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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

it's that time again...

The furrowed brow, the wrinkled nose, the unintentional tripping on the hardwood floor, the serious admonishing of the wall for jumping out of nowhere to bump me... all can mean only one, well, one of many, things...

Every few months, I turn into a practicing contortionist trying to perform the happy dance while sliding down the slippery slope of contemplating the possibility of being an SAHM...

I have tremendous respect bordering on awe for all the wonderful SAHMs, especially the plucky ones with more than one offspring to shepherd...ummm... nurture all day, all night, day-in, day-out, without much break, without much (paid or unpaid) help from responsible adults...

Most people, moi aussi, don't work for hobby, unfortunately. They work to make a living, to put a roof over the head, to put food on the table, to pay off the student loans which they thought was an investment in their future only to find that it didn't quite give them the edge they were told it would.

No, I don't think SAHM is a walk in the park, unless it is the Serengeti we are talking about...

If only things were as simple as in the good old days... No doubt, if my mom hadn't worked, things would have been tight but we would certainly have managed fine... however, the many things that I have managed to do would have remained a distant dream. That's a sobering thought.

Plus, there is always the nagging insecure feeling that I may not be as relaxed and perfect as I imagine my SAHM-self to be - it is hard work, greatly rewarding, but still back-breaking, spirit-wrestling hard work!

What triggers these self-inflicted conflicts in my mind? Well, one thing for sure is when my baby walks home and imitates her daycare caregivers - be it words, be it actions... It pinches my heart when in an affected and exaggerated tone my baby chides, "No Amma, sticker not on the head, oh-kaaayyy? Put it on the paper" when I try to stick a bindi on her forehead, or, "Uh-Oh speel, wipe please, clean up!" parroting the way her caregiver talks to the kids in her class... That didn't come from me, she should be mimicking me...

And as I explained to D, it is not any twisted form of jealousy that acts as a catalyst in these periodic bouts of second-guessing the status quo; it is the fact that had I been around her all day, she would naturally pick up things from me, and, therefore, do I have many things that are worth picking up? Am I adequate enough to be a role model for the tender mind?

Fortunately, when I get distressed, I try to remember that I want to send Ana to college, give her a good head start in life, support her morally and financially in what she has the potential and aptitude to do... which, of course, brings me back to the futility of even contemplating being an SAHM, given the current set of constraints.

Ergo, logic prevails, sanity takes charge, I run to the laptop, tap away at the keyboard, pour the aching heart out and get ready for another day filled with the hope that things will get better and I can consider being an SAHM... even if the timing is all off.

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6 Comments:

At 10:43 PM, Blogger Kowsalya Subramanian said...

Very True, Sheela. I don't have the Patience that is required of a SAHM. But this part-time option has atleast taken out all the guilt that I had till last year. I thank God for giving me such a caring employer :)

 
At 6:59 AM, Blogger Tharini said...

U've described the pendulum emotions associated with a tough choice so well. It is a state of status quo, which will continue I suppose...but for what its worth....it is an honest gut feeling that you'd make a wonderful role model.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

kowsalya, good to hear there are caring employers still - makes me want to get out and find another employer than being stuck with and complaining about the one I now have...

tharini, thanks for the kind words - aren't all of us mommies adding so much pressure on ourselves to be the "perfect mommy", each with our own idea of perfection, not many of which are realistic...

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Poppins said...

Very nicely put and so true. This is the hardest choice to make, and one that keeps gettinf revisited time and again.

There is no magic wand

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger Moppet's Mom said...

It's certainly a hard decision, and you've described the dilemma beautifully.

Right now I'm a SAHM and in my current circumstances I feel I'd be a happier person, and therefore a much better mom and role-model if I could work.

I don't know however, whether I would feel differently if I was working...

 
At 1:38 AM, Blogger Rohini said...

Your post really struck a chord. Most of the time I am pretty comfortable in my working mom shoes but one can't help but wonder 'What If'

I also feel, like you, that I may not make as good a SAHM as I'd like to believe.... my temper is one thing I'm sure my son would see a lot more of...

 

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