Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Fish Out of Water

It's time to come clean. It's taken some time for me to admit this, even to myself, but I am starting to wonder if I am cut out for this stay-at-home mom business.

As a working mom, I felt stretched and exhausted and I envied women who didn't have to juggle motherhood and a career. I thought choosing to do just one - staying at home with the kids - would be easier in comparison. I thought I would finally be rid of the guilt monster, discover heretofore hidden founts of patience, have more time to read, and be rewarded with more content, secure and well-behaved kids. In a nutshell, I thought we would all be happier. It turns out I was wrong - we aren't.

On most days, everything just seems almost unbearably intense. Ayaan has always been a demanding child, trying to soak up every bit of the time and attention that I had to give and even that I didn't. I never minded all that much before because I was spending a fair amount of time away from him so I thought it was only normal that he would want his pound of flesh when I was around. I really expected a big change on this front once I quit my job. I thought he would become more secure and independent, but that has not happened. Add Tarana and her acute separation anxiety to the mix and it's mama-time all the freaking time! Despite the fact that there are two maids in the house at any given point of time, they both seem to want to hang out mostly with me.

A prime example of their clinginess is what happens every time I try to leave the house. Tarana has a screaming meltdown and Ayaan pelts me with questions about where I am going, why I need to go, when I will be back and why he can't come with me (in a tone that gets increasingly more whiny). I mean, for goodness sake, is it too much to ask that I can slip out for a short trip to the grocery store or the salon without facing a mini Spanish Inquisition at home?

I wrote a proud post about Ayaan's geekiness recently but on an everyday basis, it just translates into a LOT of questions. And towards the end of the day, it takes all my resolve to keep from snapping at him when he asks me what seems like his millionth question. And it's not just questions about the world around him but his need for a detailed reasoning for everything he asked to do. It just drives me crazy.

And the guilt? It never goes away. These days, I feel totally awful about my lack of patience. On most days, I spend a good part of my time with the kids nagging, scolding, yelling and even smacking. I go to bed feeling like an awful mother every single night. I resolve to be a more patient, loving parent the next day - a resolve that rarely lasts more than an hour on most days and I am back to being cranky, with my temper on a hair-trigger.

The last month has been especially hard since Ayaan has been home all day long and since he doesn't nap any more, and barring a few classes he goes for, that is 14 very long hours. I don't know whether it's his latent insecurities about the upcoming move, boredom, the fact that he misses his dad or a reaction to my crankiness, but he has been supremely high maintenance. A simple request to come for breakfast can become the cause of a major mutiny and the rest of the day just goes downhill from there.

Honestly, I didn't expect it to be this hard. I had this very utopian ideal of what my stint as a stay-at-home mom would be like. I thought life would be easier, more relaxed and more fulfilling. It has been anything but. I rarely get any time to myself, read fewer books in an average month than I did when I was working and can't even go to the loo without an entourage. It doesn't help that Jai is not here during the week. I am lot calmer and happier on the weekends when he is here but being the only go-to person for the kids five days a week, every week gets really stressful for me.

At the risk of sounding boastful, I have to say that I was a successful working mom. The four years I worked after Ayaan was born were good years. Sure, it was tiring and complicated. And yes, I was more impatient than I would have liked even back then. But overall, I have to say I rocked the working mom scene. I did well at my job, my home ran smoothly and Ayaan was a happy child (high-maintenance but happy). As a housewife, I don't quite cut it. I have nothing to show for my efforts but a messy house, meals entirely cooked by the maid and bratty kids.

Honestly, the fact that I feel this way makes me feel like a bit of a failure. I mean, come on, what kind of mother does it make me if the primary reason I think of going back to work is not professional ambition or financial need but to put some time and distance between me and my kids??! Go ahead. Say it. It makes me a bad mother. It won't be any worse than the names I have been calling myself in my head.

And now, big changes. We move to Hyderabad. New city. New school. No friends. No maids. I am terrified. I am giving it another six months. I hope by then, life will settle down and I will find a reliable maid. And if I am still feeling like I do right now, I am packing my lunch box and going right back to work. I think it will be best for me AND for the kids. That 'the best mother is a happy mother' cliche is right on the money.

55 comments:

  1. When I was going through the dilemma of whether to work or quit, one of the mothers told me: "A happy mother makes a happy home. If you are not happy being a SAHM, there is no way your kids will be happy." I am glad I am still working.

