Monday, June 11, 2018

As The Summer Holidays Come To An End....

I have vivid memories of my school summer holidays. As soon as the exams get over and the school closes for holidays, we would pack ourselves off to a close relatives house or we would have cousins visiting us. I still remember fondly the innumerable stay overs that we've had during those days. The days would seem short as we would play, fight, share stories and just while away time. Those memories hold a special place in my heart and thinking of it still brings a faint smile, no matter what!

Years passed, as college and work came by, summer holidays became a part of the distant past. It became a cherished memory that I could never get back. And then, the little boy started school and summer holidays are again back in my life.

This year, as much as I was looking forward to the holidays, I also didn't have a clue as to how I would manage him along with work. I always had friends helping me out and being my back up plan when I was away for meetings or if I wasn't able to make it on time to pick up the little boy from school. I had a hectic work schedule for the first week of April, bang when the holidays started. But summer holidays meant everybody had their vacation plans on and even otherwise, I wouldn't be able to bother them on a daily basis. That said, I didn't want to put the little boy for a summer camp too. He needed a break from the daily routine. This was his time to enjoy whiling away time, doing absolute nothing if that's what he wanted to do and in general, chill.

It all started with my mom requesting to send Adhrith to my parents' along with my brother. The little boy was excited. And off he went to Trivandrum, a few days into his vacation of which one of the days was 'go to meetings with Amma' kind of a day. Since then, the last two months have been celebration time for him all throughout. Home and parents were forgotten. He spent days away from us with his grandparents and cousins, helping his 'Muthassi' (my grandmother) plant saplings and water plants, visiting the beach and zoo, and not having a single minute to spare to even talk to his parents. :P Each time he came back home teary eyed and upset, because he didn't want to come back and stay wherever he was 'forever and ever'. Those times he was home, he had friends over from the minute he woke up.

Now, as the holidays come to an end, I am sure that the little boy has filled up his memory bag with truckloads of fun and enjoyment from summers of '18. With new words and, at times, accents that he picked up from his cousins and friends, a lot of 'Ammaaa.. you know..' and getting pampered big time, this boy has grown up a lot - through experiences, being with extended family, realising his fears and facing it, realising the world outside and comparing it with ours. 

Activities were forgotten, schedules took a u-turn, and just about anything that defined a structure went for a toss. Yet the boy has learnt. A lot. Much more than any activity or text book could teach him. He has learnt and picked up things beyond his age. Things that is going to be a big influence in his journey of growing up. Things that he will not forget. Along with him, I learnt too. I've learnt to let go. To worry less. To sit back and soak in the happiness of a little boy enjoying his day the way he wants.

These two months kept bringing me back the memories I made growing up. I hope the little boy holds the ones that he made close to his heart forever too. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Musings Of A Work From Home Mom

I took a break from work when I was pregnant with my little boy. As much as I wanted to get back to work after he was born, the break extended to around two and a half years. I slowly started penning down our chronicles and publishing it and I got offers to write. Soon, I was working on a couple of things on my terms and time and I had the flexibility and a lot of time for myself. I worked only on hours when the little boy was away at school or asleep. The house was spic and span, neat and clean. The food was hot and ready by mealtimes. Then, almost a year and half back, I got an amazing opportunity to work for a social sector startup. It was in a field that I loved, a work from home opportunity and something that would bring me steady income monthly. There started my true life as a work from home mom.

In this last year and a half, life has been a juggle. It takes every nerve in my body to stay afloat, sometimes even sinking and then taking extra effort to get back. It is a sad reality that people take work from home very lightly. It's pretty much seen as a part time work for a bit of pocket money, while managing the house. This, sadly, is far from reality.

I start my day early in the morning and finish all the household chores before I have to drop the little boy to school and sit down for work. It's a whole day of work and I don't divert from work to get house things done. The only break that I take is lunch time, half of which goes to pick up the kiddo from school and getting him to sleep (only because I can work that time without feeling guilty of not spending time with him!). I again get back to work until evening, when the little boy prompts me that I have to wind up my work and take him to the park. Any time off from work is leave and is noted.

There's a lot of guilt. A constant guilt of not being there for your child inspite of being right there in front of him. The guilt of the house being messy all the time and not getting the time to clean up. The guilt of ordering food because you didn't get time in the morning to prepare or you got off a call late that it became too late to prepare food. The guilt of being impatient and rushing the little one. The guilt of giving screen time to your child so that you get additional time to finish up your work.

