As I blearily open my eyes after a well-rested sleep, I’m pleasantly surprised to find my two bundles of joy partially hidden behind the Big Book of Fairy Tales which I got for A Jr some time back (and which is still in an amazingly good condition!). Despite Angel’s endless interruptions while pointing at some or the other picture, A Jr is patiently reading out the Cinderella story to her.
The home looks impeccably and incredibly clean and tidy. Delighted, I give them both a peck on the cheek and make my way to my wardrobe to find the perfect dress for our romantic date that would make a smitten A’s jaw drop for me, all over again. I steal a look at myself in the mirror and am completely love-struck, simply for managing to age not a day beyond twenties.
Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? Dreams such as these usually do. Sigh! Reality, as it turns out, is far removed from these awe-inspiring moments.
Whether it is my perennially sleep-deprived state, the grossly accumulated post-partum weight which refuses to budge because of an oft-disturbed workout schedule, the incomplete ‘running a marathon’ dream, the ‘gone in 60 seconds’ clean house, the praying for quiet when Angel threatens to tear my eardrums apart with her screaming, the questions which I wish A Jr didn’t ask or the patient but ignorant husband I wish A wasn’t, I yearn to be one of those well-groomed happy moms in the baby commercials who smile and assumingly play lovingly with their kids all day.
Looking at life on a screen or through rose-tinted glasses can be alluring, but are any of us naïve enough to accept it as a reality? Guess not. Mothers aren’t fools. We know that raising a child is like walking on a rope. We have to maintain the right balance between being indulgent but not getting exploited and being disciplined without isolating our kids. How our parents managed to bring us up without getting so worked up about it, I wonder.
I haven’t tried or craved to be the ‘perfect’ one at anything, ever. I’m far from it and make no bones about it. I am a work-in-progress and a mother learning on the job. I make mistakes and learn from them. Of late though, I feel like I’m being too hard on myself and am seriously not able to fathom why. I never went on a guilt-trip like this when A Jr was younger, but it is like an everyday affair for me now.
I attended a Women Writers Fest few days ago, where amongst many other interesting topics was one where the discussion was about ‘Why women should put themselves before family?’ Whatever the panellists said made a lot of sense in many ways and I agreed with it, but honestly if it is possible, it made my feelings about my lack of control in my life even worse. I felt like an under-achiever all over again.
I’ve read all those ‘We should be happy to make others happy’ kind of quotes and am of the opinion that whoever wrote them were certainly high on something at that point of time. I’m not trying to garner any sympathy for myself here, but raising two kids in a city like Mumbai with no support can be taxing and that is the truth. Paranoia about the safety of our kids isn’t misplaced either. Parenting comes with a huge set of responsibilities. How can we put ourselves ahead of them in this case?
I seem to have digressed and blabbered a lot through this post. Yet, I believe that it might’ve resounded with a lot of you. Please feel free to add your own opinions and experiences.