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  2. Big big hug ro.

    Now that you have vented, take a deep breath, tell yourself that this is a normal part of the mommy job profile, and get back to relishing your comeback lines, the kids' geekiness, and all else.

    About the happy mother line- its so true that you can bet big bucks on it.

    Just let this huge shift be over and done with, once things have settled you will know what you feel like doing- going back to work, staying at home for a bit.

    psssst, whatever you do, some guilt will be yapping away at your heels. Do what I do, snarl back and get a good night's sleep.

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  3. Long time lurker. But this post hit me straight at the heart!

    I have to take the decision myself in a month's time and this is exactly what i am thinking. I need some me time, where i can be calm and relaxed else I become very restless. This just does not seem to happen at home.

    May be once school starts, things will get easier.

    But if you think you rocked as working mom with one kid, you can do the same with two kids. So, there is always a fallback plan.

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  4. Rohini - I like your posts and can relate to them. Would like to get to know you better.
    Also a working mom
    Priyanka

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  5. Hey Rohini, relax and take a deep breath.

    I am a SAHM by choice, I totally enjoy being home. I do go through pangs of wanting to go back to work, but I dont think I am capable of handling both home and work with as much focus as I did before.

    But your frustrations and feeling like a failure, is something that I go through quite often, so we are normal. Thank god for that!

    You are going through a move, partner being away most part of the week, a 6yr old intelligent boy at home all the time, (as I am typing here, mine is trying to play a 'identify the model of the cars parked on the opposite side of the road' game!, and of course got yelled at for not letting me focus), anxiety of moving to a new place..... it's ok to show your kids that you are feeling edgy!

    You should have the 'go back to work' plan open all the time.... it makes a lot of difference when your efforts are quantified in the form of appreciations, appraisals, hikes, bonuses, promotions....

    (I just told my 2.5yr old to do some coloring instead of trying to show mamma cartwheels, mamma see, mamma see, mamma see..... grrr!!!)

    Take care and have fun, you will miss them hovering around you and irritating you when they go to full day school. Wanting 'ME' time is definitely reasonable.

    You are a great mom, and they will make you feel that way very soon! Don't be so hard on yourself, you are doing a lovely job......... read your blogs as an outsider and you will know what I mean!

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  6. Hugs Ro! Big tight ones!

    I tried being a SAHM for 2 yrs when we moved.

    The first year just passed by with the relocation, immunity catch up for all 4 of us, re-establishing the home and the reconnecting with the family part.

    The 2nd year though was exactly what you have described + more because I had my husband around to blame for the overwork, clinginess . I threw a tantrum a week in front of him and the poor soul that he is, he deduced that my bitchiness was because I was not working (I didn't figure it out till I started working again)

    So I know exactly what you are going thru. The point of my comment is to say to you that what you are going thru is quite natural and do not be too harsh on yourself.

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  7. I hear you completely. It's tough to be a SAHM with one or more kids. They have you all day so they want you all day. They still feel your world is centered around them. I do lose my temper more times than I wished coz my son is bugging me for attention. It's completely OK to feel the need to get away from them-if you think a job will do the trick then job it is. No need for the guilt. And truly, a happy mother is a happy family. Hang in there, be done with your shifting and then see what needs to be done. And this does not and will not make you a bad mother.

    !Hugs!

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  8. Awwww.hon, please stop calling yourself names! This much pressure is enough to make anyone lose it. And everyone needs a break regularly from demanding kids. Husbands get it for at least 9 hours a day, and here you are holding the fort for weeks and months on your own.

    This is going to be get a bit tougher once the city and home changes, and no maids...aaaargh, but at least hopefully Jai will be more around then to take some of the demands off you?

    Please visualise yourself finding an excellent helper as soon as you move, and she will appear.

    And it gets better as they get older. We are having such a fun vacation this time, the kids play together so well now, their bickering seems to be a thing of the past. Some phases just have to be waited thru'...and suffered thru', unfortunately. Any chance your mom can come n give you a break?

    And start planning and thinking abt that job, you will get back eventually.

    P.S. I can relate to that going to bed feeling like the most awful mom in the world, but we've all been there and will continue revisiting those phases...because this job description is one of the most impossible in the world!

