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Thursday, April 12, 2007

sugar and spice

The precious time i spend posting my own thoughts seem pointless most days when i catch myself stealing to the laptop while Ana is keeping herself busy with her books and toys. Shouldn't I be engaging in play activities with her? Shouldn't I be speaking to her in Tamil? Shouldn't I be encouraging her to speak back in Tamil? Shouldn't I be doing more with her?

And when I voice my guilt-laden doubts to D, he calmly points out that Ana is barely two and seems to be doing just fine despite my obsessing and distrusting my instincts.

I do believe she does not need to be constantly stimulated, it is good for her to find some things she can do by herself at this age... but, considering that I pack her off to daycare for about eight hours a day, and then rush home to feed her, play a bit, bathe her and wind her down for bed, I feel I am not there for her much.

Her daycare has wonderful activities, and I chat with her teacher pretty much every evening to keep track of what they do all day. They are trained to provide age-appropriate developmental activities. They do a wonderful job thereby adding to my constant feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt: Could I have taught my baby all she knows now had I been an SAHM? Am I handing off a major responsibility to her daycare care-givers? Worse still, as a result am I an inept and worthless mommy?

Oh, we do a lot on evenings and weekends - puzzles, art, go to the park... sometimes, I just don't have the energy to plan activities for her. We read a lot. Even if I slack off a bit, Ana makes sure she brings her books to me, settles herself on my lap as is her wont, and delights in the whole experience of reading...

There are many exasperating moments when I snap at her, and immediately regret it and try to overcompensate for my shortcoming. Fortunately she is barely two and does not seem to mind, but, soon she will, and I am not sure I want her to ever have to deal with a volatile and edgy mommy.

I am not against anger as an emotion: it is a legitimate and necessary sensation when properly justified. But, how I act when angry should show my daughter how to handle her anger, teach her to exercise control. As of today, I am not too thrilled about what she will watch and learn, but, I am working on it... perhaps some day, my poised and self-confident Ana will note in her blog/book that her mommy had something to do with her serene and affable nature... perhaps she will ask me how to pass that on to her children... I hope I have an answer for her.

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3 Comments:

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Kay said...

Sheela, there's only so much a parent can do. The remaining is upto the child - where she has to grow on her own.

Think of child rearing like this (spoken as if I have reared a dozen and they have a dozen each). You can add nutrients to the soil in which a plant grows. You can add water. You can protect it from bugs and slugs. You can remove the weeds around it. But can you grow the plant? Nope! It has to grow by itself. But considering of the things, you're doing for that little plant called 'ana', I'm sure she'll be wonderful like you.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Tharini said...

Hi...I hear you. But you know what...a big sigh...and that's for..."will we moms never ever shed the guilt and give ourselves a pat on the back?"

*sigh*

 
At 5:17 AM, Blogger Gauri said...

I'm a SAHM Sheela and I can tell u this - like Kay says - there is only so much you can do. A while ago my younger one was having lots of problems settling into the kindergarten and I felt totally helpless - cos again there is only so much you can do - that last stretch is something they have to cover by themselves. Same holds good to a vast number of situations as the children grow up.

However, like Tharini has so rightly pointed out we moms never give ourselves any slack, do we ? We always keep telling ourselves that there is room for improvement.

 

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