I started attending lectures when Ira was just 45 days old. Since then I have had my moments where I felt I was not a good mom. There were moments when I gave in to what others had to say about me. I left my business, my blogs, my films and my jobs because I wanted to be with Ira. So here is my personal story from working mom’s guilt to working mom’s peace.
Since last few weeks, (13 weeks!) Yes I am counting? The mommy guilt is making me feel pathetic. It’s been a week since Ira started sharing with me that she misses me. That I don’t sit with her during her activities. I don’t take her out. I don’t spend time with her. I don’t talk to her. And the one thing she misses the most is food cooked by me. I am still happy about it that she at least shares her emotions with me. I know I made her unhappy. I know I have been neglecting my own health from past few weeks by working 16 -18 hours a day. But I feel it’s high time now I balance my life and be a happy mom instead of a guilty mom.
Every moment, Ira is watching me neglect myself for work, for family, and for so many other reasons. I am currently advised not to do any form of physical activity because of nutritional deficiencies. Ira wakes up at 3 AM at night because the lights are on and I am still working. She observes me do all this. And I am afraid she might do it as well.
So here are a few things that I did after my moment of truth, to simplify our life and find peace as a working mommy –
Leave mommy guilt behind
I came to a conclusion where I realized, we don’t have any financial support or any child maintenance to help us with our needs. If I don’t start working now I and Ira may not survive more than 2 days in a city like Mumbai. We need money, a lot of it and with a single 5 digit salary we can either eat 6 times a day or support our education & medical expenses. So feeling guilty for working towards a better and brighter future is the need of the hour and there is not a single reason to be guilty of it.
Work strictly for 8 hours
This is what I am still struggling with, but I have made it clear to myself that I will be working only for 8 hours per day. It includes working for my job, my blogs and my personal passions. The more time I spend working, the more I spend on medical bills. So it’s better to earn a bit less but to gain on health front because my work is mainly sitting in front of the laptop for hours and it takes away a lot of mental peace.
A reliable Caretaker or Daycare
Ira was going to Daycare for almost 2 years when I stopped it because of health issues. Her immunity went for a toss and our paediatrician advised to keep her at home till she turns 5 years old. So I opted for a Nanny at home because I didn’t want her to feel neglected while I was digging in front of the computer. So a police verified nanny is what gives me relief.
The CCTV Cameras
In spite of the police verification, I installed CCTV camera’s in every room of our house. Because I didn’t want to leave my daughter behind and be worried about her all the time. I can see Ira live on my phone and my laptop from any part of the world and also listen to the conversations live. If there is an incident that I want to verify I can just check the recording and see & hear what exactly happened.
Sleep on time
I used to wake up at 9 AM and sleep at 4 AM the next morning. So basically, less than 5 hours of sleep per day and that started reflecting on my health and the way I looked. So I made sure I sleep at least by 12 PM with Ira so that we can have a nice bedtime.
Wake up early
Waking up a bit early than Ira gave me some time to plan & prepare things for me & her. I peacefully have my bath, make a quick breakfast for us and manage to get ready (play dress up) before she wakes up. Basically, when she is up I am not busy in the kitchen or doing something else before I leave for work or sit down in front of my desk.
I screwed up my metabolism and health and this is the major reason why! But ever since I started eating breakfast before Ira was up, I started feeling much better. I was more interested in everything I did and I was less irritable. I usually have fruits or dry fruits as the first meal of the day within 30 mins waking up and then start with anything.
Cook more often
Ever since I started my new job there was a lot of pressure. I was working almost 16 hours a day and I didn’t have time for anything else. Cooking took a back seat and Ira was upset because of it. More than Ira, I was irritated and guilty. I started cooking because I wanted to feed Ira healthy and home cooked food. We all know the magic of food cooked by our moms. I always wanted Ira to proudly ask me to cook her favourite food. But this was not happening. So I pushed it to the top of my priority list. And I make sure to make breakfast for ira and cook her favourites thrice a week. I am hoping that I make all her meals every single day soon. But for now, we are happy with what I am doing.
By now you all know my story. But I am really happy how my decisions are helping me to stay sane. I take short 15 mins breaks every two hours to read a few pages or continue watching an episode or do something quickly like changing my nail colour. These ways I am always happy and love my work. Taking small breaks is necessary not only to clear out your mind but also to keep the Fun quotient in the rote life.
Sit down with Ira
Like I said I make sure I am giving Ira one on one time while she wakes up until I go to work and during bedtime. This gives me immense joy and peace because that’s the only thing I want to do without any breaks. Being there for her while she is little.
Head out every single day
If I need to go to the office I make sure while coming back I take a different route or visit a joint to grab something to drink to unwind the day. This way when I reach home, even though I have less energy I don’t have any work residue in my mind and I am relaxed.
Go on Field Trips every weekend
This was rare when Ira used to go to daycare because of her low immunity. She was always sick and we never really got a chance to explore. But now with her health stabilized and her homeschooling routine established. We go for a field trip every weekend. This way we both get some alone time and we understand each other much better.
Work smarter – Ask for help & Plan Ahead
For the initial few weeks when I joined my new job, I was nanny-less, I was the only person in charge of the work and I was clueless how things are in a company. I ended up doing a lot of donkey work. But once I started working smartly by planning things in advance, delegating tasks and communicating my issues with my team members work & personal life both became a lot easy.
I also asked for help from family and friends with so many things and they were ready to help which gave me fewer reasons to be guilty of and worry. I started planning my work scheduled weeks in advance and this way I was able to prioritize what needs to be done now and what can be done this week.
When you have your moment of truth, make sure you also see the better side of the situation and focus on making the situation good for you emotionally by sharing with others.