The things on my mind…

It’s been seven months now in Edinburgh and to say that I have enjoyed my stay here is to put it very mildly. The place, the seasons, the sheer thought of living in such a picturesque country elevates my thoughts and puts me in a wonderful mood.

Even though winter is still on with winds and cold, the days are getting longer and there’s just something bright in the air; I can’t quite put a name to it, but everyday I wake up it feels like spring will be here soon. And I can hardly wait to experience it!!

In this short span of time, I have experienced many a things that will go down in memory lane as “kodak moments”, autumn, the first snowfall, visits in Cambridge, Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds (which reminds me that I still have to put up that post about our trip on christmas and new year). These small towns are so beautiful and have so much character. I could have spent days there just walking around all over the town, sipping coffee in the small stylish cafes. It just felt completely like home.

Another most important reason perhaps why I am enjoying it this much is because am spending time with my family, specially with my son. In this short span of time he has achieved so many milestones of his own and that in itself is some feat; but being there the very first moment is heaven – the first walk, the first words, the first run. What pure magic it is to see your own child grow in front of your eyes rather than have someone else tell you at the end of the day when you return half dead, tired from office. These moments would never have been the same.

I know I won’t be with him throughout the day once I go back to India, but am here now during his very early formative years and that would help him immensely. He has not yet started throwing tantrums and is quite easy-going and calm but is quite assertive in many situations. I think it’s a good sign though it’s too early to judge. He does lack peer engagement but his school will start soon and am quite eager to observe him behave in that environment.

Making him independent is my main goal with him. He already helps me a lot in my household activities and seems very pleased with himself when he does so, unloading the dishwasher is a favourite and so is tidying up his toys after play. He is too small to allow him to cook but am sure when he is old enough he will be quite a lot of help in the kitchen. He also loves carrying things for me. He will  take out the dry laundry from the dryer, pick up my cell phone if it’s ringing and will give it to me. He can’t actually put out the clothes to dry but today he put a wet hanky on the chair and was grinning afterward to show what a great achievement it was. He loves to do different things everyday and quite often is successful in his effort. He knows his mind so far, haven’t seen him cranky or confused except when he was ill. Though he hasn’t started speaking a lot, he understands almost everything that we say. Commendable for a twenty month old, eh?

This post has turned into a mamma post which was quite unintentional but you got to say whats on your mind and that’s just the tip of where am coming from!

This mommy guilt

When was the first time I felt guilty? Yes, it was the very next day after I found out that I was pregnant. I debated whether to have morning coffee. Not for the next nine months. And a few months after that while breastfeeding. I remember occasionally when the urge to drink a strong cup surged in me, I would slowly walk to the kitchen, take the coffee bottle out and take a sniff. It was bliss. I would have an odd cup once in a while too, all the time thinking whether this would harm my baby. It was a fight between gratifying my tastebuds and keeping the baby safe. When I would indulge myself, I would feel guilty as hell and swore that I wouldn’t do it the next time.

The guilt started with coffee. Later during the pregnancy when I couldn’t stay back late in the office, I would feel guilty about not giving my 100% to my work. I used to seethe internally when my colleagues left office before time, without completing their daily tasks, and when I did the same during later stage of pregnancy, I felt guilty. Suddenly, work was not the priority anymore. 

I couldn’t help out much at home, no cooking, no cleaning. Pregnancy exhausted me. I felt guilty about not being a substantial contributor in household chores. I started feeling inadequate, poorly and not the perfect person that I was.

I thought this would improve after the baby came but it only got worse. The first week after the baby was born, I felt like my life was only to feed and change the baby. I wasn’t allowed to watch any tv, nor go out, and not to exhaust myself in any activity whatsoever. I always thought that after having a baby, I would feel elated and be over the moon. It was actually the opposite. To make it worse, I had a C-section. This made me feel even more guilty about not being a woman who could endure the labour pain. It made me feel small and cowardly. I wondered for days whether it would make me any lesser a mom as I didn’t have a normal delivery. But, now that I think about it, I think my expectations about labour were wrong. It is to expect the unexpected.

Going back to work was again a very hard decision. At one hand, I was happy to be back into my world and that made me feel guilty. Is it right to be happy about leaving back your baby while you do and enjoy work? It has been drilled into our psyche that women are essentially caretakers and motherhood is the best thing to happen. Once you have kids, nothing else should take a priority in your life. Having this thought constantly at the back of my mind, I felt very uncomfortable having to work. I wondered whether my baby is happy at home without me and though he showed no outward signs of being unhappy.

