Why I feel that my heart is breaking.

There’s a lot going on in my head. I need to let it out or I’ll explode.

Life is crazy busy right now. Get up at 6-6:30. Give Anna her milk, make tea for R and I, drink tea, straighten the bed, straighten the house, supervise the maid, have a bath, play with Anna while R bathes and dresses and has breakfast and leaves (around 7:50), bathe Anna, get dressed while she is splashing in the bathroom, get her dressed, have breakfast, try to give Anna her breakfast and mostly give up and leave it to her babysitter, leave at 8:30 once baby-sitter has arrived (sometimes Anna cries, sometimes she doesn’t), reach office, work, work, work, leave around 5:30, reach home by 5:45, baby-sitter leaves by 6, play with Anna, give Anna her dinner, brush teeth, change clothes, R is back (around 7:15), he plays with Anna for sometime, take Anna to bed (around 7:45), lie in the dark for anything between 15 minutes to 45 minutes, have dinner and then work, work, work, sleep by 11 – 11:30. Rinse repeat.

To add to this I often have to attend calls in the evenings. I don’t mind the post 9pm ones since Anna is in bed, but I have at least one call a week in the evening at 6:30. I hate those calls. I hate plugging in my earphones and half listening to the call and half playing with Anna. I hate anything encroaching on my time with Anna. I hate this whole corporate structure in India but that is fodder for another post.

It’s good to be busy but there are parts of it that really bother me. 1) I don’t spend enough time with Anna. Now truly speaking, the amount of work I have in office doesn’t affect my time with Anna since I finish my work after she’s slept. But I do feel it affects the quality of that time since I’m so much more tired and stressed out. This feeling is intensified when she’s sniffling in the morning that she doesn’t want to go to school, that she doesn’t want ‘Basanti Aunty’, that Mumma should not go to office. 2) I get no time for myself. Even writing this blog post is using time in which I should be working. I have not read a book in weeks. I have not gone to the parlour for weeks.

I know I don’t want to quit my job. I have been recently promoted, the money is very good, the work is good, I know I can’t be happy at home all the time. I just wish I was better at maintaining the balance between not working at all and working like a donkey. I always feel that since I take a full person’s salary I should not hold my child as an excuse to work less – even though I work more than the bachelors in my team.

To make matters worse I am traveling to US for one week on Saturday. I will be back next Monday. When the trip came up I initially dismissed it. Then after a lot of counseling from my manager (who is also a woman and has 2 kids) I started considering it, talked to R about it. It’s a great opportunity work-wise, I will get to meet senior people in the team and it’s only one week. That’s how I convinced myself. R’s mother is coming here tomorrow to help out when I’m not here. On one level I know it’ll mostly be okay. R will be here, her baby-sitter will be here and Anna is very fond of her, R’s mother will be here. Anna was perfectly fine for the one day I had gone to Chennai for the visa interview – that was the first time I left her overnight.

Still I feel like crying every time I think of going. My little baby, how will I ever survive one week without her? How will she rationalize the fact that Mumma is not here, will she think I’ve left her, will she cry for me? What if she ignores me once I’m back?

I’m torn. Not just for the trip but for this whole working mother thing in general. Will I regret when I’m dying not having spent more time with Anna, will I regret having wasted my precious hours and days and years on ‘work’ – something which will have no meaning when I’m old? On the flip side – will I be happy at home full-time, will I get bored and resent R and Anna, what about once Anna is older and has her own life, my field of work has no free-lancing and it’s difficult to get back once you’re out, what about money, what will it mean to us to have our income cut by half, what it will mean to me to not bring in money? There are so many questions and I have no answers. And so we go 0n, changing nothing, hoping and praying that everything will be alright, that there will be no bitter regrets later.

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About anna's mom

First time mom to my lovely little Anna. Mostly swinging between exhaustion and exhilaration. Avid reader, feminist, and out of words at the moment No longer a first time mom. Now mom to my darling babies - Anna and Niki. Still exhausted, still exhilarated,
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6 Responses to Why I feel that my heart is breaking.

  1. Titaxy says:

    hugs. i understand how hard it can be, but im sure you’ll be fine. happy travel! 🙂

  2. Tight hugs Anna’s Mom, we all go through these thoughts, but trust me you need your life other than being a mom, Anna will be going to school pretty soon and she will start to have her own world of friends, don’t think about quitting job.

    Regarding work life balance , its every where the same case, I am on phone as soon as I wake up(calls from offshore) and I have meetings from 9 and it can go up to 12. With team spread across world everyone is expected to work around the clock. I don’t think changing job would help either, its very difficult to find a 8 to 5 job now a days.

    Its matter of 1 week, it will go pretty fast, besides Anna is with her dad and grandma, everything will be alright. I happened to leave Chucky with her grand parents as I had to work from Hyderabad for couple of weeks. She was absolutely fine. I went through similar roller coaster feelings, trust me you and Anna will be fine. Which part of US you are traveling to? Let me know if you are coming nearby my city.

  3. Sangitha says:

    Super late here but any thoughts on how you feel about this now? Worth going? A ‘growing up’ for everyone? My solution has been to make work something that also gives meaning to my life. So compromise was on money, we’ll save up more for the good stuff, but so far that has worked. Personal choice only, wish it was more generalizable. Would love to read where you got to on this and how. Love your writing and its honesty. 😀

    Hugs!

    • anna's mom says:

      Thanks :). Yes, it was a good trip and as you said ‘growing up for everyone’ specially for R and I. His confidence in handling Anna now is amazing. I also feel less stressed and always on call because I know that he can do it as well as I can.
      My problem is that 1) This is the work I know and I really don’t have the imagination/risk taking mentality to quit this and start something new. 2) I never know how to say no and dial back – I fall for the management’s sweet talk every time and put in my best even though on a deep level I know it doesn’t matter. 3) I have an all or nothing type of personality – I don’t want to not work but when I work I want to put in my all and never let someone say that she has a kid at home so…. 4) Money – R earns really well but again our aspirations have gone up and so have the costs and I earn only marginally less than him. So my quitting means our income is halved. 5) I have worked really hard to get here and I want Anna to grow up with a working mom. 6) There is this stupid quote stuck in my head – ‘Winners never quit and quitters never win’. But all this is balanced out by just one of Anna’s cries when I leave her in the morning.
      So we’re muddling along somehow. R has really helped me with this by upping the amount he does for Anna and at home – something he never had to do in the first year since either his mom or mine were here.

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