I get panic attacks when people do a surprise visit to my place (because, trust me, it is as messy as it can get!). There's a lot of "Oh, how lucky that you work from home. You can manage the house and still spend some time to work" that bugs me to the core yet I hold back from giving an apt reply. There's this constant struggle of managing child care if you have to go for meetings but you haven't enrolled for child care since most of the days you are home when the little one comes home.

A work from home job is a blessing. Of course it is in many ways! But it is definitely not a breeze. It is hard. But I am also grateful. Amidst the constant struggles and guilt, I've found joy and happiness from being able to be involved and doing some amazing work in an area that is very close to my heart. Yes, I do not get the time to finish many chores and I panic when I have surprise guests but I am willing to let it be for the greater good that a work from home job comes with. I am happy that I can pick up my little boy from school, I am happy that I can read stories for him when I take a break. I am happy to just be around. And most of all, everything just seems right and I know my little boy is proud of his Amma when he tells his dad, "You should ask Amma for money, she has lots of money" even though it is far from reality ;)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Blessing Called Friends And Family

It’s a month into 2018 and we’ve had 3 cuts, 2 dislocations, 2 doctor visits, an MRI Scan, a viral infection and a surgery between my two boys. I’ve been stressed, exhausted and at times, at my crankiest. There were times when I felt guilty, scared, clueless and anxious.

The first time the little boy fell down I was away at a meeting. The school, when they failed to get me on phone, reached out to my friend who, along with B, went to the school, picked up the little boy and brought him home. The mommy guilt crept in for not being there by Adhrith's side when he was hurt. I was torn between attending work and going back home. My friend stood her ground, told me to finish my meetings without being worried, made my little boy sleep and took care of him in the same way I would have. By the time I was back, everything was taken care of by daddy dearest and Nitika aunty.

Two weeks into January, B dislocated his shoulder twice in the same week, and a doctor visit and MRI revealed that he needed a surgery to take care of that. As we sat wondering where to get the surgery done, Achan (my dad) went a step ahead and shared the report with our family orthopedic surgeon back home, and suggested that it was best to get the surgery done in Kerala because of the family support back home.

Yesterday, B got done with his surgery. I was scared deep in my mind the last whole week although I tried being calm and cool in the outside. There were times when I lost my cool, cried my heart out, and even fought with B. I am calmer now, heartbeat back to normal and as the day comes to an end, I can’t help but think of the blessing called friends and family in my life.

This month showed me how I always have help just a call away, sometimes even before that! This month showed me how there is always someone to listen to my vents be it late in the night or early in the morning. I know I couldn’t have passed a day without these people in my life. As B was wheeled to the operation theatre, all of a sudden I felt scared. Right then, a message came from Achan - "just relax". That message brought exactly that! Amma, whose prayers are the best one that I believe in, was with me the whole day  and helping me with everything when B was wheeled back to the room. My sister in law, for whom it would have been way past her bedtime, kept messaging me, chatting about random stuffs and kept me engaged until B was out of the surgery. Right from my family to my in-laws to our friends, there were a lot of people who kept checking in on me every now and then leaving me ever so grateful for their presence in my life. Even certain things that I use in my daily life – a watch, bracelet, my current read, a few tea bags, wallet – gave me a feeling of having the people who gifted me these right by my side, holding my hand and giving me the strength when I felt scared. If it wasn't for family, little Adhrith would've had a major melt-down by now. There were times when he felt disturbed and wanted to be with me but his two best friends at home - Muthassi (my grandmother) and Achu maman (my brother) stepped in and took care.

I have no clue how I would’ve cruised this month without this support. There have been many times in life when I’ve argued with friends about how valuable the support of friends and family are. I’ve had many people who tell me that they know how to live on their own and doesn’t need any family support. And like I tell them, of course you can. But then, you will have to live through your sorrows and worries on your own. There will always be hurdles in life, and without people support it is definitely difficult to move forward. There’ll be no one to comfort you when that mommy guilt creeps in, no one to take care of your baby when you are held up with other unavoidable commitments, no shoulder for that comfort when you need it the most, no one to help you take decisions when you are confused and definitely no one to say, “don’t worry, we all are there!”. Trust me, there’s definitely nothing greater than the blessing called friends and family.