Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To be or not to be?

Long, long ago, long before Meera was born, long before Meera could be born, when me and my little sister were kids, we had talked about this question and sort of decided among ourselves (nope, our respective DH's didn't have ANY choice!) that we'll be home for our kids, at least for some time. Me, 2 years and my sister a little longer.. That was the plan. This was not influenced by our mom's work. This was influenced by mom's decision to take up work only after the youngest was at least 2 yrs old. We loved mom working... We were very proud of that. Though we had to eat our breakfast at 7.15 am everyday and wait outside for our auto till 8.30 am, so she could catch her 7.30 am bus; though we had to wait, eat tiffin, play at grandma's place after we came from school till she came back at 6.30 in the evening... we were still very proud of her going to work. You see, She was the only woman in our family circle to go to work. She had double masters degree and I don't think there were even any males in our family, with double graduation, at that time. She is a teacher by profession and one of the very best. We've seen her students come and visit her even after they had kids. Even with her soft voice and soft nature, She brought out and continues to bring out the best in each student. She is such an inspiration for us and her kids at school.

Dad was away most of the time - busy with his business. If we were lucky, we saw him twice/thrice a month, else it will be just once. So, She was almost like a single mom managing home, us and her children at school(that's what she called them, even though they were in XIIth). Since mom worked and did a damn good job managing her work and home, there was not a single question in our minds to go to work. We instinctively knew that we were going to work when we grew up. Amma had rejected many topnotch positions in the field of marine biology and fisheries department, she had rejected an offer to do Phd in her college with full aid from her university. All to be at home with her kids - till they were ready to goto school. Then She picked up the profession of teaching so that it wouldn't interfere/affect with her family and children. She gave up a lot, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. She made a conscious choice and took everything in her stride without any complaints.

Being Amma's daughter, I knew better to put family first. I'm not a very ambitious person. Though my colleagues might differ on that from the way I'm passionate about my work. I LOVE working outside home. And I like to do it really well. I don't care about becoming the next CEO or Director; I just like a job well done. Mine was an arranged marriage - arranged as in Appa found the 'varan' and was happy with the family and left it to me to decide. (Sometimes I think arranged marriage, these days and love marriages aren't very different, but that's totally another post!) I am of the opinion that, in an arranged marriage to work well, the couple should spend the the first year after the wedding together, esp the first six months where you argue and argue till there is nothing to argue about, anymore :) Of course you got to live together for all the years to come but very crucial especially for the first year for the couple to bond better. Since I worked a couple of years in US before my wedding, there was no question of me getting a job here... but it would have been difficult to get a job in the same city as my husband. So, I took a break (for those curious folks, yep! we did argue about almost everything in the first few months and settled down eventually!) and then we moved to Canada.

By this time, I was eager to go back to work. With the baby's arrival, me going back to work had been happily postponed. I wanted to be with her at least a year before I can get back to work. I couldn't have left her with anybody other than me. And we bonded beautifully. She's 11 months already. I might take a few more months before taking up a job. While I like being home and we have a great time, I'm not my happiest best at home. Some need caffeine. I need the stimulation that work provides and a life outside home and people (though sometimes not!!!) for me to function my best. I love the time I spend with my daughter and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.. but I think she'll have an even happier mom who can enjoy her even more when her mom starts working again. We would very much like a second child (not right now though) and I would love to stay at home for the next child too for at least year. It is going to be difficult initially for me to leave her at daycare when I go back to work, but I guess we'll manage somehow. Besides we need the extra money too. We want to take care of our kids' education and also have a safety net to fall back on. There won't be much guilt when I go back to work. I'll be much more happier.

Thanks everybody for sharing your thoughts... I could identify with at least one thing in every single post. Like our lovely Tharini who said so beautifully, we all look for happiness - for our family, for us and be at peace. May we all find that, in this life, without much heartache.

For if momma ain't happy, nobody is.

(There! If you read through my post carefully, you can even find my mother's day post in there somewhere embedded in this post. heheeeee!)


Tharini said...

It was nice to learn more abt u Kay. Sweet how u and ur sister decided things for urself way back then.

