Thursday, December 06, 2012

Separation Anxiety at Seven?

Whenever I think about going back to work, I usually worry more about how Tarana will cope with it than Ayaan. He's seven, eats on his own, spend a lot of time reading and doesn't need to be put down for a nap - so it is easy for me to assume that he doesn't need me that much. Tarana, on the other hand, still needs me at a much more basic level - to soothe her, feed her and entertain her. Also, she is back from school ridiculously early at 11 and would end up spending a large chunk of her time at home without me, unlike Ayaan who comes back only at 3. Lastly, Ayaan has, somewhere in the distant past, lived 4 years of his life with a mother who worked full time and seemed to get by just fine. Tarana, on the other hand, has only ever known me in my ever-available stay-at-home mom avatar.

However, something happened yesterday that made me realise that the transition won't be particularly easy for Ayaan either. My working days are ancient history with little bearing on the present and while he doesn't need my constant attention any more, he has got somewhat used to my constant presence.

We had to attend a wedding yesterday and since I was having a particularly bad hair day, I felt a blow-dry was something of a necessity. I decided to go immediately after putting Tarana down for her nap, expecting to be back about 15-20 minutes after Ayaan got home. I told the new nanny to tell him I will be back soon and to give him his post-school bowl of fruit.

I was on my way back from the salon when I got a call from the landline at home. Worried that something had happened, I stopped the car and picked up the call. It was Ayaan.

Ayaan: Hello? Is that my Mama?
Me: Yes, baby. It's me.
Ayaan: Mama, it's Ayaan. 
Me: I know. What happened?
Ayaan: Nothing. When are you coming home?
Me: I will be there in five minutes
Ayaan: OK, I have something to show you.

I reached home and even before I could turn my key, the front door opened and I was treated to a bear hug by Ayaan. I discovered he hadn't yet touched his bowl of fruit (he is usually ravenous when he gets home from school and wolfs it down in a jiffy) - he said he wanted to wait for me before eating!

Then, he proceeded pulled out what he wanted to show me. Instead of eating his fruit, he had worked on making a card for me:

Damn. If one 15-minute absence can feel so emotional (for him) and guilt-ridden (for me), imagine what will happen if and when I do return to work full-time!


  1. Aww so much love :)

    Yeah totally can understand your dilemma, they will be alright when the new schedule kicks in. Everything will fall in place. Take care.

  2. Hi rohini

    Very touching post. I am a big fan of your writing and I read your blog regularly. I am a full time working mommy to a 2 year old and I am thinking of being a sahm. It's a tough call to make. Wish you all the best in your decision making process. Keep writing.

  3. I guess it will take some time for you as well to be away from the kids...cross the bridge when you come to it!

  4. ummm..when you feel ready enough, you might want to prepare both Ayaan and Tarana adequately for the transition. It might be possible that because it was the first time you were not around when Ayaan came home and because he was not prepared for it, he felt a little insecure? Just my thoughts...
    take your time, Rohini and am sure things will fall in place..

  5. awwww!!! It is always difficult to leave your child at home!! I face the dilemma everyday but then I have to work!!! Can't help it....

  6. Aww-ness wonly!

    Been in your shoes a while ago so totally relate :)

  7. Aww 7 is not a whole lot of big especially for a boy.. Big bear hug to Ayaan!

  8. [Little Fingers] Thanks :)

    [Jui] All the best YOUR decision-making process too :)

    [A Day..] Now if only I was the 'cross the bridge when you come to it' kind of person. I am a worrier by nature :)

    [Uma] I have been preparing them. Especially Ayaan. Told him that I might not be home when he gets back some days.

    [Smita] It's good to be firmly on one side of the choice, by choice or circumstance. I am just so muddled whilst sitting on the fence.

    [Chox] :)

    [Sirisha] Shall pass on the hugs :)

  9. How sweet.... You know Ro, even if you prepare them, u should yourself be prepared to see them desperately needy until they are 12. When you decide to go back to work, decide to leave the guilt behind......... they are lousy partners...

  10. Hi Rohini,
    I'm so glad that you've taken the challenge to blog every day. Now I can read more stuff written by you than just your tweets :)
    Going-back-to-work is going to be hard for everyone involved, but I'm sure you are reading up on how to 'wean' kids when you start going back to work, without causing much separation anxiety to kids.
    All the best!

    1. I am many steps before that. I have to first decide whether I want to back to work just yet after all. :)

  11. He's grown accustomed to your being there! If he knows beforehand, he'll be fine!

    1. I am sure he will be. The question is - will I? :p