Thursday, June 04, 2009

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

I read that line in an email forward for the umpteenth time today. It’s a thought, though.

My working woman angst is not so much towards guilt at being away as it is resentment for having to accept other people mothering my baby for those long, long hours that I’m away. Mostly I’ve come to terms with it and dare I say it, I’m even appreciative of having to do less of the donkey work.

But now and then, especially when I count the very few hours that I actually spend with the boy in a week, I feel very redundant. I tell myself, all he really needs is one parent and he’s got Vicky, and if they have a good maid to do the housekeeping, I guess they’ll manage. I said as much to Vicky the other night and got a surprisingly stern rejoinder. Made me think of how I’d treat such a statement from him. With scorn, of course, for not appreciating what he had. Is that what I do?

Perhaps, when I’m in such self pitying modes, I sidestep the whole point of being a mum. Of being the person who gets him as nobody else does. I think I don’t, but the naughtiness, the humour in his naughtiness, I get it. Because he gets it from me. Some days I think he loves Vicky the way he does because he learns that from me too. Watching the man, learning him inside out, at war with his stubbornness but unable to withstand his smile, that’s how the Bhabs loves the Vicky. As do I.

He’s two and three quarters now and no longer a toddler by a long shot. I still haven’t gotten used to the ramifications of being a mum though. That if Vicky and I fight and I cry in my locked bedroom, my son will tell me the next day that yesterday you cried. And leave me to learn my own lesson like I leave him to learn his. That if I cry it matters, not because it upsets him but because my tears hurt him. Like my mother’s hurt me.

In my own way, completely different from Vicky’s, I accept that I too make up his home. In my arms he listens to stories and from me he learns to cook omets (omlettes) and identify buldos (bulldozers). From me he hears his lullabye and with me he overcomes his fear of lightning (I’m so proud of him on this one). I teach him to appreciate his clothes and water the (two) plants and help him climb the ‘grown-up’ slide. I take him every where I go, to places where nobody would think to take him, and I fight for his rights when nobody else would even think to consider them. These are some of the things I do for him that nobody else does or can do. These are the things I’m supposed to do and I have no business thinking I can leave such important jobs to anybody else.

I’m not in a sentimental mood. Even if I were, my boys laugh me out of it. They don’t believe in being senti. But it’s funny how I insist on being Vicky’s world when I don’t always remember that I may be our son’s world too.

26 comments:

Artnavy said...

beautiful tender post

and a lovely line that my father first forwarded me - it keeps me going whenever i feel low....

Itchingtowrite said...

hey.... offcourse u r the world to many people not just one!
AND I LOVE THE WAY KIDS ARE SO PERCEptive. a little tear and they are all upon you asking after your mood...

Saya said...

Love your long posts. Ore the wisdom:D

Mama - Mia said...

:)

just today i was wunnering that with Cubby starting playschool, i get even lesser time with him!

thanks for making ME feel better! :)

hugs!

abha

upsilamba said...

Your posts overwhelm me at times, Sue.
Like this one did.

(On an entirely different note -- did you mourn over KamalaDas?)

Vidooshak said...

That was so genuine. Funny how we seem to imagine we are alone in feeling that way, in living this torn life. Blogs have been a wonderful gateway into other people's lives... and through them, into our own lives. Especially when it comes to rearing and relating to our child, nothing was a better guide than the 'xerox' experiences of other moms (and dads).

Yes, whether you are around all the time or not, the brat sure thinks his world revolves around you!

Rohini said...

Lovely post, Sue. Your little boy is lucky to have you as his mother and don't you ever forget that...

DotThoughts said...

lovely post sue.. and yes..it will get easier as he grows older. as he becomes more independent. more vocal, more capable of voicing his wants.

p.s. please, please, please.. the french drives me nuts.

choxbox said...

loved that line and made me smile.

akamonica said...

excellent post. when i had help at home, i used to get her to feed N food because he would eat much better with her. at one point, she was able to do everything for him. at that time, i did wonder how much i was required just the way you did. Now i have no help and i'm doing EVERYTHING for him myself.

K 3 said...

"My working woman angst is not so much towards guilt at being away as it is resentment for having to accept other people mothering my baby for those long, long hours that I’m away."

That totally sums up my feeling too ... soo very true. But then going back to the title of the post, again very true ... I guess, somewhere along the road one has to come to terms.

Saya said...

Blogrolled you

dipali said...

However long you need to be away from him, the joy he expresses with his entire being when his Babu comes home makes it all worth while.
The neediness is all so mutual, even if it doesn't seem so.

Mystic Margarita said...

There will always be doubts, Sue - every parent has - but you'll have to do what works best for all - and your boys will be just fine :)

Sue said...

Art -- You too? I've got it so many times but yesterday I found myself reading it over again.

Sue said...

Itchy -- :) And then they grow up to these mens... *sigh*

Saya -- Thank you. What wisdom you find here beats me, though.

Abha -- *hugs*

Upsi -- Yes, I did. I instantly thought of you, too!

Vidooshak -- True. Xerox experiences is a nice, apt term for it. Blurry xeroxes, but xeroxes nonetheless.

Rohini -- These days I don't see his luck. I see mine, though.

Dot -- LOL! Back to English, see?

Chox -- I'm glad of that. BTW, we need to talk. I don't think you got my phone messages.

Monica -- Isn't it funny how you love it and get exasperated at the same time with the amount of work it is? Anyway, my mum says one only has the one mother so that one mother can't ever be dispensable. She's pretty indispensable to me, so I'll buy her theory.

Sue said...

K3 -- Yes, one does have to accept circumstances the way they are to be able to make the most of them.

Saya -- Cool.

Dipali -- It's mutual, na? I know it is. Some days I need it bopped into me all over again. Vicky usually attends to that bopping (most enthusiastically).

Mystic -- I worry about me, these day. I know the boys will be fine. Blasted male bonding at home all day. :)

myveryownbloggywog said...

That *is* precisely the problem with having it all, isn't it? It's going to be an imperfect balancing act, and it can't be any other way. Kids need more than one person to do the mothering, whether they have working moms or moms busy being moms to younger siblings. When I was younger, I told myself I'd be a stay at home mom until my kids were 2, so I'd never miss their first words, first steps. But how pointless would all that be if they took their first steps while I was in the bathroom?


I realize you don't know me from Adam, so hello from a mommy wannabe in mommy blog land. :)

Just Like That said...

yeaah, you know, thinking of it, I too don't feel so guilty over spending time away from my baby as I do disliking the fact that someone from a totally different mindscape is minding my baby.
But yeah, I do know that for all that, I'm loved and looked up to like noone else. Which is sometimes reassuring, sometimes scaring.
Lovely post, Sue.

Poppins said...

Loved this post so much, even linked you up!

Swati said...

lovely post indeed!

Sue said...

BloggyWog -- Hi. What a name, to be sure. :) You're right about missing the stuff even if you are home. I think the key is to demystify the firsts rather than keep a count of all the stuff one misses.

JLT -- Sometimes scaring is right, man. Oh well. I'll give him a good education at least so that he can pay for his own therapy. ;)

Poppy -- Thank you!

Swati -- Thanks. :)

Neera said...

I'll read this whenever I am on my "redundant, no one needs me" trips!

Sue said...

Neera -- :) Print it and stick it in your diary, if you like. You're the mum, the wife. They'll always need you.

the mad momma said...

ditto wise sue. ditto.

Sue said...

MM -- And that's why they say there's great wisdom in madness, I suppose. LOL!