At last, just at the nick of time… here’s my entry for the Mommy Guilt contest. Those who haven’t already submitted your entry, read this on Apu’s blog and this on Womensweb. There’s time till Monday ladies – do rush your entries… am sure you all have lots to say on this topic…and there are some exciting prizes!!!
I have been unwell for a while now and I thought of chatting up with a doctor who also happens to be a relative. Among other things that we discussed, she made an interesting observation about stress. Stress is not just the work load or work pressure but the pressure that you experience as a result of boredom – because you are probably not doing things that you really enjoy doing and in the context of motherhood, she called it the, “Indian Mommy Syndrome”. We feel guilty about ‘enjoying’ when it does not include our children. Try leaving your child behind to meet up with friends, for some indulgence at the parlour, a movie, a concert, a holiday and the likes. The monster called ‘Guilt’ will be unleashed on you.
Now, where does this monster dwell? Mostly within us, sometimes around us. Let me explain – why do we feel guilty? 1. How does it make me feel? 2. What will others think of me?
1. How does it make me feel?: You decided to keep out of the kitchen one day and fed your child milk, cheese, noodles, bread and the likes. Now, no one knows this but it still leaves you guilty. Why? Because you think you could have done much better for your child.
2. What will others think of me?: You left your child with hubby and in laws to watch a movie with friends. How many calls have you made to check on your child? How many times have you worried about what your in laws would think about you? Did one of your mommy friends tell you how she has never even thought of doing anything like this till her child was big enough? Yeah, woman, too bad. You should have dialed me for some counsel! Bah! Are you thinking that I don’t care for some medals and honors? Oh, no, I do, I’m a sucker for those. But I decide, ‘at what cost‘ these days.
I realise that it is extremely important for us to be happy and feel worthy of ourselves to be able to nurture a healthy self esteem, to exude that positive energy around us. Without this, what we would eventually do is spend a lot of time, empty time, with our children and only end up feeling miserable about all those things that we could have otherwise achieved. There are mothers who enjoy giving up their career for the child and there are mothers who enjoy finding the balance – this is not a situation with ‘only one right answer’.
If we assume that children don’t understand, we are grossly underestimating them. They would rather have a happy mom for a few hours than a grouchy, miserable mom the whole day. So, momma, do things that’ll keep you happy – its important for your baby 😉 ….we all come around to it, don’t we 😀
I also see that women who have interests besides their children, who have their own friends, either a career or a hobby are a lot more emotionally independent as empty-nesters. They don’t feel the void suddenly. There are other things that they enjoy, that keep them occupied and positively engaged. This is good not only for themselves but also for the children who are less burdened to see their parents happy.