Monthly Archives: February 2012

Stay at home mom? Me?

This is the longest I have stayed away from work. I went on maternity leave in mid September, less than 15 days before Arjun was born. I was entitled to 84 days of leave. Only. But thankfully, my boss is more understanding than company policies and I have 6 months leave sanctioned to me. At that time, I thought 6 months was a decent time to return to work, that by then I’d be bored enough of staying at home. But as I inch closer to that mark, I’m beginning to realize that this may be too soon to leave my baby at home – even if in trustworthy hands – and head back to work. Pray, I’ve not even begun to wean him off yet. And honestly, I don’t even think I’ll be prepared at 7 months to join back. Because I realize that it’s not whether he will manage without me, it’s really about whether I will be able to manage without him, whether I’ll be ok having someone else decide what’s best for him in my absence.

Also, I’ve fared wayyyyyyyy better than I thought I would being a stay at home mum. That I have no time to think of much else except my baby, helps! I love his massage time, his baths, choosing his clothes everyday, sterilizing his toys, putting him to sleep, watching him smile in his sleep, and I love to tuck him in the nook of my arm and lie down so that I can just inhale him. I’m also dabbling in cooking and loving my experiments, successful experiments, if I may add, in the kitchen. I love that I can give myself even an hour of pampering – pedicures, scrubs, massages or some such – once in every 15 days at least. I barely step out without my son for more than an hour but I visit my mom more easily and more often. I’ve enjoyed the winter sun after years. I haven’t been to a movie in 5 months, but that’s ok; I love the afternoon siestas that I had not had the luxury of enjoying since college, and I love that those extra hour or half have returned the glow to my face that years of relentless work and work related stress had taken away. I miss reading myself to sleep but I’ve begun to enjoy television! Not surprising that it’s difficult to think of joining office again.

But I’m not ready to quit work either. I want the best of both the worlds, and that may just be asking for the impossible. If working from home was an option, I’d grab it, but it isn’t. And I’m just left grappling with a situation that’s less than perfect.

So, this has to be the worst thing about being a mom, I’m guessing – this having to choose between a career and precious time with your baby. On the one hand, there’s my work that I’ve given some 9 years of my life to. And on the other, the love of my life. Why must I be forced to choose one over the other?

Motherhood for beginners

4.5 months into this strangely exhilarating world of motherhood makes me feel I’m equipped to write about Motherhood 101. And even if you don’t think you need a guide to first time mommyhood, this will just tell about how I’ve been coping up with everything.

# There’s an umblical cord that connects the mom and the baby in the womb. The moment they snap that cord, it’s as if an invisible cord replaces it — one that connects your heart to the baby’s. In some ways, it’s more vital than the cord that they cut at birth… What else explains the instant emotional connect the mum and baby feel?

#The first one month, or 40 days, were like a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows. And then life just became a joy ride!

# I was prepared for a lot of stuff that taking care of a newborn entails, but no one ever told me about what a challenge breastfeeding is. It’s the single most emotionally and physically daunting part of motherhood. For some, not so much, I believe, but definitely was for me in the initial months. Which is not to say I gave up. No, I didn’t. I wept and cried and scoured the internet for help and tried every conceivable trick to make it work. And after a harrowing first two months, ahem, it magically became all alright! Now, I can’t imagine weaning him off!

# Unsolicited advice is the mainstay of social interactions of new moms. Hyper moms will scare you, cool moms will tell you to relax, and some variety of men who’ve never reared kids will tell you what to eat, how to feed, blah blah! I’ve finally developed a selective absorption mechanism to keep my sanity.

# Guilt. How do you ever get rid of it once you’re a mom?

# Sleepless nights are not what they’re made out to be. My biggest fear before Arjun was born was that I’ll never be able to cope with sleepless nights. Because my 8-10hrs of sleep used to be sacrosanct. And admittedly, the first month was tiring to put it mildly. But it gets better: one, babies learn to sleep a tad longer after a while, but more importantly, your body learns to do without uninterrupted sleep. If I could manage, anyone can.

# There are just two kinds of moms: those who crib and those who don’t. I love being the latter 🙂 I hyperventilate, yes. I shed copious tears at the slightest sign of distress to my baby, I lose sleep over his whims, but I do not crib.

# The internet is a wonderful place for new moms. In fact, there’s a surfeit of information out there. But thankfully, most of it seems trustworthy, especially since it’s coming from real moms. It’s especially great since mother and childcare resources in our country are near pathetic, more so in cities like Lucknow. I mean, unlike in other places, there’s nothing like a lactation consultant here and the ‘good’ paediatricians are just super busy. Google seems like a God-sent saviour then.

# Mum’s the word when you’re a mum. If there’s one person in the world I can trust my baby with, it’s my mom. It could be something to do with how we think if we turned out ok, Mom can help my baby turn out right as well. Which does NOT mean you agree with everything your mom says and does… No, not at all. But if someone else was saying and doing those things, you’d have zero tolerance. With ma, it’s all ok in the end 🙂

# The baby’s first cold seemed like the end of the world to me. He woke up one night with a racking cough and I could do zilch to make it okay. I couldn’t hold back those tears after he’d spent half a day coughing and losing his appetite. After that first cold though, you realise it DOES get ok. Yes, the cough will go away and the baby will get his appetite back, all in good time.

# Babies are clever! Very. They ensnare their mothers into a ma ki mamta trap. How? They’ll be quiet in ma’s lap, and wailing in anyone else’s. They’ll look at you till your heart melts and begins to flow warm love. They’ll put their head on your shoulder and simply be at peace, like this was the place they’d been looking for. Oh yes, even if you think you’re not going to give in, you do! And so you know how it is for me trying to fathom how I’m ever going to return to work.