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!

22 comments:

Sumana said...

Hey BM, I can see your gut feel to not leave the job but to hang on. But i think you might want to hold off till the princess gets a little bigger and take up something part time when they go off to school. Health is high priority. What say?

Swati said...

Ohh Hugs dear ! Well its such eyeopener for me as well who thought grass is greener on other side.

Advice , suggestions , not many or not concrete , but I feel all this is good if the job is not late in night but early in mornings ..say UK time or Japan time. That way you would be free by lunch or so and spend evenings with family. And you all can cuddle and sleep off early.
Yeah ..it might not end up as tempting as I am making it sound when its a reality :) , but I think it would be better than current situation. You can hire a maid for 2 hours in morning , to help you with morning cooking and all.

Swati said...

Ohh Hugs dear ! Well its such eyeopener for me as well who thought grass is greener on other side.

Advice , suggestions , not many or not concrete , but I feel all this is good if the job is not late in night but early in mornings ..say UK time or Japan time. That way you would be free by lunch or so and spend evenings with family. And you all can cuddle and sleep off early.
Yeah ..it might not end up as tempting as I am making it sound when its a reality :) , but I think it would be better than current situation. You can hire a maid for 2 hours in morning , to help you with morning cooking and all.

Poppins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poppins said...

Don't I sound like the veritable know it all :p

Just Like That said...

oh BM! I have no solutions right now.:-( Maybe like God laughed and gave you plenty work, He can smile and ease up on you..? Keeping my fingers crossed for you....
I hope the paycheque continues to come.. I soo understand the necessity of that, but maybe you need to look at easing things for Kuttan more than for Princess. He is as it is facing a sea change with Princess' arrival. And he's known a time when things were not so hectic as this. He's known an Amma who was totally free at nights..so keep in mind his little needs. I am able to preach because I sooooo not practise what I preach :-(

BangaloreMom said...

Sumana: Totally agree. There is this devil/angel thing inside me except that I dont know what is devil and which is the angel. :)

Swati: I know what you are saying. But WFH projects are difficult to come by and I cannot really call the shots. But am still looking to see if I can find anything better.

PM: I didnt delete the comment. Dont know why it got deleted. And thanks, girl. It was all good advice. If only I could figure out HOW to sleep till 11 in the morning!! And you do sound like a know-it-all because you have gone through all this shit. You are entitled!! :D

JLT: Hoping Saji, just hoping and praying. And the green paper coming in at the end of the month helps big time!

Sangeetha said...

Came to ur blog and was blinded! For a sec, i thought my eyes r gone - u c, it's nidhi's b'day next month - a 'Barbie' b'day party being planned - and dutifully i have been doing 'think pink' all the time... imagine coming to ur blog and seeing this pinkyyyyyy pink... best expressed in tamil only - 'enna kodume da saami'...!!! :-)

noon said...

Hey girl, How are you? Bin so long. I can totally see the struggle you are going through. Why do you do this to yourself?! Just quit man, unless you need this job for the money. Seriously kids grow up so fast - two years - you just enjoy them every moment you can - you will not regret it later. You will get another job. For now unless you find a job that surely is part-time during normal hours of the day just don't take it up. Unless you plan to have a third, I am telling you, you will surely feel so bad when Princess turns two before you know it and you have been killing yourself working all odd hours and being in a sour mood and ruining your health. Not worth it. They will be kids only for another two years - once full time school starts they are beginning to fly!

sher khan said...

guess urs is a dilemma which all of us face. one thing i would like to say is "dont sacrifice ur health/marriage/life for a paycheque." if you guys can scrimp and save and manage on one salary, then maybe it would be good for a year or so. once your younger one starts school or so, then again get in to the corporate life. maybe you can learn something, do some certifications or something in the meanwhile.
whatever you choose, all the best and God bless!

newmumontheblock said...

Hi there, first time here. Don't really have any suggestions, being a perpetually confused soul myself but hope things work out for you. Hugs!

vandana said...

I just love ur blog..not becuase of ur curreent problem just because they are so familiar..I switched to part time after my baby's birth ..before that I also tried doing minor online work thinking it will be so cool to work from home..but practically there was nothing cool about it ..so stopped it ..I figured if kids are small u either be there with them or you have to disappear ..something in between is too much to ask !!

Collection Of Stars said...

Hugs BM.
I don't want to sound preachy but what you are putting yourself through is just not worth it.
I was going through something similar at a smaller scale and I think quitting has been the best thing I have done.
My quitting has done wonders to my relationships and family life.
Take care.

Primitive Lyric said...

BM,
I tried working from home soon after my son was born. I quit after 2 months. I was just too stressed out and miserable. I couldn't concentrate when the baby cried for my attention, and was angry with the nanny for not being able to entertain him and keep him happy. At times I just wanted to hold him and do everything as he liked it.
So I empathize. People ask me every day if I miss working (the transition from a journalist to full-time mommy was a huge one). I don't. Luckily my husband can provide for us (frills included), so I get to be the stay-at-home parent with my son. Hopefully, soon when he starts school, I'll be back in the market again!

P.S: I love the way you write!

Fellow Bangalore mom

Indu said...

Hi.. Am a first timer here and I can see my feelings being echoed quite a bit. I've been thinking about this option of working from home after having kids but now on reading your experiences and the related comments, I guess I need to look at this option, all over again. And before I forget, you have a great style of writing. Awesome stuff.
Indu

Deepti said...

hey..hi, i just got married a mnth ago, and wud be planning babies in a year or so....i dnt have any advice to give, but i can understand the trouble u must be going through, i would suggest u can quit for sometime at least, til both kids start going to school.....wossay??

Sonia said...

Sometimes I feel like its easier going to work during the day, being handed the kitchen sink (working on all those projects that no one else wants to touch, reserved especially for new Moms)and strangling one's career dreams (nowadays its done even by saying you want a strictly 9 to 5 schedule and wont stay late)until children are a bit bigger...I personally am terrified of quitting my job :( And I am terrified of working from home, I dont think I would get anything done...So I havent helped you, have I hehe...Sorry!! Hang in there..

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Anonymous said...

so, how's it going now? After years of juggling career and home I just started wfh. But I'm setting the hours to be kind of decent, and armed with couple of maids hoping it'll be ok..

Kartik Krishnamoorthy said...

Just happened to stumble across this post now. Hilarious!

My sympathies with you. Me guesses (from the lack of posts all together after this one) that you have completely lost all sleep.. and the project is not yet over. I sure do hope that is not the case, though! :)

Obaitori Spiritual Mothering said...

You have to do what is in your heart of hearts. I was in a similiar position about 6 months ago. My little boy was 18 months at the time. I decided to leave work - the best job in the world - to stay at home & watch my only son grow. I know his early childhood will be over quickly & this is why I decided to put the career on hold - I found out the world didn't stop when I stopped going to work. I am grateful as I am able to be with him. But only you know what is the right thing to do for you - make sure it suits you though & no one else. Best wishes, Katie x

Ishrath said...

I left my well-cushioned job to take care of my kid for I was not happy with any other arrangement.

It was the toughest decision but the best one!

Dont worry about money, it will flow in whenever you want. Your children's childhood will never come back, unless you are planning to breed a dozen.

Also focus on your kid for these are the foundation years which helps them feel loved and secure. They need your time. They will anyway leave the nest sooner... but this is what they need.

Good luck to you.