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  9. Anonymous4:29 pm

    don't be so hard on yourself rohini.. not having hubby around makes it much harder on you. and ayaan will get older and less clingy as will tarana..cheer up

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  10. - We hear thee Blessed mom :)
    - Hugssssss
    - Tell you what, you have every reason to whine and feel guilty darling...am sure it feels good after u've voiced out and read all the above comments...right?
    - Am sure every single mom is with you...working or not.
    - Remedies?
    - Hols - write more blogs about how u hate it.:)
    - Shifting - Good luck.
    - To work or not to - Get settled at hyd and then decide since having J with u should be good (if he's helpful that is )
    - Guilt - Welcome to the gang :D

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  11. Anonymous7:03 pm

    You're normal - and hopefully feel better, having vented. I posted this on a long-ago post of yours - I prefer working to being a SAHM as well - the happy-mom-happy-home thing is very true in my case. IME, it takes a certain personality to deal with constant interaction with kids - my husband has it - it doesn't bother him one bit to have a million questions thrown at him, it grates on my nerves in about 10 mins!

    M

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  12. Hey you have a lot on your plate compared to earlier - one kid plus other parent around plus good support system plus no upcoming huge changes.
    And SAHMing is no cakewalk. If WOHMing makes you happier then so be it!

    Everything with two kids is more than 1+1. it is >2 effort and also >2 fun (mine are older now and this is true really!)

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  13. Hugs ro! It's not easy being either one. Sahm wahm? All of it sucks! I have a piece of advise. You cannot feel guilty abt having me time when you are a wahm. So many women I know feel bad abt leaving the kids and doing something fun! Don't!

    I know I wasn't cut out to be a working mom when I tried working the 2 days and failed miserably. I do rock at being sahm though. I am sure part of your misery is being alone. Little kids suck a lot out of one's soul.

    Agree with chox. It does get easier as they grow older and able to play together.good luck with move.

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  14. Anonymous9:16 pm

    Hey Rohini,

    I have been a lurker on your blog for almost a year now. I have a 4.5 month old and I started working when she was a week shy of 3 months. My mom takes care of her while I am @ work but it is heartbreaking every single morning to leave her and come to an impersonal office cube. This is a new job for me, I was working in a different city away from my husband when I was pregnant and was simply thrilled when I cracked the interview for this job while I was pregnant. I did not realize then how hard it was going to be. I went through many transitions – my last job allowed me the flexibility of working@ home. The new one doesn’t. My baby transitioned from being an exclusively breastfed baby to one that does take the bottle of expressed breast milk while I am @ work. It took some time though to coax her to take the bottle. I miss being away from her. I think of her all the time. I will soon complete 2 months at this job. I like my job profile, my boss, my work load is manageable but I MISS MY BABY. There is no household help available since we are in the USA. My mom manages everything on the home front on her own. She is used to having an army of servants back in India so it is hard for her. All this makes me question is it worth it? Although there is no good answer to this question, my personal choice would be to continue to work, in spite of the heartbreaking separation every morning. My company even has a daycare on site and I visited it yesterday and my heart went out to the kids there. It seemed so impersonal. Strangely, before I had my baby I always advocated that moms should work outside the home. I still believe strongly in the work outside home mom concept but my heart tells a different tale. Fathers love their offspring but can compartmentalize their love better and not feel the pang when they go to work. Each day I ask myself is it worth it?

    So don’t worry you are not alone. We all go through these pangs whichever side of the fence we are on.

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  15. I have had plenty of female colleagues with young children telling me how much they loved being at work since they could get some respite from the incessant noise back home. It seems a very reasonable thing to want some space to yourself and if work is the solution, that can't be too bad can it!

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  16. I can't stay about the SAHM but...I know when I quit work to sit at home for a while post marriage.. in sometime that itself got to me... and getting back to work made me so much more happier though made my life more complicated.

    Now I will be soon starting the SAHM route... and lets see what happens..

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  17. Dear Rohini,

    First - Biiig Hug!! You are going through so many big changes with the whole SAHM shift and the city move coming around at the same time.

    Ayaan sounds a lot like my daughter - bright and wonderful retainers of information, but oh so difficult to handle when you are not in the mood to answer questions! I think it'll make a big difference once the school term starts and he spends more time away from home, plus he'll be more tired out from school and other activities!! Also in a few months, both kids will have more common ground and will play more together - and believe me, you'll learn to tune out the small shrieks and disagreements which they'll soon be sorting out themselves :).

    Hang in there, I'm sure the 6 months you've decided on will make a big difference to the situation.

