat to stay-at-home mums

Honestly, how do you do it? It's a plain simple question. Please don't read any meanness into it.

I'm quite a workaholic and in my 10-year career I must have taken a max of 10 days off every year for some sort of "enjoyment". Most of my leave gets gobbled up by sickness.

Sonny Boy's bout of chicken pox has grounded me, and poor him of course, for almost a week now. Not easy for me. Not easy for him either. Specially so, since I haven't stepped out of the less than 1,000 sq apartment in all these days, except one. And that has a disastrous effect on me. I'm feeling like a caged animal, puffing and huffing and walking up and down my cage in rage. My wings have been clipped. My feet tied. It's just that I'm so used to being away from home for at least seven hours a day for the last 10 years of my life! Of course I can at least vent all this here.

Poor Sonny is taking it out in tantrums. Understandable. I mean what kid would want to be in a confined space? But for his sake and for other's, we must be isolated :-(.

Which brings me to admire stay at home mums or SAHM. Wow! It must be crazy, to be doing so much work (that goes unappreciated mostly I think), and to be taken for granted. Hubby now comes from office and expects me to make tea, because I've been home all day anyway. Else, we would both get back from work after having stopped for a quick chai somewhere on the way.

I find it difficult not to have people to talk to. Yes, the phone is there, the Internet is there. But I crave humans like vampires crave blood. Face to face interaction. I crave to write. I crave to speak and be heard.
I don't think I'll get back to work another two days and the thought is making me morbid with fear. I've realised I have a fear of staying home.

I'm making extra food, because I'm home and it's like I feel obliged that because I'm home, I must pitch in with that little extra effort in the kitchen. Uff...I'm sounding all messed up.

I'm also getting worried because I'm worrying so much about me, and so little about Sonny, who, in fact, is in far more a mess. He can't meet grandpa, he cant walk in grandpa's garden -- two things he most loves.  feel terrible for him.

I found my mother selfish when, once, soon after i forced her to retire after having worked well over 30 years, she turned around one day and told me i had robbed her of as life. Now i understand what she means. I was a student then, and hadn't a clue about the like of a working woman.

There's so much to do at home, so much to constantly keep doing. When I'm at work, I switch off the home button. But at home you can never do that. I've hardly got to see any TV or read books I've been longing to read. I have no time to myself.If that's the life of a SAHM, god, I don't want it. (Again no offence meant to such mothers. My respect for you has gone up several thousand notches this past week.)

I'm bored, almost depressed, dying to go out, shop, eat at a restaurant, just chat with ol friends...even colleagues will do anyone out there?????


Anonymous said...

Cant agree with you more...
Managing my kid after 4 in eve feels so tedious. I tend to think SAHM are great.

However some of my neighbours who are SAHM let the kids cry, not giving in to their tantrums, kids are also not that stubborn, so its easier to manager them. They cook once in morning (same for night), when hubbies are around. They nag their hubbies to take them out on weekends.

Forever mother said...

Hmm that sounds good, I mean your description of SAHMs. But i dont think i can manage that. I'm more like u -- come back from work and find it crazy to handle him even then

Garima said...

I agree with you cent percent. I dont know how they manage being home and being primary careproviders and still having a life. I have been toying with the idea of taking a short break now that V is a bit older. But still no very sure of it. My husband is dead against it, since he thinks it will do more harm than good... and I am thinking, he might be right. Grass is greener on the other side.
Since Sonny is unwell, I guess it takes the fun part out of mothering... hugs.. Well. May be see some carttons with him> am sure it will cheer him and you up.

Aparna said...

I think its just a mindset - you are either a SAHM at heart or not and it's difficult to just cross over to the other side. I worked for 7 years before I had my dear D, and I never thought I would be a SAHM, but here I am ! I have a cousin who's a working mom and doing a great job of raising her son too, so I know how tough that can be!
I have great respect for working moms but I realize now that I would not have been able to do justice to work or children if I had been one. I am not a great multi-tasker and need to be totally focussed on something to make it work so am doing just that :).

Aarthhi said...

Couldnt agree with u more. I was workign for 6 years before I quit ot take care my new born. I stayed at home for year to raise her. But thats abt it. By the end of the eyar I was itching to get back to work. I have lot of respect for SAHM esp those who ve been to work and then quit to rasie kids. Hats off to you all! The amount of work we do at home goes largely unappreciated.And with no one to communicate other than maids (gosh that was such a pain) I almost became depressed!

Forever mother said...

Hey Garima, sorry seemed to have missed replying to this. DON'T QUIT. I beseech you (ok that's a bit of drama). You seem to be a go-getter and you seem to have got your balance fine between work and family. If you're the kind that cant stay indoors, don't do it. I agree with ur hubby. It will break your heart and have a cascading effect on other things. But think about it seriously if that's REALLY what you want. At the end of teh day, you're teh best judge of urself and ur life.

Dear Aparna,
Glad to know you have a clear idea of what you want and what you can do. I'm a bit wobbly there and can't really decide. But agree with you that it's a mindset -- this SAHM thing. And wow babe! If you can stay put after seven years, you must have some nerve!
We are all standing in the wings and cheering u on. Love n hugs

Hey Arthhi
Yes, I know of that "itch" to get back to work. It was my ticket to freedom from fulltime motherhood. And boy, talk of depression in that time. I knew i was depressed (i think probably clinically) and still refused to accept it or get treatment. So let's all start the working-mums-who-respect-the-SAHMs club! :-) cheers and dont let anything get to you

Krithika said...


I have also sailed in the same boat about 3 years ago when my second one was born. But now am a SHAM as well as do some transcription work from home now that both go to school. It is true that if we are a SHAM we never get time for ourselves, even to cut nails and things like that, but we have to think of one thing, if we are not ready to sacrifice for our kids HOW will others do. A maid or babysitter or anyone else cannot become a mother. If we think that our career is necessary then when we age what memories will we hve to think about, how will our kids bond with us. Nowadays, internet, TV, even drugs, alcohol, smoke everything is available very easily to kids to spoil them. If we take care of them then they will not turn to those things or else they will think no one cares for me and does their work, i will also do the same. We are responsible not only for them as parents but to the nation as we should not raise antisocial elements. SHAMs surely will have a more control over kids than working mothers. This is your transition period, even i had the feeling when i quit, sort of depressed for about 8 to 10 months, but then things settled down and i am now very happy of the decision. with no one to help and two kids 2 years apart just imagine my position, but now they have started going to school and things are really better. My opinion is if husbands are able to give a good life then mothers can be SHAMs. We can decrease our needs and luxury, but if we get all these at the cost of our kids, just imagine will u be able to tolerate that? Transition is always difficult, but it will surely pay, please hold up patience. u can look for some parttime job from home if he is schoolgoing.

Aparna said...

Hello again! Just HAD to respond to this post cos I have been on both sides of the fence - i worked for 2 years after my firstborn and have been a SAHM for 3 years now - and i know which one was/is harder for me! It's being a SAHM. For a working mother, the day-to-day stress levels, logistics are much harder to handle. For a SAHM, the effects are more long-term...the sheer drudgery of each day, the lack of rewards/motivation (and praise for a job well-done), the letting-go of a career, all in the ephemeral pursuit of "satisfaction" that u were there for your kids, physically as well as mentally. As the other Aparna rightly pointed out, you are either SAHM material or you are not. I know that the 2 years that I worked after becoming a mum were hard for me because I felt I was not doing a good job at either front. So like I said earlier, it's even harder now, but atleast I am much happier. But so many other women, they just ROCK at keeping all the balls in the air! Hats of to them I say :))