This long blog post is full of rants about first world problems of a working mom of infant..and about a beautiful realization
It was a particularly bad day.
Maid was on planned leave and babysitter didn’t show up and switched off her phone.
Well not everyone will consider it as such a catastrophe but it is .. for me.
My to- do list of the day suddenly doubles up with this unplanned event.
Flashback 4 hrs -The reason I woke up at 6:00 in the morning in spite of sleeping after 2 AM was just so that I could complete a big chunk of my office work. But just as I was brushing my teeth, my 9 month old baby stirred in his sleep. I jumped to his side and stroked and rocked him. Once he was back in his slumber, I logged in to my laptop. It was 6:45 already. VPN connecting.. connecting..connecting. Few attempts. Taking too long. Laptop restart. VPN connecting..connected. Remote Server connecting..locked. Trying another server..locked. Trying 3rd one.. connecting…connected. Opened the login page of application, login credentials entered and I glanced at right bottom of laptop showing 7:22. I proceeded with my work and at 7:53 my son cried again. I rushed quickly but he was fresh and wide awake. So the routine started and before I could realize it was about 9 AM. I was desperately waiting for my nanny to show up so that I can hand him over and catch up with the work. My phone rang. Call from boss – “EOD status updates for yesterday?”. Oh yes..at the time of my EOD which was almost EON as well, I was dead tired to remember sending status.
I placed my son in bouncer and switched on my laptop. By the time login was done, I started tea. My son, super excited at the sight of laptop, wanted to jump from his bouncer with happy shrills. Since he has learned to crawl, he doesn’t like his once-best-friend bouncing chair that much. I kept singing to him, sent the status mail, poured the tea and handed to hubby. Then tried calling the nanny. Switched Off. It means she will bunk today. Already boiling because of sleep deprivation and no productivity till 9:30, I kept on preparing a good bashing for her in my mind and switched myself to auto-pilot mode and started with chores.
I was dicing vegetables when my son started his excursion of picking up crumbs from the floor. Keeping my eyes on him, I was not looking at chopping board and thus got a deep cut in my finger. In a few minutes, in his attempt to stand while pulling at sofa cushion, he landed on his bum with a thud and wailed. I was trying to get at least cooking done by the time hubby leaves for office. Because now, since he has started crawling and pulling up, my two eyes and 2 hands are just not enough to supervise him while doing anything else. But while I was calming him down, DH declared that he will be leaving in next 15 mins. My baby was sleepy, but not willing to sleep. Finally, I just carried him to kitchen and my phone rang. From boss – “1…. is not yet completed..why?” I started explaining her that we are blocked because it may be a defect and I have dropped a mail to onsite team member and once it is confirmed then I will log that defect, when my husband was getting all fidgety and waiting desperately for my call to end. As soon as I hung up, he announced that he will eat in office and is leaving now. It was 10. Once he left, I picked up my son for massage and bath, hoping that he will sleep after that. 10:45 – he is sleeping peacefully and I logged in to my laptop prioritizing the day’s work. Dishes – will do later. Brooming and mopping -necessary.. before he wakes up or else everything lying on floor will end up in his tummy. Will just catch up with my work and will start all housework at 12. He will sleep till 12:30.
Laptop login->VPN login->remote server connected -> application URL entered -> environment down! I took a screenshot, posted it to ask if anybody else is facing the same.
And started brooming. The phone beeped. “Please send updated vacation tracker”
I dropped the broom and complied to that for another 10 mins. Looking at the state of things since morning, I sent another mail that I am taking day off. Picked up the broom and husband called to inform that gas cylinder will be delivered today so keep the cash ready. I wanted to rant some time about how bad my day was going, but he had a meeting to attend.
I was so much furious over my babysitter that all I could think was to fire her. She always bunks uninformed, then switches off her phone and turns up with some lame excuse like she went shopping with her neighbour. And to such excuses, hubby dear says that at least she is telling the truth, not faking sick leaves. But a leave is a leave for god sake! Last time I had threatened her that I will deduct per day amount from her salary, and the amount will be my per day salary, not hers. At this, she replied nonchalantly in typical hyderabadi – “parwa nai madam..life ko thoda enjoy bhi karne ka na”.
I was done brooming and was about to start mopping. 12:15. I need to prepare his lunch before he wakes up. I placed his dal ragi on burner, sterlized his utensils and started mopping. Half done and he woke up crying. I placed the mop in wash area, washed my hands and by that time, he was in hysterics. It took a good 15 mins to bring him back to normal state. I glanced at my phone. 2 more missed calls.