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  18. Your life hasn't been that of a 'normal' SAHM in the past several months. Let the big move get over, things are bound to settle down for you and the family, and you'll know what you really want to do. And follow Sur's advice, it rocks:)
    Do remember, you are doing the very best you can in rather tough circumstances. Chin up, and stop beating yourself up, Ro.

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  19. Hi

    I am WOHM and i feel the exactly the same way you do.

    I promise myself not to lose my temper with my 5 y.o girl daily, but some days are only whining, clinging, smacking, hitting, shouting and all, while some days are smooth and trouble free, i literally have to check if shes at home or no :). her summer vacation has been a long one 4 months as we changed schools (earlier school had new year starting in feb). despite all her classes n playin with frnds, she still feels bored and wants me to play with her all time. my work schedule has gone haywire as she eats into my work timings. i dont have the option of working full time as in-laws find it diff to managed my hyperactive girl all day long :)

    hang in there... this shall pass soon... that is what i keep telling myself. On second thoughts i feel like taking a break from work from home to see if things would be any different... should i or should i not...

    i wish 'happy mom = happy home' for every mom in the world

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  20. Anonymous11:55 pm

    HI,
    Am a regular reader but dont comment often. But dont feel bad about the situation....all of us go thru this.

    Like you said I cannot imagine staying at home the full day. I work 8 hrs day with 15 mins commute one way here in the US. So it is not that bad.

    My kids go to PlaySchool/Daycare and are thriving. And overall we are all tuned to this and are happy. They get sick often with the daycare situation but now my hubby and I cope with without getting too stressed out. It is all part of growing up.

    Take care and do what best suits you. Good luck..

    And I am a Hyderbadi and love the city. It is very very different from how Bombay is but you will start liking it slowly...

    -Anamika

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  21. Oh ..u r being too hard on urself Ro! Big big changes have happened and are going to happen for u as well as the kids! Give them time and give urself time. If u want to work again, so be it! It doesn't make u a bad mom at all! Till the time u r home, remember EACH ONE of us yell at our kids ..I do that a lot but then thats who I am - not very high on patience - and the kids learn to live with it - they don't like it then (may be, who knows - may be they don't care abt the whining yelling mammma) but then we laugh a lot, spend some nice unstressed cuddly moments doing everyday things which make up for the nastiness earlier.
    And yes let me tell u ..let them grow a little bit more when they start fighting less and playing more together and demanding less of u physically ..it will be a pleasure. I speak from my own experiences. Hang in there. Lots of love and hugs.

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  22. Ro! Just read this post. I am so surprised to see you being so hard on yourself. Why?! It is obvious that two very young kids, especially when their father is out five days a week are going to sap the energy out of the one parent who is home with them. Why are you feeling guilty about it?! And I can totally believe that someone like you who has worked in a high powered job and earning really well - now having to constantly manage kids - it will drive you crazy. It is natural I think. There is no need to be so hard on yourself. Can't you try to get a part-time job? So you get some time with the kids but not all the time? Different things work out for different people. You will surely find friends very soon at your new place and you will find your path there...and surely it will get easier also when the kids get older. Power point Ro is not allowed to feel bad about herself! :))

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  23. Hugs Ro! A big bear hug! I can so relate every single thing! you know i dont whine a lot to my family coz they would immediately jump on the quit-your-job-stay-at-home bandwagon! but i prefer this insanity over the sanity i think i may have if i stay at home! I am a happy mother when I tackle multiple things !

    Hugs dear! this post means a lot to you and me! :)

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  24. Oh Come on Ro..you cant be so hard on yourself...let me be honest with you, I am still working, yes I need the money, but also because I think I am not cut out to be a SAHM. RD was out to Aus and R and I spent the Gudi Padwa weekend (3 days) at home, and trust me it was the toughest thing ever. R is as clingy as Aayan ^ 2, and I really had to try really really hard not to spank her. And with two kids I can totally understand how difficult it is...dont be so hard on yourself..like my mom says 'being a SAHM is one of the most difficult jobs on earth' :)

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  25. manisha khosla10:23 am

    After 2 years of being a SAHM, I must confess that I am enjoying being back at work. In fact I am willing to spend more hours in office than what I had initially committed to under the flexi-plan simply because I don't think I can be totally happy doing kid-related activities. Yes it helps that Dhruv is perhaps not as demanding as some other kids and that I have an M-i-L who pitches in on a need basis--but all in all even if this was not the case I think I am in a happier space since office started. And the guilt makes me a lot more patient with him.

