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.