Here's to your last few months at home! Make it the best yet by far...have fun, enjoy your space and then go back with a bang! :)

Asha said...

HeHe!! You bet!! If mom isn't smiling,there is a lot s..t happens that day!:D
Kay, I am glad you found the balance.Enjoy the time with your kid and of course,when the time's right, you can always go to work outside and be happy about it.Hugs:))

Kavitha said...

Enjoy your time with Meera before you return to work.

In a way, I feel the few hours of separation would do good both for mom and baby (mom gets the intellectual stimulation or satisfaction or whatever reason she has, for working outside the home and at the same time, baby gets to experience others too)

I cant wait to go see Biddu by the end of the day everyday...and as soon as he sees me, he would start jumping in excitement and the smile he gives me then, what a bliss !!

Dee said...

Hi Kay,
Have fun and you say be happy :)..all the best in everything...

GettingThereNow said...

Aren't we all glad that so many mommies are happy with their choices? :D And Tharini was bang on target - be happy with what you choose. Guess I should go and post this on her post, eh? :P

Glad to learn a little bit more about you Kay. Your mom is indeed a very good role model for those women who do want to get back to work after baby arrives.

shweta said...

Hi Kay,
Enjoy your stay with Meera..Time flies so quickly.Once you are ready join the workforce :) Good Wishes to you ..

DR said...

Hi Kay,
Nicely said...
The most important thing is to be satisfied with whatever you are doing.
We need not defend our actions to anybody else...WE OURSELVES should be proud of our decision...
Enjoy the last few months of being at home...

indosungod said...

Kay wow you discussed with your sister as a kid about staying home with your kid, at that age I was not sure if I wanted to be married well being not married :) does not preclude anything but we don't want to go there do we.

I am sure Meera and you both benefited by you staying home during the crucial first year. I am same as you if I stay home the whole day I set myself and everybody around me on edge. I admire your mother, I am not really sure how working moms a generation ago even managed.(most dads did not take part in child rearing or anything to do with it for that matter). Hugs and Good Luck.

Kay said...

Thanks Tharini for the wishes :) yeah sweet isn't it... helped us to be very assertive of our decisions when we were asked by relatives and friends.

Haha! Asha :) If you ask my husband, you bet, he'll tell the same thing about me... Thanks for the hug!

Very True, Kavitha.. a few hrs of separation will do good to both. I can see how happy you are to see Biddu by the end of day and how happy he is.

Thanks Dee! You be happy too, always! :)

Thanks CeeKay.. Yeah, I was glad to read about all moms who had written so far and how they are happy with the choices they have made.. Lucky me to have a mom like that! I can never thank my stars enough.

Thanks Shweta.. Times flies... It is like she was born yesterday and yet 11 months have gone by.. I think I'm not yet ready to join workforce...but almost there. :)

Sure dr... I totally agree... Why should we justify? :) It's our choice and our damn life. If 'others' (who have no connection with our everyday life) have problems with it, then that's not our problem. We should just be very sure what we want and then go ahead and do it. There's no point in going on justifying our actions to others.

Indo, Now you open a can of worms.. the I-dont-care-to-be-married phase came much later during my teenages when I knew 'a bit' about marriages. This was just child talk between me and my kid sis when we were kids. We had no idea what it was to be a mom or a working mom. We used to think anything was better than going to school :) and doing homework.

and yes, about moms in that generation. They had it real tough. I feel it was because of them that we have things easy for us. Which dad from that generation helped a mom cook or even change diaper...

I know when I go back to work, that is not going to be a piece of cake either. Work will present it's own challenges. we'll have to manage somehow.. just like, Staying at home, for me, is not easy and sometimes it's sooooo frustrating. but we seemed to have survived this far. somehow. :)

Thanks everybody for the nice comments.

mnamma said...

Just like you and your sister decided what you were going to be when you were very young, me and my sister also had plans. It is funny to think about it now but I wanted to be a working Mom like my Mom and she wanted to stay at home like my Aunts! Your post brought so many memories. Your Mom should have been a great inspiration for you when you were growing up. Enjoy your time with Meera and my best wishes to you to find a fulfillling, Mom-friendly job.