There are multiple posts in the last 2 weeks, and that's quite a favorable change from my regular disappearing act. Let's hope the trend continues... Just like throughout the year Amazon, Jabong, Flipkart, and Firstcry online sales.
(No, that's not a resolution. Resolutions are made to be broken. No point keeping one.)
Umbilical cord guilt.
That's a term I picked up at a session that my company had arranged for women employees.
While the trainer far from impressed me (professional hazards of being a trainer and self-proclaimed evaluator/critic), I did find myself agreeing with this concept.
Simply put, it is the state of wanting to do everything, doing most of it, and yet feeling inadequate and miserable because you do not think you are doing satisfactorily for your progeny, and blaming yourself silly for one simple thing that you missed or did slightly below excellent. No matter what or how much you do, you believe you have failed. You stumble under that guilt, and over-compensate in all possible (and sometimes impossible ways) trying to prove yourself superwoman... or rather supermom.
Every little thing you do for yourself weighs upon your self-esteem and ego, and you blame yourself for every moment of personal joy, peace and freedom away from the little one, who you have probably entrusted to a very caring grandparent or a reliable daycare.
True, you gave birth to that beautiful creature. True, you want to give him/her the world. True, you want him/her to have a happy childhood and set them up for a life of success and joy.
But at what cost? At the cost of being stressed and rushed, day in-day out, yourself?
It's not a temporary phase, as we moms keep telling ourselves. It will always be that way. When the child is a few months old, you are led to believe that things will get better as he/she grows. You are reminded of the same "fact" when the kid is one. Then you keep fooling yourself by setting new milestones like when the child goes to school, college, and enters matrimony.
The truth is, the child is independent sooner than you assume, and is very well able to take care of him/her self and his/her needs. I mean, I look at my son like he is a frail, dainty being, and I warn myself that he needs me all the time and I better be available and up to the mark. And then I watch him stupefied as he gallops around the house or park, mingling with other children and adults, communicating in his baby and body language, and getting his tasks done. If he is hungry, he manages to get some food by gesturing, and if he wants to play, he ensures that his toys and games are acquired. So really, what is it that I am feeling guilty about?
I would like to say that I understand work-life balance, and I do a fairly good job of implementing it in my life. I work smart and I get good ratings, and I also do the things I love in my free time (rare, but there). I socialize with my friends and family, I read books and watch a few sensible shows, I squeeze in a movie or visit the mall with the husband, and I find the time to dish up some delicacies over the weekend.
All in all, I don't count as a workaholic or idler, though of course there are others that are way more talented and living it up in salute-worthy ways.
The point being, are you blowing up your self importance and exaggerating your existence as indispensable to someone or something?
(And that question goes out to all of you, men and women alike, parents or bachelors or whoever you may be.)
Trust me, the world will go on with or without you. So, don't wait until you are ready to die to start living.
(Wow, what a paradox!)
My mom is a living example of this brilliant gyaan. She is putting to action all her zest for life and bringing to fruition all her passions that include religion, traveling, socializing, cooking and the works. I and my brother do bound her at times by unleashing our kids on her, but she loves us all and the grandkids are her jewels, so she doesn't complain. People always have an opinion on everything, and that does bend her will to enjoy life a bit, but I am ready to pump her back to activity whenever this happens. Critics are folks who did nothing amazing themselves and want everybody else to be miserable as well. She is my strength and ideal, that wonderful woman. I could never be her, and I can never stop loving and admiring her. And I have made it my personal goal to ensure that she gets to do all that she likes.
My dad and husband, on the other hand, keep cribbing that they are unable to accomplish anything, and plan all their goals for a later time (which even God wouldn't know when it would come). Hubs thinks Vodafone will probably crumble to bits if he spends less than 540 minutes at work and Dad cannot leave the city even for a day as if he is the lifeline of Pune.
They're good men, these two chaps. Yet, I wonder if they wouldn't be able to strike a better balance within themselves if only they loosened up a little.
Hey, I ought to be talking about myself than preaching for others.
Yes, I need to loosen up, too. The house needn't be spotless every single day. It's okay if the clothes are unwashed or not ironed this week. Bedsheets unfolded and messy drawers are a sign of life, and it's all right if we order food from outside once in a while rather than me bending over in all directions to roast a roti as my bub screeches down the hallway. I love my spouse, and if I do one thing less for him or stop worrying about him, it is not going to impact his well-being. He is an adult and can very well take care of himself.
Just like it's fine to pamper Aarush once in a while, it is cool to pamper myself now and then. A massage, some quiet time with a book and coffee, a quick tea break with the office buddies, and a snack that doesn't qualify as healthy - no harm done.
Obviously, unless we go overboard.
Let go of the guilt, dear folks. Stop being so responsible for everything. You won't remember the days when everything was perfect. You'll marvel at the days when you did something out of the blue and felt pleased. Life won't happen as you plan it, who knows what the future holds in store? Start living. NOW.
And those of you who live each day as it comes, that's called taking it too far. You might want to step back and see how you can be more effective :-)
Different strokes for different folks!
Best wishes as we start the new year - make this one memorable! Do something that you haven't done before, or something that you haven't done in a long time. Go out and create something, get started on your goals, one step at a time.
Just do it.