In the course of our every day routine, we come across so many different things. Often mundane routine things that you don’t even notice. There are some news items every now and then that make an impression in your mind for that period of one week or so when it is in the news. And there are always books, articles and blog posts that you read – you think about some of them for that moment and then move on. And there are some others that somehow make a deeper impression in your mind. What creates an impression depends on what your own state of mind is at that point. If you are deeply worried about your son not having his meals, some post about another suffering the same misery will resonate with you and you hold on to it, feel less alone, find the strength to cope with what seems arduous and you move on to the next day. When you are feeling down and you go for a walk, a stranger who gives you a warm smile and compliments your child or engages him/her in conversation simply cheers you up for that moment. Little strings of hope and strength come your way in such intangible ways and you find joy, strength, direction and hope to ride the tide of life.
After my mother left, I have been alone with both the kids during the day. What seemed like an impossible situation is something I have gotten through for nearly two months now. When she was around I never thought I could survive it (not the work, but the logistics of how one can practically take care of two crying children at the same time) without her or a nanny to help me out. The first day I had actually asked some paid help to come help me out during KB’s meal time – but she did not show up. And I found that I could actually do it. On my own with only the help of my two little children – they did step up and come to my rescue and coped with the change along with me. My mother often tells me not to worry about things that are too distant in the future (quite rich coming from her I would say!). She tells me that her dad never worried and would advice her, “ When the time comes you will find a way, things will sort out on its own in unexpected ways”.
Two tangible examples from the recent past in my case: I was worried sick as to how KB would cope when I was away in the hospital for my delivery considering he had never been away from me for more than two or three hours that too only if B was with him. Never when both of us were out. But he did cope. Miraculously well. He woke up from his nap that afternoon to find only my mother at home with him. He not only did not cry his guts out, he actually let her feed him lunch. It did not happen before or after I came back from the hospital, but it did when I was away and had no choice. The other thing I worried about was how I would manage without my mother around and that too somehow is working out to some manageable extent.
Staying home alone with two children whose needs have to be met on time without any choice about it brings forth two qualities in you – patience and discipline. I never knew I had so much patience in me. Rather I am able to garner the patience it takes to cope with their relentless (both reasonable and unreasonable) demands. Joy as it is to be with your children, it is a tremendous amount of work especially without any help all day. And it takes mental discipline – you have no choice but to put away that interesting article you are reading and run to your child if he/she wakes up. You have no choice but to hang up on a juicy conversation with your friend if your child calls out for you for something as silly as a crayon getting lost in the couch. You set aside your desires and give yourself wholly even if unwillingly at that moment – you have to be present and attend to them.
The process is fulfilling in its own way. But there are times when you feel your life is drifting away from you. You wonder who you* are and when your life ended and morphed into a life for the sake of others and only that. Not that that is the truth. But it feels that way during the moments of isolation and loneliness. This is a feeling only a SAHM mom will truly understand. Or may understand if she too experiences this feeling. It brings forth a feeling of restlessness about life. That in all the order that you create for yourself planning the hour by hour schedule for managing the kids, your own life is drifting into uncertainty. How will I be received when I step out of this world to the outside world? Will I have the same drive I had before all this? Will I feel the same way about my own career when I see that it means making compromises in the time I spend with my children? This is not a judgment question but a personal one – that it will definitely be a different me emerging out of all this and how will I feel then?
This sort of restlessness makes you want to find some guide that will show you the way. Not in the literal sense. But you know what I mean. I often think about this. And that’s why this post from dotmom made an impression on me.
Especially these lines:
“But through out this ordeal she has remained so calm that I have to admit I have questioned if she realized the seriousness of it all.“We don’t have masters (guru) in real life. I wish we did but we don’t. " She was telling me. Maybe these are our Masters, she said meaning the book’s author Brian Wiess.”
I have often thought about this on many days after I read this post. Not sit and ponder about it endlessly but as a drifting thought. And I realize that in the deeper sense, the answers are everywhere. The master who can guide you may not be in front of you with a name but may be in you and how receptive you are to the message in front of you. It is to my benefit if I remove the grain from the chaff and get what I want from it – in things I see, read, hear. To make myself feel at peace. To make myself a better human being.
The other day B was reading a non fiction book and had left it on the coffee table. I randomly opened a page and read it while having my tea. I later told him that I found the author to be full of himself and rather convoluted in what he was trying to say. But B casually said, “Yeah, but if you sort of set that aside and read it, he does have some good points”. Indeed – that’s worth doing at all times. Find wisdom where you can and be receptive to it. When I hit the low notes, I need to have faith. And gather all the strength, hope and wisdom in every day life rather than look for one guru to guide me through.