Guilt Edged Insecurity
Enough, and more, has been said about mom-friendly companies, paternity leaves, sharing and caring dads and so on. All of this is needed and welcome.
The whole world and their uncle, as Rhonda Byrne decreed, will conspire with the universe to provide you with what you need. In this case, familial and societal support for having a baby; and then caring for it for a few months before you engage a nanny or press into service the parenting skills of the mom/mom-in-law. You hand them the SOP of how the new human is to be brought up and proceed thankfully, albeit worriedly, off to work.
Now all those EMIs seem less daunting. As a young friend of mine pointed out, both she and her spouse are in the private sector, neither of them has a pensionable job, not even job security, you don’t know when the pink slip will indecently show up. So you simply cannot take uncalled-for time off work. True.
Moreover, most grand moms gamely juggle their old and/or ailing spouse with their darling grandchild rather than have some unknown ayah or nurse tend to the tot when the mom cannot. The tales of horror of abusive nurses are legion.
So this child grows up in a somewhat adult-heavy atmosphere, sans mother. I am not about to spout psychological statistics here, but its common sense for the mother to leisurely and cheerfully bond with her child. It’s not a chore. You also don’t have to sculpt a super child in the precious little time that you have scheduled with your offspring. Just give him (and yourself!!) the space and time to watch him grow and flourish. Five years…ummm… ok, four years of dedicated care in order to give this world a well adjusted child. Not bad, eh?
You have borrowed for your home and TV and holidays and whatnot, why not borrow time from your workplace to care for to your child?
A yuppie couple I know matter-of-factly planned their child to coincide with the expected rise in pay. She has opted to be a stay at home mom, takes her kids to the playground to play with other real kids and doesn’t leave him to be pampered or abused, depending upon the unreliable moods of a maid. She also does not walk her kid around, like a dog on a leash, while she thumbs through her WhatsApp. No crèche either, where kids often get irritable being constantly taken to and from their house. They are not a year old and already they have a timetable. Have a heart! A cheerful toddler I know has enjoyed his mother’s care and presence all his young life and is now quite happy to see her take off for a few hours of work. Contrast this with the clingy, and somewhat unhappy, two-year old of a full-time working mother!
You’ve had a baby, woman! You’ve carried her for nine months and delivered her with considerable pain. So give things a rest. Nursing and otherwise caring for the sometimes- sweet-sometimes-colicky babe can fray your nerves. If both Mom and Dad have to rush off to work the next day, it is hell. You have delivered (pun intended), so you take that break. Let the hubby rush off to work. You gift your body and mind the much deserved repose. Do things that please you. Consequently the little one who utterly depends on you and takes his mood cue from yours will also be better-adjusted.
Besides, there’s so much that one can do even from home. Some companies allow you to start working from home, which suits some of the new mommies. If not, there are online jobs you can do. The deadlines can be killers, though -- and here’s a thought. If a work-from-home deadline takes so much out of you, then think how much going out and struggling is actually exhausting you. You just don’t realize it, that’s all!
You do not have to feel guilty for wanting the rest that nature designed for your body. Sit back, luxuriate, recharge your batteries and indulge in all other forms of rest. You will see - as your little one skips off to his first day at school, you too will stride out, confident and energetic.
By Madhuri Maitra