Today I had a rather slow and peaceful day in a long time. And as I tucked Shaarav to sleep kissing his forehead, I found my thoughts meandering in the farthest reaches of my brain awakening the deepest emotions. Parenting is full of personal choices and a recent life-changing choice that I have made is joining work. I am now a full-time working mom.
Why life-changing you may ask?
The reason being I have joined work after having been a stay-at-home mom to my little human for a little more than two and a half years. I have talked a lot about my choice for being a stay-at-home mom on my blogs “Stay-at-home mom – a Need, a Compromise or a Choice?” and “How I’m a “HAPPY” stay-at-home mom?” But even after successfully being a working mom for more than three months now I often find myself at crossroads.
I have said this time and again, yet I reiterate that nothing can fully prepare us for becoming a mother despite our best efforts and regardless of the tireless pursuit of preparing for being one. When being a mom itself is difficult considering the constant, demanding and exhausting nature of the job, let alone being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. It’s no easy feat keeping another human being happy and healthy reckoning how uniquely complicated raising these little humans is no matter how well we contemplate the minutiae of motherhood. And as much as it may sound exaggerated I have found being a working mom much of a heroic feat.
I have never been a very career-driven woman, but having been raised in a middle-class family with working parents we have been brought up to believe that the sky is the limit and that we could achieve anything we put our heart and pour our soul into. But after starting a family of my own I was kind of squandering the opportunities wanting to work in a way that could fit around my family. And just when I was about to lose hope I was presented with the golden opportunity of joining work that not only met my criteria but was also paying me well.
When I joined work I was quite sure I could handle both career and motherhood without breaking a sweat given the fact how resourceful I considered myself. But each day as I navigate through the myriad of daily struggles, juggling work and family responsibilities, I find myself overwhelmed. Life feels like a race and every day is a battle against the clock. Trying to complete household chores sticking to a schedule with a toddler and finding the strength to entertain a toddler after a long tiring day at work seems a formidable task.
I underestimated the demands of motherhood and the difficulties of combining parenting with work. And to be very honest, I constantly feel burdened with the daily grind and frazzled with a mix of complex emotions. I’m grappled with the eternal guilt of not giving enough time to my son and not being available for him. And, despite making every effort possible, finding a harmonious balance between work and home while staying all sane feels like a dauntingly difficult a task. It feels I’m getting lost in the rush.
But, do I have the option of giving up?
I indeed feel such guilt and such longing, but could I live with the guilt of giving up?
It is puzzling and suddenly I’m not so sure about it.
But, one thing I’m certainly sure about is that I definitely cannot afford regrets. Regret is one thing I can’t live with.
Today I had time on my hands to comprehend my thoughts and emotions. And suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and it dawned on me that work-life balance can mean different things to different people. To me, it would mean enjoying my motherhood to the fullest besides having a career with financial independence. Ideally, I’d love the freedom of working from home or working part-time so that I can spend more time with my little man. But I guess that’s the duality of being a working parent and that’s something I’ll have to struggle with. I may, however, be burning the candle at both ends, the fact of the matter is, I cannot have it all.
But then, wasn’t I struggling as a stay-at-home mom too? So, what makes being a working mom any different? Let’s face it, all mothers, be it a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, don’t always have it easy.
And, all this makes me realize that there will be days when it makes complete sense and there will also be days when all of this makes no sense at all. As much true it is that I could be judged and belittled for my choices, it so happens that my heart’s also going to have these moments of doubts about what could have been. And my disenchantment with integrating work into motherhood to establish a harmonious co-existence will be making it all the more confusing than it already is.
But the one thing that stood out from all this mental churning was that if I am happy on the inside, I am emphatically going to be happy on the outside.
So, now the question arises, am I happy?
Yes, indeed. I wanted a career and I have it. I am thankful for the opportunity regardless of the frequent bouts of guilt for being a working mom. But, financial independence having a job entails is what I am really happy about. I am happy that I can now contribute to the household income and have greater financial stability. I am happier with the feeling of accomplishment being a working woman brings. And I am happiest with the opportunity that being a working mom presents for making my son understand the importance and virtue of hard work and why it’s important to chase your dreams and make them a true.
Am I satisfied?
Oh, yes I am. I am truly satisfied that finally, I get to carve and shape my career. I am satisfied knowing that whether I choose to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, it is my love, attitude, faith and trust in my choices that’d help raise my child to be a kind, happy and successful adult.
Am I at peace?
Oh, hell yes. There’s no greater feeling than knowing that I played a big part in my child’s upbringing and was there for Shaarav during his early years when he needed me the most. And now that he’s beginning to get more and more independent with each passing day, I can think of me and my career aspirations which I had been putting on hold for so long. So, yes, I am at peace knowing that I have been there for all of his firsts and that our values are now his values too. And, it gives me immense peace in the belief that I am making well-thought-of choices for me and my family in the long run – the belief that it’s all worth it!
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