Have you quit work to sit at home and be a mom? Namrata Vora did. And she doesn't regret it for an instant. What does she learn from being a stay at home mom? She recounts her experience here.
Have you quit work to sit at home and be a mom? Namrata Vora did. And she doesn't regret it for an instant!
'So you've given up everything? Just sacking out at home now?'
I used to react rather violently to this question but now I guess I've mellowed down. I just smile and think something along the lines of 'Forgive him Father, for he knows not what he says...'
Four years ago, armed with a degree each from an IIT and an IIM, I had dreams of reaching the top of the corporate ladder. Life was a fairytale - I married my college sweetheart and we had the breezy life that couples with double incomes and no kids do. Till one fine day my doc gave the verdict - I was going to be a mom! It was a bolt from the blue, completely
unexpected. I had my share of the usual pregnancy problems, so much that I had to give up my job in a management consultancy since the travel schedules were too hectic for a would-be mom. I quit, vowing to return once the baby arrived.
Little did I know what was to come - my hubby got an offer based in London, and after a lot of deliberation we decided to take it up. That's how we landed in London, our 4 month-old bundle of joy in my arms. His job requires him to travel almost 15 days in a month, which leaves me with the kid, home alone. No cooks here, no hired help. Add to that, my inexperience in matters of babies and running a home - having spent half my life in hostels... Not easy!
More than a year since, I got a top grade in the 'annual performance appraisal'. After her routine check-up yesterday, the pediatrician said my 18-month old was doing phenomenally well. She was as sound as a child can be - mentally, physically and emotionally.
Motherhood is hard work. The primary qualifications required are infinite patience and oodles of stamina. There's no cash compensation, no leaves, no glamorous designation - you're 'just' a mom. Nobody gives you an appraisal sheet with things like 'exceptional problem-solving skills - deserves promotion' written on it. Sure, it was a tough decision to put my career on the back burner and take up the challenge of parenting. But I simply couldn't get myself to trust day-care with my treasure. Do I regret it? The answer is a resounding NO!
Giving and receiving unconditional love is something that cannot be put into words. I have grown so much as a person, along with my baby. My planning, time-management, crisis-management abilities, creativity and much more - all of 'valued skill-set' in a corporate scenario, have improved dramatically. My 'boss' gives me instant feedback - if she's happy, there's a huge big hug; if she's hungry/sleepy/bored, she lets me know so in no uncertain terms. The confidence I had in my abilities has shot through the roof, having helped a tiny baby grow into an energetic toddler. Oh, the joy I got from watching her first attempts to crawl, stand, walk... I remember I had called up my hubby who was fast asleep in Hong Kong when she took her first steps. If I bump into a woman with a kid about the size of mine, and especially if she's a desi, we become instant pals; this way I make acquaintances at the rate of 3 a week, some of whom will be friends for life. I take my kid to baby music sessions, we go together to the zoo, to the park to feed the ducks, or just for long walks with no particular destination. Going to the local supermarket is a big adventure, it takes us two hours to do what would normally take me less than 20 minutes. I have all the time in the world for her and so go along at her pace - she stops on the way to watch leaves flying in the wind, inspect ants in a hole on the pavement, stare at people getting on and off the bus, grin back at grannies who stop and smile at her indulgently. We go to the 'libaby' together - she chooses her books herself, of course! She chatters non-stop all the time she's awake - even invents 'shorees' like that of a donkey and a lion who met each other in the forest and said 'Good Morning' to each other!
Our lives have changed, in more ways than I had imagined possible. Simple things like lazing around till mid-morning on Saturdays are out of the question now; baby has to be fed her breakfast on time. Her tummy doesn't understand the difference between weekdays and weekends. We can no longer rush off at a moment's notice to catch the latest movie or play or go for walks in the rain. It takes pre-planning to venture out with a toddler.
And what about my hubby? Well, he stood next to me holding my hand throughout my labour (the best pain relief there can be), he changed the baby's nappies at night so that I could catch up on my sleep, told me how much he envied me because I got to spend all my time with our child, how much he admired my efforts. Yes, my relationship with him has changed - we've become better friends now.
True, when I get back to work (the paid type) in a few years, I would be several rungs behind my batch mates. But the countless moments of pure happiness that I shared with my li'l one are something I wouldn't trade for anything.
It's not a sacrifice; it's a privilege to be a parent.