Hold that thought right there. No, this is not another post debating the relative merits of working or not working. Or being a mom or not. 🙂
I set the pan with water to boil for my afternoon coffee. Laddu is straining to be taken off the high chair where I have her squirming and captive to a snack. The thoughts in my head are beating a steady rhythm. At random times this week I have caught myself mulling over a chance remark from an unguarded friend. “I can’t stand SAHMs who can think of nothing but kids!” she exclaimed. Turns out she had a specific person in mind when she made the statement. But it stayed with me. I was not sure if I should have been offended. If should have been defensive. Yet, all I could muster at that point was an amused “Really?”.
I look back on the six months I have been one. One of these moms who stays home ostensibly to take care of home and hearth. It has been joyous. It has been overwhelming. It has been exhausting. It has been freeing.
It has been many things but what stands out is the exhilaration I feel at marching to the beat of my own drum. Each morning as I walk back home after waving to a blur at the window of the school bus, I feel happy. The face that mouths “I love you too” to my “I love you” keeps me going. I pack Saathi off with a lunch bag and a happy wave and it is just Laddu and I.
We eat, dance, nap and keep each other entertained for all of seven hours. I sneak showers in when she snoozes. I catch up with friends as I do chores. I launder and fold away as I catch up on news and books. I probably charge all of my e-devices every day.
I had lists. Lists of things I wanted to do once I quit working. Those lists? They remain. Unchecked. I am yet to get around to doing any of them. I had a rosy picture of sitting down with Ammu and Pattu each day bringing them up to speed on reading and math. The truth? They probably are where they were before I became a SAHM. I had visions of reading to them each night before bed. If I was not able to do that as a working mom, I still am not able to do it as a stay home mom.
What I have realized though is I make time for the things I want to do. So, all those lists will probably remain lists with an open end date. What staying home has done for me is in the inconsequential ways I see my daughters grow. The changing timbre of their voices. The sharpening of their features. The lengthening of their hair. The nuances in how they express themselves. Whereas before it was a defining moment when I noticed those changes, now I notice them. Each day. Every day.
Each afternoon as I lean on the mound of pillows in bed reading a novel, laddu sleeping by my side, I pause to admire her. The way her lashes flutter as she turns. The way her breathing is even. The specific way she curls her fingers. I pause, commit to memory and turn a page. Often I am returned to the present by the sleepy-eyed child reaching out to grab my shoulder for support as she wakes and wants to stand. We engage, my child and I and I realize I know her like I should.
This phase of my life is about kids. My kids. All about them. It is a choice I have made. A choice I am happy with. At the moment. The future? I will worry about it when I get there.