Note To Multitasking Mothers: Think About Yourself Too
“What do you do?”
“I am serial multi-tasker. Umm, I am an entrepreneur, homemaker, and mother, about to be a student again and yes I moonlight as an amateur writer.”
“That’s so cool. How do you manage?
This is how my conversation starts with most of the people. I get excited by the number of things I want to do in life and the person that I am talking to thinks I am this cool next-gen mother who has it all under control. The only thing they don’t know is that of everything that I can manage, balancing doesn’t top the list. Why? Because I can’t.
Yes, there are days when I feel like I have it under control and boom a phone call from home saying my daughter is running a fever, and I lose it. I jump on to the guilt wagon even before I hang up. That’s what young mothers are made of - fresh maternal instinct. It’s never complete without a trace of guilt.
Am I doing enough for my child? Am I spending enough time with my child? Am I being a good daughter/in-law? Am I being a good wife? Am I being a good boss lady? Am I wasting my life aiming too high? And if I have enough energy to answer yes to these, then am I being a good human and doing something for myself? No.
That one, doing something for you must and I cannot insist enough, is a must for women. That should be our first question. Sadly it has been the last one for us. I had to learn the lesson the hardest way.
The other side of motherhood that nobody prepares you for - Postpartum Depression. Yes. It took me a year to get it diagnosed and then another few months to recover from it. And in this time, I had things to do. Because I couldn’t not be a mother or not run a business or not do things that I usually did. There wasn’t a pause button for me.
Here is the thing about depression, when you are an outsider you can’t understand why would someone with a perfect social life and an even more perfect checklist suffer from it?
As an insider, nothing matters. Your whole life can go to dust, as long as you get to be away from the world, in your room, sleeping. For the world I was the same person - I worked, partied, cooked and did everything I was supposed to. But for me, my world was upside down. It took me a month to tell my husband and my family members about it because I was always the go-to person for everyone.
I felt weak, miserable, vulnerable, stupid and angry. I sought professional help for some time and learnt the most important thing that has stuck with me until today. Empathize with yourself. Start with yourself. Everyone else, including your child, will wait. She needs a mother who loves herself before she can love her daughter. If I couldn’t be good, how was I going to raise a daughter to be healthy and loved?
I am almost 34 and I was diagnosed with PCOD and Thyroid at 17. Top it with depression and PMS and you are headed for a disaster. And indeed I did. I cried and cried till I couldn’t feel no more. I shut myself out from everyone. I spoke to a friend who battled with it and came out in the open and spoke about it. He said the same thing. You, first. The world will wait.
So I took myself as a project, started working toward my emotional well being and physical health. I started writing and found I could direct all my negative emotions into productive writing. I started jogging and joined yoga and it changed my life.
I learnt to spend time with myself. I said no to the things I didn’t and couldn’t do.
Time and again when I got overworked and overwhelmed, I slipped into it. But somehow I learnt my way out of it. The only way to come out of this for me was - that I have one life, limited days and unlimited dreams and the only one who could either fulfil them or let go of them was me.
It was my choice. I could either be the best version of me or choose to settle for mediocre. It is what you let yourself believe in. There were days when I thought I could move mountains and then there were days when I thought I could barely move out of bed. Both the days it was me. I chose to move. And I will not stop till I have achieved every single thing that I put my heart on.
Serial Multi-Tasker: 1, Depression: 0
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S*****Very nicely written. Well done!This is a common tale of Indian women, especially for women like me and many more, who do not love to sit at home, do only household chores, watch television and do shopping. It is something different outside India and things are not changing, we are not able to walk along the whole world. Men are not changing, families do not want to change the mindset even women themselves do not want to change themselves. All we need is to GROW UP!
S*****Very inspiring.. I am going through something similar but fighting against the situations to not to give up on my interest on programming. kudos!!
N*****Glad I could bring out your story Khushboo!
K*****Thank you Nirupama!