During my school days, I had not ventured out of our area of residence.. It all changed once I got into college.. Had to travel across the city and the world was my oyster.. Building relationships and having fun was as important, if not more, as studies.. Graduation, post graduation diploma, post graduate degree led to working from one job to the other across industries.. My main thrust was on learning new things.. So much so that working 10-12 hours a day became a norm.. Didn't really concentrate on stuff like cooking and jazz.. After all, there was always time..
Got married.. Had kids.. Promotions at work as well at home came calling.. Went on second maternity leave as team lead with no plans to quit.. But things panned out in such a way that I decided that my spending so much time away from the kids was not worth it, no matter what the financial remuneration it brought.. Most of the men were supportive of the decision and strangely, women were the ones who tried to make me change my mind.. They didn't want me to give up my independence et al.. After a lot of swinging on the pendulum, I decided to take a break of a year or two.. My husband hadn't wanted me to leave but I had thought (mistakenly) he would come around..
Days turned into weeks and months and now, a year and a half later, my husband and other well wishers don't fail to ask when will I join back.. Why am I wasting my time? What's the need to stay at home, bachche toh apne aap hi bade ho jaate hain (kids grow up on their own)? Till when will you stop living on your husband's income? Poor guy, toiling so hard and being the sole bread earner.. Stop lazing around and do something productive.. Blah blah blah..
I am sorry but do you know my story before passing your judgement? Do you know that I got married to a guy cultures and regions apart.. People said it would not work.. But we thought, well what do they know.. Even today, we have issues related to differences in upbringing and he still can't digest anything that his mom has not cooked..
Do you know that I became pregnant with twins within a few months of marriage after a PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome) scare.. Did you know that despite more than a month on strict bed rest, the kids still came 6 weeks early??? Tiny little angels.. Did you know that despite our best efforts, the elder one, by five minutes, passed away after a lot of struggle on the third day, due to underdeveloped organs?? Did you know that life suddenly changed from carefree to care deeply for the second angel who had to undergo blood exchange transfusions and did you know that by the time she came home, she was just 1 kg?? Did you know that despite being sapped of all energy, I was not able to mourn in order to care of the little one?? Did you know that we were in isolation for almost 6 weeks with no touch with my support system?? Did you know that the rules don't apply for a frail premature kid?? Paediatricians gave dire predictions.. Brain not fully developed.. She won't be able to study, to do maths, etc.. Do you know how we got through all that along with episodes of febrile convulsions and hospital stays?? Did you know that my kid was almost raised by grandparents and we would take her home to sleep, it seemed.. Did you know that on random days she would not want me to go to work?? But I still went.. Did you know that when you are working, you can't take off whenever your little one feels like it?? But also, did you know that the thought of quitting my job never arose.. My salary came in handy and my job was my anchor and diversion from the thoughts running asunder..
Did you know that second time (pregnancy) around, my husband's new job was bringing in almost what we both were earning earlier???? Did you know that when I decided to take a break, my daughter had got 0 and 1 on her tests?? Did you know that I wanted to build my daughter's foundations and thereby invest in her future in the best way that I could?? Did you know that the last couple of years she has been getting A1?? Did you know that now my daughter tells me what happened in school and dropping endearments or hugs and kisses are normal occurrences and not special diary moments?? Did you know that my son air kisses me every time he leaves the room, loves to cuddle and kiss, loves going through books with me and colouring and scribbling?? Did you know that I am still breastfeeding my 2 year old and enjoying the bond?? He will anyway outgrow everything soon..
Did you know that I have been taking life as an adventure - learning to cook, quilling, calligraphy, blogging, baking etc.. Did you also know that I have been exploring options on all that I can keep the kids' schedule as priority and yet spend time working on my hobbies and passions and find ways to make a difference.. And not to merely earn a cheque.. With the information age, so many options are available to those who want to try out new things, learn new skills or languages or musical instruments or work from home..
Now after we have reached a position in life where I can mentally "afford" to take a break, then why do you judge me? I have worked for 5-6 years of my daughter's life.. I have travelled for days leaving a young one behind.. I have had the tv babysit my daughter for hours, while mil relaxed.. I have had her giving coffee and other things to the kids which is still a clashing point.. I have worked till late regularly and yet brought back work home.. I have lost my patience and snapped at innocent questions.. I have come home to a sleeping child.. And woken a sleepy one up to complete her homework.. Sometimes staying up as late as 11 as the kindergarten kid's fingers hurt and is so sleepy but noone has got the homework completed during the day.. So working moms, I do know a bit about managing work and kids and the challenges..
I have had a kid raised for me and now I am trying to raise a kid.. If I falter, so be it.. It's at least my mistake and I will not repeat it again.. How can I ever learn if I don't make those mistakes.. Knowing the theory is all good, but without the practical applications of the same, I don't think I can retain the knowledge for long..
Please don't call me a housewife, as I am not married to a house.. Please don't call me a housewife to show your "concern" / contempt.. Please don't call me a housewife to imply that I am whiling away my time.. Just know that I am currently a stay-at-home mom who is ON A BREAK by her own choice and is exploring options that who knows might end up paying me more than the job I left while I stick to my decided hours and creative job opportunities.. It's after all the information and knowledge age and I have not reached my dotage, yet.. Once my kids are all grown up and bugged with me being under their foot all the time, I can venture out and recapture the lost glory.. :) After all, I have some time before I retire..
In the meanwhile, please don't call me a housewife.. I am a knowledge worker who is currently imparting all sorts of knowledge to the future generation and is earning in infinite smiles, laughs, giggles, memories that will stay with us for a much longer time than a finite salary that would slip out of my account almost immediately after the month started.. And in Ross' words, "I am on a break" and don't plan to "live off" my poor husband forever.. After all, I am NOT a housewife :)
P.S. Disclaimer: This post is just my ramblings and is not meant to offend anyone, especially women who love being called housewives..
A stay at home mom, exploring options