August 03, 2009

An ode to modern motherhood.

When I was pregnant, my friend a~ told me that the pregnancy/labor bit was easier compared to what follows. She said, at least I know that can't go on forever but lack of sleep really kills me or something to that effect. And I wondered how that could be true. Of course, since I was pregnant, I was only concerned about the pregnancy part of the whole experience and I thought once the baby is born, I can switch back to a worry-free existence -- you know the cutesy smiling mommy, gurgling toothless baby scenarios? Turns out, I was pretty off base. Pregnancy was really easy compared to sleepless nights and the newer worries that were born with the little package that I signed up for :)

Of course, I can never say my labor and birth of li'l r~ were easy. Nope, although I seem to have made a valiant effort to see the humor in the situation when I read my birth story (Radhu was 7 days old then) a few days back. k likes to call it "the much-glorified blood-loss story". Of course, I shot back with choice phrases that postpartum wives reserve for their helpful yet annoyingly hormone-balanced husbands. Suffice to say the story wasn't pretty.

Anyway, I digress. I was talking about how this whole motherhood thing is a pretty sneakily tricky business. At every stage, it gets you thinking, "Oh! If only I pass this stage, then all's going to be rosy and peaceful" and then you reach that stage and you are already peeking into the next stage and wondering when said stage will jump ahead. And like all mom stories you might have heard, I will add that each stage has a charm that you will miss when you near its end. See, that's why it's sneaky. You want your baby to be done having teeth and then you look at her full-teethed smile and wonder where the toothless grin of yesterday vanished to. You watch her bob her head to music and wonder why the little person who needed your smell every moment of her awake-time doesn't need you quite so much anymore. You are waiting for her to take those little baby steps but know already that you will miss the time when all she could do was roll from her tummy to her back. Sigh. You can't beat the system. You gotta ride the ups and downs and savor the experience. That's the tricky bit -- the knowledge that it's challenging and fun, tiresome and enriching. Can't have one without the other.

So, while you are dealing with all these inconsistencies, you realize you also have a work-life in the outside world that needs your attention. And, I don't know how the super moms do it but I find it really really hard to do justice to the outside world and the baby world. And this is when I haven't really cooked in almost 2 years, save the sudden urge to make a sweet or two on an auspicious day! But, I try anyway with the end result that I am tired and sometimes short fused ("Sometimes?!" -- that would be k screaming from down the hall :p) and yet not satisfied with what I have achieved at the end of the day. There is still a list of 12 tasks and personal goals (including sleep) yet to be achieved and it's already midnight.

Whenever I get into this mode of thinking, well-meaning folks have the tendency to get that faraway wise look as they say, "Think of the moms of yester years who did it all on their own", "Think of the moms who..." blah. blah. Yes, yes. Those moms rock. And I suppose I am selfish in assuming I have a tough life but hey, part of living a fulfilling life is to really live in the moment. So, I am doing that, aren't I? Really soaking up motherhood moments and still trying to have fun. Don't see the need to compare muhself with moms of yesteryears who did it all and still smiled at their husbands with bright-eyed devotion in the mornings as opposed to bleary-eyed, mumbling-to-self lady in pjs who snarls at dear husband in the morning (Uh. That would be me). So, what am I saying? Modern moms have the right to crib too. It's fun to crib (crib = complain as we Indians like to call it). I bet it's healthful (or some such fancy word) to the soul too. To modern motherhood!


Vidhya said...

Nice post. I am a sahm, yet I am doubtful many a times whether I am doing justice to that role :) So i can understand what you must be going through.
Living in the present moment is something that I cherish in motherhood. Most of the time it is the way of life and not being in the present moment is not an option (even if you want to) especially when they are very little :)

aseel said...

Great post. Now off to do some balancing acts ;)

RS said...

vidhya -- Hey! We should meet up soon! Please do drop by!

Aseel -- ;)

jessica said...

You are so right. And it's funny, just when I think I'm the only crazy person in the world, I find other people going through the exact same thing. Whenever I go through tough times and feel like I can't manage, I start thinking about those yester-moms and how my own mother had 3 kids under 3 to look after...I only have 1, I can't be going crazy yet!

I also think though it's hard nowadays because we want it all. We want to work and have our kids. I think it really helps having a good support system. A dad today can't be like the same dad back then, who was the only one going to work and came home just in time for dinner and bedtime. Modern dads have to pick up more responsibility...unless they want to get better paying jobs so moms don't have to work. :P

And yeah, looking back, I feel like such an idiot for worrying so much about labor. :) Of course, I used the drugs!

© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.