Saturday, December 11, 2010

The age of innocence

Kuttan and a friend A are playing outside in the balcony of our apartment on the 2nd floor. Scooter, a car and cycle are strewn around. A is riding the cycle and kuttan goes up to him after a while and says, 'let's change'. A refuses. An argument breaks out and A sulkily says, 'I won't be your friend.' 'Dont be..whats my problem', says kuttan. 'I am going to go and bring my cycle', says A...'let's see you do it', challenges kuttan, while I silently witness the drama unfolding without wanting to get in.

'See him amma, as though he can carry his cycle all the way. Let me see him do it.', kuttan says to me furiously while A storms off and I wisely bury my head back into the laptop. 5 minutes of silence. I look out to see kuttan missing. 'Kutta', I call out, 'where are you?'. 'I am here', floats a voice from the ground floor. 'Helping A carry his cycle to the 2nd floor'!!!!??!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The age old debate...

...has been brough to focus again by this post. And I agree with all of Ro's observations - the smugness, the superiority, the feigned pity at the plight of the poor hapless kids who have the misfortune of being born to these power-crazy, money-crazy women. But, having been quite equally present on both sides of the fence, I have seen the other side of it too....the working women who give subtle pitying looks, the condescension, the raised eyebrows and the inevitable question 'Oh, but what do you do at home all day?'.

And it's not only the women. It's the society on the whole. The husbands, the other men in the family, men who think women who work in the world outside know what they are talking about and the ones at home have it easy....The truth is, the world may love pulling down the 'working moms' (I hate all tags but this one definitely takes the cake!) but secretly many, many people envy them and are threatened by them and, most importantly, respect them. For the SAHM on the other hand, to be considered as a person with half a brain is entirely another challenge in itself. I work from home full-time and am seen around the house feeding the kids, playing with them and so on. And then someone comes along and says, 'hey cute you are a SAHM?'. And I say, 'well, I work from home and I work with #%$%^'. And I visibly see the new light entering their eyes. I have seen it happen so many times, when, in fact, it should'nt matter at all, should it?

I wonder why women on both sides of the fence have it so tough. If this feels wrong and that feels wrong as well, what is right? I think there are no right answers and each one just follows his or her own compulsions, taking into consideration family, money and other factors. But I also wonder if all the judging and bitterness comes from people who are not entirely secure with the choices they have made themselves and just dont have the guts to admit it or do anything about it. The ones who are happy and confident about their place in the shade will surely understand other people's needs and compulsions and, if not supportive, will at least be peacably accepting about it.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to this. Is there a single working woman who, deep down, has not ONCE felt, 'I wish I could have an easier life!' when she has to drag herself to work leaving behind a sick child, or miss a recital or play in school or has to steel herself against those soft eyes and small hands tugging at her hand and heart saying, 'mamma, dont go!'? Is there ONE exhausted SAHM who has never wistfully looked at her friends and colleagues from an earlier life whose lives suddenly look super glamorous now and thought for one fleeting second, 'what if?'? With so many unspoken desires and pressing needs, should'nt we be sympathetic with each other and go the extra mile to understand and support? Will it happen? What do you think?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where have I been?

Well, I have been around....doing more of the same. Working a little, but mainly raising two kids, living each day as it comes, soaking up all the little moments...and some big ones too.

The husband has finally finished his MBA program after two and a half long years. For the first time after two and a half years, I have him all to myself over the weekends. The feeling is yet to sink in and I am still exploring the myriad range of possibilities with this one ;)

What started as a playful 'let's see if we can get in' kind of thing became much bigger than we could ever have imagined. Life has changed substantially from the June of 2008 when the husband first decided to get into the program. The loss of a parent, birth of a child, a job and house change. I doubt if anyone less level-headed than the husband could have handled it and made it look so easy. Still, I am glad it is over and hopefully, we can look forward to the next phase of our lives.

I dont know what he learnt at IIM. But now, weekends are spent doing management-y and strategic things such as this.....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yes I am still alive!!

I know, I know!! After the last break, I really do not deserve to be back at all...What can I say? We are all fine and everything is as good as can be. Attribute it to sheer madness of running a household with 2 kids, a hyper mother, an even more hyper grandmother and a poor sane voice of reason aka the husband struggling to be heard in all the shrillness.

I intend to be impressively regular with my blogging from now on. And intend to put on more pictures - of the kids, of the house, stuff we see, things we do and so on....Promise!!

As a little preview, here is a beautiful snap taken during lil princess's birthday last June...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Night owls, anyone?

Be very careful what you ask for, you might get it. How many times have you heard this? Countless...I know I have. And yet, I never learn. When I first heard about it, working from home seemed the coolest thing in the world. Imagine being able to have your kids around all the while working in the comfort of your own home.