    So don't berate yourself, I have seen you at close quarters these last few years, and I don't think I could have done half of what you have and continue to. Love and Hugs

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  26. long time lurker. but had to comment this time. i know i can't even imagine what you must be going through but maybe it will help to know that others in even easier situations feel the same. i always wanted a baby. when i was pregnant i envisioned my maternity leave to be a time of fun and family and relaxation. needless to say it was the worst time of my life. anna is not high maintenance. she sleeps well and is hopefully a few months away from tantrums. luckily till now my mom and mom-in-law are taking turns staying with us to look after anna when i'm at work. even still i find myself feeling snappy and impatient more often than not. and i really look forward to going to office most days to just get some time to myself. compared to me you're super mom. hugs and hope you feel better about yourself soon.

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  27. blinkandmiss11:16 am

    Hugs, Rohini!

    First of all there is nothing wrong in saying that you want to get out of the house, just because you need a break from kids! I'd say even if you don't plan to start working full time again, it is still a good idea to join a hobby class you've always wanted to take or a couple of hours at an NGO, etc. This serves two purposes - 1. it gives you a break and you do some good "me" time 2. the kids know that for that short time they have to deal with playing by themselves/with the maid and without you.

    And please God, even people with no kids and no job don't manage to enter the kitchen. Just because Nigella makes it look easy and sexy, doesn't mean every SAHM has to cook and swab and take care of the children. :p


    Since your husband has been travelling, not only are you the only person responsible for providing them with love and care, but also playing the disciplinarian, 24x7.

    And then there is the upcoming move, prepping Ayaan for the school interviews and what not! I don't think I could put my points very well, but in short I think you are doing good - just kick the guilt away!

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  28. blinkandmiss11:36 am

    Oh and forgot to add that at work there are set processes to measure one's "performance".

    But at home, of course there are the smiles and the hugs and love in the eyes of the children, but validation is hard to come by. If you hear anything at all, it is most likely to be criticism.

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  29. Hi Rohini,
    You have written all that I was scared even to admit it. I was a working mom, and a little impatient,I have a 4 year old daughter and 10 month old son. After my first one, I went back to work after a year and again quit after my son was born. This time I thought I will be @ home, and enjoy my kids. Since money was not an issue. but sadly I ended up more stressed. And by the end of the day, I had screamed at my daughter more,got irritated with my son, It was just not right. So I am getting back to work now. I feel I am much more a better person, when I am working. So with the daycare and maid, I am reporting back to work . I acknowledge that I am a very bad , ill tempered SAHM. For the sake of mine and my kid's happiness, I need to get back to work. So i am glad that I am not alone. A big hug to you.

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  30. Just to add my bit.. get back to work if you feel you function best that way. But what you decribed happens to a lot of SAHMs too. I try to fit in one activity with the kids after which they are happy to be left alone. Something else might work for you.. you just need to find iwhat that is. or else there's always work. Relax and enjoy... and stop feeling guilty.

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  31. Hey Rohini,
    Why so hard on yourself? When even 2 days over the weekend with 1 whiny,clingy kid takes away all my patience - I can well imagine how hard it must be for you - especially with your husband away, its only youthe kids have to cling to. Im sure once you move and your hubby will be around more, ofcourse you will get a maid as well - things will be a lot more pleasant. Chill!!

    And the best thing about getting back to work - I feel that it is my breathing space, at the end of it Im ready to really spend sometime with the little one with a calmer mind that spending the whole day with him... My work is my breathing space where Im actually being myself than being just a mommy - just that space and people around to talk... (despite a bad work atmosphere!)

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  32. oh hugs dear.. With two and a half year old only child Ganesh, I never shy away from telling people that I get peace only when I am out of home for work. Trust me, there is guilt associated with that feeling as well.. But the schedule of kitchen in the morning (not too much though).. housekeeping and chopping after the child sleeps, Rest of mornings and entire evenings with Ganesh. I look forward to go to office when I get to go to bed finally. I do not have the luxury of being a SAHM at this point of time, but there are days when I too reconsider whether I really want to be home all the time when the time would permit.
    Another thing that works for me is a park visit every single morning and evening (how-much-ever-possible). The moment I am home, its the neverending household chores and the clingy child. Irrespective of husband present or not, Ganesh prefers my company only. So, I too cannot visit the bathroom alone in peace. I take bath and every visit to attend nature's call is with the child. I may sound lazy, but this decision is made after a lot of meltdowns and head bangings and cryings and whinings. One thing that helped me on this decision is the fact that this is encouraged in Japanese culture. This has also helped me in making Ganesh understand how he should use the potty.
    Now I remember and understand why my mother giving a stern look or completely ignoring me when I would ask the reason for her impromptu smile all by herself.
    Whatever it is. enjoy :)

