October 21, 2009

Motherhood & Babyville -- a post for women mostly.

(...although will be refreshing if you are a guy and you still want to read the post. 100 words down if you are still reading, man, you rock!)

I recently submitted an article on motherhood for a magazine contest. And I wrote that while motherhood is about sweet gurgles, the pitter-patter of tiny feet and wet sloppy first kisses, it is much more than what the outside world sees. The whole world told me my life was going to change after a baby. There is much truth in that and li'l r~ is now a year old and I don't know if my life is back to normal yet. So, I figured I would alter what normal is so I can get over that issue and carry on with life.

The past two days, I have been dwelling over how being r's mom has transformed me, not just because of the article but also because of this book I read called Babyville. I started off criticizing the book for being superficial but as I continued to read, I could identify bits of myself (albeit very tiny bits at times) in all the three moms in the book. Yes, there was a time (I believe, 4 weeks after r~ was born) when I wondered if I had the famous baby-blues or it's nasty sibling, PPD. 6 months, post-partum when I was still a walking zombie, I wondered if I was making a big mistake by not even considering the Crying-it-out method. After all, happy, sane mom a requisite for happy baby, right? At that time, I didn't quite chalk my walking-dead-routine down to thyroid issues (which is what I would discover later on -- a drastically over-zealous or sluggish thyroid gland and just for fun, keep alternating it so the endoc could never know for sure!)

And now, I am no longer post-partum even by my extended definition (k claims it's 6 weeks, not 1 year!) So, I no longer have a valid excuse for: my 15 extra pounds (I swear, I will sign up for the gym if I cross 125 now; enough is enough!), my lack of energy in the evenings, my most favored costume of the day -- pjs...and so on. I am past the stage where moms with kindly eyes (and the rest of the world, also with kindly eyes :) who have been-there-dunnit inquire about my birth story. I can't slack off in bed saying I am recovering. And soon, when my mom leaves, it's just up to me and k to keep r~ safe, healthy, happy, intellectually-stimulated and the million other things that toddlers need. In reality, they will probably grow up to be perfectly fine, whether or not moms like me stress over which vaccines to delay, which organic baby food to trust, which toy not to buy, how much TV to watch and so on. But stress, I do. I believe it's part of the job-description.

I miss the attention-phase. The phase when a woman is pregnant and people coo and ooh and are super nice to you (That must be how celebrities feel, I guess). And then we sort of melt to the background -- and rightfully! Baby outcutes mom anyday! -- but it's also sort of anti-climactic; suddenly we are moms now who ought to know how to get their act together. The past 1/2 year, I think exactly one of my friends asked me how I felt -- a question that was put to me a million times when I was pregnant. I find it somewhat annoying when people suddenly start addressing me momma. Hello? Not your momma! Like suddenly they can't be bothered to find out your first name. "Momma! Baby will be fine, it's just a little shot!", "Momma, come and sign this paper please!" 'Course am proud am a mother but a mother to my precious, not to every odd person on earth!

And then there's the discussed-to-death family-work balance which does not exist. If you are talking about family-work-imbalance, yes, I believe that is real. When I am at work, I worry about r~ and when am with her, I worry about not making my mark at work. There are a million things I want to be doing every second -- clean the house, organize stuff, cook, write, plan, be an awesome and also very cool mom (very important, repeat "cool mom")...and I feel I don't do justice to most of it.

And being a part of mommyhood also means subtly justifying your choices maybe not all the time but it's bound to crop up sometime or the other in this journey. One child only? Stay at home mom? Day care so early? Every choice invites a comment and it's hard not to justify myself which opens the door for what else? More comments and advice. It's however hard to ignore the advice (which is what am doing currently) when it comes from your obgyn or pediatrician ("7 months and not sleeping through the night?Don't you think she might be getting a bit spoilt guys?"; "It's perfectly alright to let your baby cry when she is in the car seat, stroller, crib or anywhere else in this world. Let her cry -- is the solution to a perfect childhood" -- Ok fine. I made that last line up). One of those parenting magazines I read said, the more you blab, the more advice you are going to get, like it or not. And I am the blabbing type, unfortunately. This reminds me of two starkly contrasting statements I heard while I was pregnant: One of my friends said she felt she achieved something in her life only after her she gave birth to her first child. And another acquaintance said her life was over after her child was born.

And the book brought all this to the forefront (of my already loaded mind). And so, I am currently dwelling on all this and of course I shall dwell some here too. For what's a blog for, if not to output some of your overflowing, repetitive, inane thought processes to? And being a mom means being subjected to an overdose of that whole process.

And no, I am not going to end this post with but it's all worth it because we have a cute baby who makes it all better. It may be worth it but every motherhood article need not necessarily end with that disclaimer just because it highlighted some of the difficulties of being a mother and now it has to make up for it. I will not subject to the mommy-guilt-syndrome. At least, not this once *Sheepish grin*.

What's a mom to do when she has all this going on? Read a chick-lit and chill of course. Which is what am doing currently. Bridget Jones diary, in case you are curious or too lazy to check out my book case on the right. One day r~ will grow up and walk through this space and go, "Mom?! You lost it briefly after me?!" in a delectable American accent!

Oh and now for some fun update, The last laugh will be showcased at the Bangalore book festival! Aarg! I wish I could go. I wish I could go and do a reading or some such cool thing. Look for a stall by pothi if you are there at the exhibition! I wish I could go! If I say it enough times, the powers that be shall make it happen. Didn't you know that?


My Thoughts said...

My first comment here on your blog, have been reading it for quite some time (and don't know how I landed here!)

This post is very well put..probably as random as the thoughts are. Can identify with most of what you wrote. If not for anything else atleast for the sake of knowing that most of us feel the same way, all this rant is worth it...Keep them coming :)

RS said...

Thanks. Definitely. If not here, where else do I rant and vent? :)

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