Before travelling to Scotland, relatives warned that he would feel lonely with no one around. But I waved a hand across shushing them by saying that, he will come around. He will have me. I consoled myself by saying that the weather would do wonders for his health. And that he would enjoy. The first week here, we both got brilliantly bored and even caught the cold. I wavered about my decision whether it was right to come here or would he have been better back in India. But sometimes, the mother’s instinct is right. Touchwood, he has taken to the weather pretty well apart from that soft cold. And his tummy is fine after the change in food.

With him being quite a handful, I do get time to do other things such as cooking. If done, it is sparingly. I feel guilty about not being able to provide fresh food to my husband who is a foodie. I wonder whether he feels am not the perfect wife and mother to be able to do both. I often wonder, how our mothers and grandmothers did it. That too with more than one kid. Is it the same with this whole generation, or am I the only one lacking in multi tasking?

This post has been written for the Fight that mommy guilt contest on Women’s Web. I would like to encourage all mom bloggers and otherwise to note down their thoughts too.

Back to work

I am back to work after five months. Not much has changed including the fact that I don’t have any work. I am into a project but my role isn’t defined. Even the client has no idea what I am supposed to do or what they want from me. This project is different from my field and if I do get to work in it, then it won’t be my usual tasks and activities. I do not really want this but then I don’t have an option.

Sitting idle all day is getting very difficult since I haven’t done it in a long time and now with the baby along, I am used to having my hands full. It’s a big bore and a mental and physical drain since I miss my baby all day as is obvious. I cannot stay back home and wait till my work starts, I need to be present in the office in front of my machine incase anyone contacts me.

The only motivation to come to the office is the canteen. I never thought I would be saying this but I keep looking forward for lunch break and snacks break since I arrive in the morning.

My MIL assures me that my son is doing well without me and that he doesn’t trouble much and eats and sleeps well. He is doing well, but not me. Missing him is terrible and the real delight is to experience the toothless smile and the flapping of hands when he sees me on returning home. I wonder whether a five month old is capable of missing his mother and feeling sad, whether that emotion is developed in him. Still, am satisfied to see him smiling when he sees me.

In the past couple of weeks, I have seen a tremendous growth in him. He has started rolling over like a spring. The moment I put him on his back, the next moment I find him on his stomach with his head held high like that of a snake. He also claps his hands and if given rattles, he bangs them together to create a clatter.Just yesterday, when he couldnt find the rattles, he held both his feet in his hands and slammed them together but unfortunately that didn’t make any noise and he soon lost interest in it.

He needs his space and takes his own sweet time to mix with people. He is social only with select people he knows. However he will make an exception and will come to you if you are to carry him around and show him new things specially the greenery. As I said, he is a nature lover. Trees are his favourite. He howls and cries in his sleep which puts me on a high alert and am up and awake to rock him and put him back to sleep only to find him fast asleep. Gargling and purring are his signs when he has had enough food. He will gargle and eventually spit out when he is full and that’s his way of telling you to stop. But he will not stop crying and bringing down the house when he’s hungry and won’t stop till mommy puts the feeding appendage into his mouth. He is such a sweet kid, that he doesn’t much like th tonics that I give him; the displeasure is clearly written on his face, however he gulps it down and never throws up. His antics are very pleasing and funny at the same time specially when he tries to crawl ahead by putting his head down and pushing forward. He doesn’t have much patience for he starts yelling after a few failed attempts at his task.

I never imagined myself to be a working mother for I myself hated it when my mother used to go to office when I was a kid. I always imagined to be a at-home mom available for my child who almost wouldn’t do without me. But then God smirked and Destiny happened. Finding a work-home balance is a tough task and I am realising that by each passing, I would rather opt to see my son growing than to work for people whose faces I haven’t seen. Thirty forty years from now, I won’t recall how I grabbed a project with a successful client call or on which day I received an appreciation mail from the client, I would most definitely remember the first time my son smiled at me, the first time he rolled over, his first words. The time spent idly with loved ones builds better relationships and makes for best memories.

Me and my son

At a mere age of two months, my son is very obedient and understanding. No, am serious!

He has been following an irregularly regular sleep cycle. So now, we try to gauge what time this bundle would fall asleep at night. The usual is  anywhere between 2:30 am to 3:30 am. But recently, I have found a change. I complain and blabber the next day when he sleeps very very late at night. And he seems to understand it somehow, coz that very day he will sleep early and peacefully.

He has developed this habit of proving me wrong at every instance. When someone comes to visit, I proudly tell them his habits and anecdotes and right then he proves me wrong. Just today my mum’s friends visited. He was sleeping in my arms. They said, “wow, it’s a relief that he has slept. Now you can get some rest too.” I jumped to tell them that no, he will wake up the moment I put him down on his bed. And I did just that to demonstrate how much I know him being his mother. But he didn’t wake up when I put him down. In fact he went to sleep for the next half an hour – the entire time they were there! I don’t know my son!!! 😦