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  33. A big hug and a heartfelt thank you to all of you who took the time to write such supportive comments. Honestly, I felt a lot better after just writing the post and getting all this stuff off my chest and the comments from you guys are like the proverbial icing on the cake.

    [Anamika] It’s great that you are happy with your choice. One of the reasons I took this break was to conclusively answer this for myself. And if I know SAHMing doesn’t work for me, I will hopefully feel less angst-y and guilt-ridden about being a working mom.

    [Sur] I take at least 20 deep breaths every day, not that it does much good. I still wind up losing my temper :| I like the idea of snarling back at the guilt monster though :)

    [Bindhu] Thanks for de-lurking. I do expect things to be better once school starts since the brat goes to first grade and the hours will be longer. All the best with deciding what’s best for you.

    [Priyanka] Hi Priyanka. Nice to meet you :)

    [Sai] The brackets in your post totally cracked me up. Story of my life. Can’t get ten minutes to myself without at least one interruption per child! Thanks though. It is reassuring to know that successful SAHMs like you too feel what I have been feeling.

    [AA_Mom] Yeah, my husband says the same thing. That being around the kids all day is making me cranky.

    [Uma] Thanks. So true what you say about them wanting you all day. Somehow, I expected that they would be more secure with my constant physical presence and therefore more self-sufficient, but apparently it doesn’t work that way :(

    [Starry] You give me hope. I am waiting for the day when they can keep each other entertained at least for a while without fighting. And yes, I am keeping all extremities crossed for the maid situation to get resolved as quickly and painlessly as can be expected.

    [Anon1] Thanks. Feeling much better now after the post and all the comments.

    [Gayatri] You said it. The ranting and the comments have really made me feel lighter. I should blog and talk about this stuff more, instead of keeping it all bottled up.

    [M] What you say about personality is so very true. I can’t handle an overdose of interaction with the kids either. And when I am at home, there seems to be no way to get some space short of locking myself away in a room.

    [Chox] Right now, the >2 effort is definitely true. I am waiting for the >2 fun to kick in.

    [Sraikh] Saying that you rock at being a SAHM is possibly the biggest understatement of the year! I should probably just quit whining and go hide somewhere.

    [Anon2] I know exactly what you are going through, having been on that side of the fence not too long ago. Why can’t there be one easy, obvious and right choice for each of us!!! You are really lucky to have your mom with you.

    [Anita] Seriously. I used to actually go into work when I was sick because it was more relaxing than staying at home!

    [Aathira] All the best. It might take you a while but I am sure you will figure out what works best for you and the baby.

    [Aparna] Thanks. Yes, I have all my hopes pinned on longer school hours and Jai being around at least some of the time.

    [Dipali] True. Definitely not normal. But many moms have it tougher for longer and yet handle it with far greater grace than I have :(

    [Batul] I so know what you mean. I have been trying my hand at some freelance writing too and it is so damned hard to find a few peaceful hours in which to work. Hope you figure out your scene on working from home soon.

    [Anamika] I love how confident you sound about your choices. Hats off to you! And thanks for the encouraging comments about Hyderabad – I am little tense about the move, not knowing much about the place.

    [Neera] These days the yell-y moments seems to outnumber the cuddly ones. Thanks for giving me hope :)

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  34. [Noon] Power point Ro? LOL! Yes, part-time is definitely an option. Let’s see what lies ahead.

    [IBH] Mine is the opposite. My mom doesn’t quite approve of this career break business :)

    [R’s Mom] So true, what your mom says. SAHMing looks so easy from a distance but down in the trenches, it is a bloody stressful business.

    [Manisha] Awww… thanks. I think what you have going is pretty ideal. Flexible work timing and MIL as back-up.

    [annastales] Maternity ‘leave’ is such a misnomer!

