As I try to make BabyA sleep (which always proves to be the hardest task of the day), she’s at her chattiest best! Maybe she feels like it’s the one time that I can’t multi-task in that pitch darkness and she, finally, has my undivided attention. She turns to me and says, “Mamma, you had to go for work outside today?” and she repeats herself in the most innocent tone, that stabs at my heart and fills me with guilt.
Mommy guilt! The perennial, life-lasting mommy guilt. It becomes our shadow the moment we deliver a newborn. The funny thing is that I’m an SAHM (Stay at home mom), so I don’t “work outside” (to quote BabyA) but those words pierce through me when she says it like that.
Yes- I have been leaving her a little more, of late, but always under the supervision of either grandmom and her maid. And it has only been for 2-3 hours in a day to do my “work” which basically means to run errands and possibly spend sometime un-mummifying myself (pun intended), because with the way I look on most days (out of shape, hair plastered to my forehead and the nape of my neck due to pesky perspiration problems, wearing tracks so I look like I’m going to, or coming from a workout, which I’m usually not), I better work on transforming myself so that my single friends still recognize me as the fun person they used to know.
So, as I try to snap out of the Mommy Guilt haze (and BabyA hoped that at least in the dark, I couldn’t multi-task and she had me to herself!) and give myself some perspective on what a great mom I am, I see her: The street lamp light (we don’t really get any moonlight in Mumbai, although it would have been more poetic to have written of that) pours in through the window and I see her, tickling her nose with the furry tail of her Hanuman stuffed toy, looking pensive. I ask, “A- what are you thinking about?”, sure that she is still upset about my child abandonment stint in the day.
“About sheep Mamma! Sheep and Halloween Pumpkins!” she replies, still deep in thought.
Of course you were! Silly me- thinking that you were picturing mommy witches, all wearing masks with my face on them!
Mommy guilt is inescapable! I need to calm down and relieve myself of it. After all, I’m doing the best job I know how to do, and I’m sure BabyA will be able to see that… eventually, if not always.
In any case, kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for: no matter what makes them momentarily sad, they always bounce back (much like when you drop them on the floor, and they usually bounce right back……. Not that I ever did that! Just sayin’…)