Monday, June 21, 2010

Thou shalt feel Guilty...

Mommy guilt didn't exist when Sonny boy was small. He was an amazingly sweet baby and never gave me any sweat. From potty training to feeding to sleeping, he was an utter sweetheart!

But with the school years, entered the frequent trips to Guiltyland.

Firstly, I joined back to work once he was old enough for school, so number one guilt was how can I leave my baby to cope on his own?

This was definitely reinforced by the fact that his teacher at the time told me that children of working parents all had problems in adjusting. Despite the fact that I thought Sonny boy was adjusting beautifully well. She told me that I needed to spend more quality time with him and that there was no substitute for that. True, that, but where was the time?

And then that monster made his appearance- Homework. Brrrr. I have never dreaded my homework in the way I dread Sonny boy's. I still do. Bad enough that I could only give my son whatever time was leftover from office hours. Those couple of hours, I had to make him do something he disliked, had to yell at him and make him cry. The 'quality'time spent with my son on some days made me feel truly wretched. I spent more time on it, because I didn't want the teacher generalising that his working mother had no time for him.

And then, as he grew, the reasons for guilt grew too.
I was/am always bad cop. While the Acha was/is mostly good cop. This is because he has wayyyy more patience than me, but also because he doesn't even NOTICE some things that simply glare at me.
Like making his T's go over the line and his Y's go below. If not neat, at least correct handwriting?
Like putting away his stuff after he's through with it.
Like being more careful with his toys and stuff.

I wish the Creator had given me a man's mind while at it. Amazing how little they notice things!! Bad enough when it comes to the house, but worse when it is with regard to Sonny boy. The 'mistakes' are left to me to correct.
If I correct, I am the non-fun mother. If I don't I am the un-bothered mother. Guilty either ways.

I also feel guilty that I don't 'network' enough with other mothers in the complex. I am the last one to know of the dance class, the karate class, the yoga class in the clubhouse. When he was a baby, Sonny boy had a lot more friends cos I was friendly with a lot of the mommas. We tended to get together in the evening, and naturally the kids bonded too. Not so nowadays, when once I get back, I have work and a little bit of me-time as well ( books, FB, blog), without which I think I would divorce the husband!

I have not the leisure to know his friends, whether to approve or disapprove. When my Mom comes, it is she who tell me the little tidbits about them that are so invaluable in knowing them. I heartily disapprove of one particular kid who GETS ON MY NERVES. But then, I don't have the time to introduce Sonny boy to other 'better' kids. Introduce because Sonny boy is bad at going out and making friends. He tends to stick to the few he knows and then makes them the axis around which his world revolves.

It is my Mom (or my maid) who knows whether he finishes his snack/lunch at school. Who gets first chance at hearing what went on in school. If at all they manage to get something out of my clam son.

Come to think about it, almost ALL my guilt centres around me being a working mom. But then, I know of at least a few mothers who wish they were in my shoes and could contribute to the family finances, or have an extra piggy bank to dip into for the luxuries. And then I read about this lady who felt bad about not DOING something and BEING somebody.
On the one side, there's her who feels like that, and on the other, there's a me who IS somebody other than a mother, and DOES something other than mothering, but wishes she didn't have to. Incidentally, that post of hers so resonated with me. I could empathise with every guilt she mentioned other than the doing and being somebody. Even that, except that she felt guilty for not, and me for.

She's made her peace with her guilts, I am yet to.
Mothers in blogosphere (fathers too), if you want to get that guilt off your chest, let the words spill out and take part in this contest for Mommy guilt initiated by Apu.


WhatsInAName said...

Hugs to you, JLT.
Its a matter of time. I had very same feelings till sometime back. But once kids grow beyond primary, everything falls in place. Why don't you send him to a tuition teacher? Isn't it better for both of you?
As for the dads of the world, I completely agree to what you say? I still have arguments with Hubby on the very points you mention here.

Rohini said...

Bah! We can never win, can we?

And I have it in for teachers who colour all working moms and their kids with the same stroke. I happened to run into a lady who used to teach but gave up her job after her baby was born because she had working moms' kids in her class to quote her. 'there was a hollowness in their eyes'. She obviously hadn't guessed that she was talking to a working mum and then didn't know what to say when I asked her whether Ayaan's or my (my mum worked full time through my childhood) eyes were hollow. Silly woman!

starry eyed said...

Awww...hugs JLT! I really wish there was better support for working's so agonising to think of what we're missing, but SAHMs are also agonising over what they're missing in the 'rat race'...either way you miss something. So might as well look on the bright side to prevent ourselves from going completely mad!

Yes, I think fathers should come out with their and their wives' guilt and do something constructive about it!! :P

And I hear tend to miss the details. The other day I blew my top, coz SH picked up Dhruv and brought him home...WITHOUT HIS GLASSES! I mean how, how, how can you miss a detail like no specs on your son's face???!!!!

R's Mom said...

Oh God! I just finished my piece on the mommy guilt thing and said I was NO LONGER feeling guilty...but then R is yet to start school :(:( There you go..I will be writing this perhaps again in the next 3 years...will get back to you then :):)

Just Like That said...

WIAN: Plaaning to start tuitions for him this year. So long as it takes care of the homework bogey and gets him to do some daily writing, am ok with it. He just needs to get into the routine, hopefully, he will... :-)

Ro: Hollow eyes, my foot! I too thought that Sonny boy was much better off than some other kids in his group at the school. But then, such comments from people we consider to be experts at childcare do tend to leave their mark :-( I just wish I had more time to play with him and to take him out of his shell a bit...

Starry: LOL. that cheered me up quite a bit. This is like how S obsesses over Sonny boy's school bag and what goes in... and finally Sonny boy went off to school one day without his bag! I caught them at the lift and handed over the bag! :-D

R: I left a comment for you on your post. :-) Hugs to you.

Mama - Mia said...

i have always felt its harder to leave kids behind post 3 because by then their emotional needs are so much more and they can express themselves and break your hearts!

but mostly they are ok! i work very hard on not feeling guilty! most of the times, i succeed, sometimes i dont! but thats ok!

hugs to you!