    [Blinkandmiss] The NGO option is something I am seriously considering once life is somewhat settled in Hyderabad. I know I don’t have to cook but with an average home (no fancy décor) and no mommy-cooked meals, I often feel I have nothing tangible to show for my SAHM efforts :)

    [Musica] Wow! Thanks for your comment. It feels good to know that someone went through the exact same thing. I am so glad it’s all worked out for you. Who knows, I might follow in your footsteps soon :)

    [Obsessivemom] Mine are NEVER happy to be left alone. I guess I need to figure out what works for them.

    [RS] Totally agree. I was much more committed and calmer in my time with Ayaan when I was working…

    [Meenakshy] You might be right about the potty training thing. Having watched me and her brother, Tarana is already asked to be put on the potty. I have been delaying it till we reach Hyderabad. And wow! You cook as well? Hats off to you.

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  35. hey...dont be so hard on urself. i have only one kid...but a very demanding one at that...and i can only imagine how it must be when the situation is x2.

    I've been a SAHM for the past 2 yrs since my son was born and am planning to get back to work soon. and you know what? i'm already fantasizing about the solo loo trips at the office :) everyday...especially at mealtimes...i resolve to be patient for 10 more minutes...and then 10 more minutes after that...but its is so HARD. and every day i wish i had more patience and knew how to avoid the tantrums and screaming session.

    all in all...i think its a just a difficult phase for you...with the kids at home all day and ur husband away. once ur settled in in hyd...am sure it'll get better.

    and hey...i live in hyd....so in case u need any help/ info...send me a mail. would love to help.

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  36. Its so easy to understand what you are feeling ...I am working I always tell everybody I am more relaxed in office than at home because at home my son will be totally after me even though his grandparents will be around him..he will simply refuse to go to anybody else ..so office time will be my work + chill time.
    So what you are doing is not a easy task..Now I am also quitting and bicoming SAHM I am feeling little scared about it myself !!

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  37. This too shall pass Rohini :) Live in the (mad) moment, as before we know it, the kids are out of the house and away all day - and then it will be time to go back to work (just when you thought you could put your feet up and relax!) My mum's advice? It only gets worse with time (she's a big help) - so (try) and enjoy them now. And in the meantime when things threaten to go out of control - write... and then some more :)

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  38. Super interesting

    I don't know much about parenting but I firmly beleive in this modern age women should not be and will not be confined to home, it only leads to more problems

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  39. What shall I say that everyone else hasn't said already? This too shall pass :)
    I think - once you move to a new place and after the initial transition period, if you are not working still, get a non-negotiable schedule in place for some 'me-time'. It is definitely more than insane otherwise. And wait for them to grow up!!!

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  40. It's all been said. I have nothing different to say. Being a SAHM is always easier when both the kids spend some time in school, and when the father is usually around and not just there on the weekends. So if at all you decide to go the SAHM way for an extended duration, things will definitely work out eventually. Right now, it all seems chaotic.

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  41. Big hug, Ro.

    You are being too hard on yourself. And hasty. See, no sooner had you left your job, that Jai upped and left for Hyderabad (or so it seems to me). Give yourself time once you settle down in Hyderabad. Once you and Jai are back together, see if your feeling son this matter change.

    Even if they don't, I don't think you have anything to be guilty or ashamed of. Frankly, my job is my escape to sanity as well. I empathized with every word you wrote in the post! My house is much better kept when I am working. More meals are homecooked and I am happier when I am working. I have tested that twice in the last 13 years. I don't feel guilty about it - what would that accomplish?

    Whatever you choose - staying at home or going back to work - don't EVER feel guilty about it. Your choice will be key in giving your kids a happy and contented mom. Hugs again.

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  42. Ro, you're one of the most ideal moms I kniw, someone I look unto and the first to refer if I have any doubts. So don't berate yourself unnecessarily.
    Ayaans 'geekiness ' if which you have every reason to be proud is largely due to you dinning the love of books into him. And you wouldn't have been able to take Tarana for Physio if you were working and were not the thoughtful mom you are.
    This feeling is just a phase, i think also related to your own apprehension of a new city, life, lack of friends. I was exactly like this in Bangalore even though mom and maids were there to help and Sumedha also became more cranky since I would lose my temper often. It's too early to say how things wil pan out here, but at least that feeling of uncertainty is gone.
    Conpletely empathize with the separation anxiety, Aditi I think has seen too many changes in the last few months, and clings to me, refusing even Nikhil beyond a few minutes ! So I have to have a shower in the night now after she sleeps ! Hoping this changes, or it's the playschool for her in September!
    Have you thought about playschool for Tarana once you settle down? May make her less clingy.
    All the best..hugs

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  43. Big hug, Ro. I know exactly how you feel because I go through these exact emotions on a daily basis. You had two young kids, Ro, and kids, with their infinite energy, do sap all the energy out of you. Please don't be hard on yourself -- I'm sure things will fall into lace after the move. Big hug, babes.

