17 months. That much is the time I’ve allowed to let motherhood overwhelm me. There are days when I forget I’m anything else but a mother, I forget I have emotions other than those that my child begets. I forget most times that I have a life beyond mommyhood. Normal? Can’t say.
Sometimes I feel I’m overdoing it — the role of a mother. But that’s just the kind of mother I am. I do leave my baby behind when I go to work, but for all else, I have guilt the size of an immovable boulder weighing on me, and I can never seem to leave my 17 month old at home to step out for all the things I love. If I physically let him stay home while I step out in the evening, I still take him with me — in my head, and my heart. So much so that I think I’m better off lugging him around with me.
I haven’t done a lot of things I used to love doing ever since my son was born, even when I apparently can. Unlike a lot of women who stay in nuclear families and do not have the option of leaving their kids behind, I do. Because I’ve got my parents here, and because I live in a joint family, with a very good support system. Yet, for the last 17 months, I have forgone visits to the salon (my ‘beautician’ comes home whenever I need her). I’ve skipped entire theatre festivals that I was hooked to before I had a baby. I’ve given up on late night parties. I haven’t gone to the best of music concerts happening in the city. I’ve watched all of one movie in this much time. And surprisingly, I don’t miss any of it! It’s like I said, I’ve stopped being much else but a mom.
I’m not sure if this is how it should be — if it’s alright to let motherhood become an all-consuming state of being, or if I should strive to be something of what I used to be. On most days, my only adult interaction is in office. Is that why I haven’t quit work? No, I go to work because I know no other way of being. I’ve worked for the last 11 years of my life, and now it’s not a choice, it’s something I must do to exist. That I have people to take care of my baby while I’m off at work, helps to let me persist in pursuing a passion/habit (?) I do realize that the 5-6 hours I stay away from home, define the rest of my day, and make me feel like I must be a mommy every spare second. But it’s a choice I’ve made, and probably if I were any different, I could have been easier on myself. So even though this holding on to my role so hard takes up most of my energy, it’s how I must be me.