Imagine a world where you don't have to drop them off at daycare, crying and screaming, every morning. Imagine not having to trust your life in the hands of a maid while you drove off to work. Where you don't have to sit in your office at 5 in the evening, dying from the tension of whether your boss will let you leave on time today. Where your heart breaks at the thought of a small face looking out the jail-like windows at daycare as you get held up yet again because of some useless bug or issue. And yet, I went through all that trauma with kuttan. Left him with a maid. Left him at daycare. And in the process, I screwed up my career irrevocably too, taking breaks when things got too tough. Taking one too many breaks.

When the princess was born, I was pretty sure I did not want to make the same mistakes I made with kuttan. This was my last chance to enjoy my children's growing up days and I was NOT going to relegate it to a maid or an impersonal daycare. I was all set to quit. And this time do it a little more gracefully.

Then a well-meaning friend who I have known since high school got me into a project which allows me to work from home. Full time. I dont have to go to office. Ever. Imagine my joy. Paycheque coming into the bank every month while I stayed home with the kids and worked at the same time. It seemed like christmas, Diwali and every other festival had come together all at the same time. Aha, but there was a catch. The project required me to work nights. Till 3.30 AM to be precise.

'No problem', I breezily told the husband when he looked doubtful. 'I can manage on very little sleep. This is what I have ALWAYS wanted', I fervently told him. And sure enough, it was dreamy in the beginning. I was new and there was very little work to do. Technically, I was online but went to sleep at a decent hour on most days and got a full night of uninterrupted sleep. 'See, this is easy peasey', I gleefully told the husband.

And then the Gods laughed. And gave me work. While I would earlier login and be running all over the house in the evenings, I now had to sit and work. Or answer calls. Who would feed the princess? Who would help kuttan with his homework? Who would help amma with the dinner? The times when the husband's call timings clashed with mine were mayhem. And yet, somehow, the family managed. Pulled on. Kuttan was plonked in front of the TV. The princess was sent to amma's room to be looked after.

And then the calls got longer. There were calls at 1 in the night. At 2. At 3. And work to do before that. So while the husband worked on his MBA stuff, I work on my office stuff in the evenings. Kuttan wanders in looking like a lost soul into my office room and asks for something and gets soundly thrashed by amma and appa for his efforts. 'Why cant you cooperate? Look at all the stuff we bought you. Play with it and learn to amuse yourself', we say. Yes, we really say that!! And he goes away looking scared and heartbroken. Cerelac gets poured into the princess' mouth in a hurry to get back to work.

The worst part is the time spent with the husband. I sleep at 4 in the morning and the husband leaves for work before I wake up. And in the evenings, I am logged on to the system long before he returns. Weekends are stolen by his MBA. 'Hey, what about, you know, time in the sack?', a friend asked. I smiled sadly. Libidos are down. Needless to say, tempers flare up. Angry glances and mutters are exchanged. Communication is limited to bare-minimum functional stuff like, 'pay kuttan's fees' or 'buy Princess' formula'.

Health is deteriorating. The body cycle is completely altered so that I am unable to sleep during day or night. 'Stress', screams the doctor for everything from irregular periods to bronchitis. 'Quit' begs the mind. The ego refuses to let go. It is the easy way out, coward, whispers a scary voice inside.

I got what I wanted. Now, how do I get myself out of this? As I type this post at 3 AM, any Wise owlish souls out there, to help me decide what to do? Suggestions are most welcome and desperately needed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bedtime tales

First it was just the two of us. Snuggling deep into the quilt and in the middle of the bed with a looot of space left over on both sides of the bed. Then kuttan arrived. Happy baby that he was, kuttan peacably slept for about a year in his crib after which he would try to get out of his crib in the middle of the night.

It became too risky to let him continue in his crib after that and the queen size bed became too small for the 3 of us. So we moved the mattress to the floor and the cot to the guest bedroom. Made a cozy little mattress in the corner for kuttan with quilts and assorted sheets and thus it continued till the sight of dirty unmade beds and sheets on the floor got to us and we bought a HUGE king sized bed. The three of us settled down comfortably and there was actually place to spare.

Out came the princess. Considering she is only 7 months old she has a few more months of crib life left in her, if she were anything like her brother. But the little firebrand that she is, she refuses to sleep in the crib and has deigned to move in with bag and baggage into our cot. So now we sleep breadthwise on the cot instead of lengthwise. Kuttan on the far end, alongside the headboard, princess next to him, me squashed in between and the husband on the other end.

Making sure kuttan does not crush her, while at the same time not crushing her myself has led to serious sleep deprivation. Four crammed bodies into a small space does not make for a restive sleep. The husband cribs and threatens to evict both the kids out of the room every night.

And yet, it does have its moments. Turning around in the dead of the night to find a small warm bundle sighing against me. A normally physically VERY undemonstrative kuttan waking up in the middle of the night to cuddle princess and go right back to sleep. A rushed school morning when we are all trying to SHOUT kuttan awake and the little princess wakes up and climbs softly over him waking him up with a smile. Four of us cuddling together on weekends under a blanket. A bigger bed? A separate room for the kids? Nah...I think I will live like this a little longer....