I called back, apologizing for missing the calls. Some document, required ASAP. I tried placing my son in bouncer and was thinking of another of my leave wasted because of nanny. I was on day off but I could not even rest. A pile of house work was still there. I was envious of everyone who could sleep for more than 4 hrs. My son fussed again and I realized he is hungry and won’t wait for long. So I sent the doc on skype as I just could not wait for vpn and then outlook to connect with him flailing his limbs in anger. He was hungry. I placed his apron at which he looked contented that finally he is gonna get some food. Now he sat peacefully in his bouncer. Eating was by far one of his favorite activities. I started feeding him and doorbell rang. Impatient, back to back 3 rings. Gas cylinder. Annoyed by this interruption, he started crying already. Trying to shush him, as soon as I picked him up from his chair, he started crying louder in protest, may be thinking that this was it and he won’t get more food.
I had forgot to keep the cash ready. I started fumbling through my wallet simultaneously convincing my baby that he will get more food in a minute and keeping an eye on the cylinder boy who was dragging empty one from the kitchen.
“Here”, I handed him the cash. “Booklet”.. Oh, yes, I searched and gave him the booklet with my phone ringing and my son crying in background and shut the door with a slam to respond to both. Doorbell rang.. he returned the booklet. Stupid me.. I forgot to take it back. He asked “madam nahi hai kya ghar me?” “Hmm? ” By the time I realized, he left and I was like – What!! I am The Madam!
Now my son was not only angry, he was furious. I started feeding him again but he tossed the spoon and kept crying. Phone rang again. OMG, I have missed 3 calls today! With him screaming at the top of his lungs, it was out of question to receive. I messaged and got the reply. I need to e-mail the document, ASAP, boss not online on skype.
While I was thinking how to send a mail with him crying and wiggling in my tow, he peed and soaked me. Now this was the limit! He was crying coz he wanted to pee. And I failed again to catch his cue. I am such a bad, bad mom!
As is, the sleep deprived me is the most pathetic version of myself. Now with my red eyes surrounded by dark circles, I sighed and looked around. House was a mess and I was too. One wasted leave. One painful finger. My husband left without eating and without his lunch box. My son havn’t ate and was crying badly. Failing at everything since morning, by this time, I was on the verge of crying out louder than my son.
Just then my friend and neighbor Tanuja peeped from the open door. My son was slightly pleased at her sight.
Hey..wats up? she asked
Now to this question, my husband keeps reminding me that ‘I am doing good’ is a perfectly acceptable answer. You don’t need to rant about how bad you maid or work is. People don’t like cribbers. But at that moment, being likeable was my least priority. I went on for full 3 minutes while changing my son. “Ohh.” was all she said.
Phone rang. My heart started pounding that I havn’t mailed that ASAP doc yet. It turned out to be some random bank for personal loan. Sometimes I feel this strong urge to hammer my phone to powder and flush it.
Meanwhile, Tanu had picked up my son and he was smiling at her.
She looked at the state of me and asked if I had lunch. It was 1:30 and I muttered looking at half diced veggies that actually I am yet to cook. “I’ll be back in a min, I have cooked extra”, she said and while I fed my now calm son rest of his food, she came back with food for me!
“Hey, you don’t need to do that” I said with embarassment. She said its ok, and that she will take my son with her for sometime so that I can shower and eat peacefully. I could not thank her properly as I felt something building up in my throat. She added that I can have a nap while she will watch my son. I managed to smile when my son happily waved bye to me and as soon as I closed the door, I broke into sobs.
All my self pity and resentment towards world was washed away by this kind gesture of hers. I emailed that required document while still in soiled clothes and continued to cry for few more mins till I let out all the feelings that overwhelmed me. I drank a full bottle of water which made me realize that I was actually thirsty. And I felt so much better after a quick warm shower and eating the comforting food. I could not thank her enough. It meant so much for me when I was about to lose my sanity. Before she came, I was feeling a total loser – the woman who can’t manage a thing, neither home, nor job and the kinds who makes her child miserable. Now, things felt quite ok and manageable.
Previously, I used to be quite reluctant to ask anybody for any kind of help. I would rather do everything on my own or at max hire a help – the egoistic me that was!
But this humbling experience of raising a child made me realize that it takes a lot to survive day to day challenges of being a parent. And it is far more than getting chores done and managing things. No amount of hired help can ever replace mere presence of a family member or friend. The warmth of a friend’s company, the concern in her words and reassurance of her being there made my life feel easy again.
The feeling was akin to the sight of an oasis in a vast desert.
She was my oasis.
Since then, she had helped me many times in numerous ways and I have often jokingly mentioned that if I am still working and still sane, the credit goes to her. But there is more to it. She reminds me of more such people – the oasis, that I came across in the course of my life. And that is a warm and heartening feeling. They made me smile in times of grief, they kept me going when I was not willing to, they trusted in me when I lost faith in the world. Their thoughts keep me positive and motivated. Whenever I think of all those people in my life, the richness of their hearts make my already trivial problems even more petty.
That remembrance fills me with gratitude. If I have been so lucky to experience that unconditional affection and positivity, I actually have no reason to ever be resenting anything. The sight of an oasis is what you need while you are determined to cross a desert. And I am fortunate to be blessed with many. 🙂