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.