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  44. Anonymous11:02 am

    i read your blog and have it as a favorite. THis is teh first time that i wanted to respond. I had been through the same tug of war when is stayed at home for 2 years and then decided to work just to maintain my sanity.

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  45. Anonymous5:22 am

    Good luck to you in resolving these questions/issues. You'll be fine. I admire your honesty. Big, refreshing change from the constantly-pat-oneself-on-the-back parent blog.

    N

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  46. Anonymous6:57 am

    another long time reader delurking. No advice here, but can totally relate to what you are going through. I am a mom with 2 kids. We are in a similar situation wrt the move (from US to Hyd this month YAY :) and a mostly travelling husband for the past year. The past few months have been particularly rough because of the move. I was hoping to quit and take a break to settle down in Hyd, but got an opportunity that was hard to refuse. And as much as I want to become a SAHM (or take a break), a part of me thinks I am not cut out for that. But at the same time, I feel terribly guilty about not being a good mother.

    Anyway, good luck with the move. And I am sure things will get better once you settle down and ayaan starts school.

    S

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  47. Anonymous5:45 pm

    Very honest.
    Appreciate the truth in your statements.
    I get all these feelings now that i am sahm, but am scared to go back to work too ! And i agree with the bathroom entourage ,haha ! Same here..but, i tell myself, rather desperately though that this too shall pass :)))

    -Uma

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  48. I missed this post, was on a vacation. Big Hugs to you Roh, you are really being hard, you must take some time to relax.I too go through similar feeling to stay at home, but when Chucky falls sick and I am at home to take care, I end up being very cranky and impatient. Even weekends are so tough with super active toddler around me. I look forward for Monday, thats when I get some me time. I think guilt is there either way, please do what ever makes you happy. Good luck with your move..

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  49. Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. I've been reading your blog since I was pregnant (we used to work in the same organization and I got to know of your blog thru' some colleagues) and even though I don't know you personally, I think you're a fabulous mum. In fact I use your blog quite often as a mommy manual, and that letter you wrote to the worry wart Rohini of '06 was an absolute lifesaver :)I think you're doing absolutely the right thing by giving yourself some time now, and if you think you're not cut out for it you should head back. It is true, the best mother is a happy mother, so do what works for you. And in the meantime, chill :)

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  50. That's a hard decision, Ro. I've done both, sahming and working and I've decided I'm best as a working mom. I just don't have it in me to spend all day fruitfully with the kids - it's much easier to do a few things together and live with the guilt of not having more time. So, whatever you decide, has to be right for you, end of the day. and that will be right for your kids too :)

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  51. I hear you :)! (Been there, done that.) Good luck with Hyderabad.

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  52. GASP! I am very sorry to tell you that as a mother, you very, very - normal.

    All my working friends who are mothers tell me that much as they love their kids, coming to the office is a very much anticipated break from the kids.

    Even if the children are your own, for most of us, there is only so much baby-talk and baby-companionship we can keep up with before we slowly start to go insane.

    Stop being so hard on yourself!

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  53. Nah can't call you a bad mother. What you are is a regular one. A good one for accepting your shortcomings. A great one for giving it a shot and throwing in the towel when you find yourself unsatisfied. What will be worse is sticking to it when you hate it.
    Hugs babe. You're a good egg. Dont' give yourself too much stick.

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  54. Nope you are an honest mother... I am in the EXACT same boat as you.. being a working mom for the past 3.5 years, with our move to London, I decided to take a small break.... and though I like 80% of the break and spending leisure hours... i miss working, i miss my own schedule.. I am thinking of getting back to work, just to get my own normalcy back!

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  55. visiting after a long time.i think you deserve an award just for managing 2 kids all by yourself with the hubby away during the week( I stay with the in-laws and the parents are in the same city and I hyperventilate when the hubby goes out-of-town)
    Whats there to feel guilty about wanting to work? Like you already mentioned, i think you should take a few months to settle down in Hyd and then go out and look for a job. Nothing like a happy mother to keep the kids happy :)

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