Tuesday, December 18, 2007

May be these are our masters?

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.

23 comments:

Preethi said...

What a post... now this has me thinking,... I am a SAHM too and I understand what you mean.. I did experience all this in the past... and here it does help to be "happy go lucky" like your mother says.. dont worry about the future.. dont look at the past.. live in the present. Take joy in the 2 wonderful kids and try and make time for yourself when they sleep or on weekends (because thats important too). When Nantu was little I used to take a day off and have a girls day out with cousins/ friends/sister... whatever.. a 9 - 5 thing.. Try that, as adorable as kids are you do need those days for yourself - and trust me it will help you better care for your kids!!
As for the Guru.. you ave got me thinking.. no comments on that till I think some more

Aryan said...

Lovely post. Just opened it in the morning and it is making me think more.
I would like to comment on your example about managing alone. You are very true and have said it well. For me when my hubby went to US, I was not sure how I will manage everything alone. Aryan doesn't sleep without seeing his father..But now, he is used to it and I have more confidence to manage the this myself. Same is the case of cooking. Sometimes I feel I cannot do anything alone, but I was given a chance..I did it smoothely...
So I feel all is in mind. Constantly we have to remove the weeds which are the negative thoughts..
I feel we are our own master...
Aryan's mom

BangaloreMom said...

Hi Noon

Beautifully worded post..and feelings I can completely relate to. I stayed home for the first two years of my son's life and I can identify SO MUCH with that restless feeling that you are talking about. Sometimes, even today and inspite of the fact that I love my job, I wonder if I took the easy way out by returning to work. Still have'nt read the one by DotMom on Masters...will go and read it now...

Love ur posts by the way!!

Moppet's Mom said...

It's true - both we and our children are capable of so much more than we believe possible. Great post.

ddmom said...

Very well written, I can so relate to every word in it.
I was in the same boat when my mom left, but somehow things worked out. My husband used to work from home most of the time, that helped. Now, he is unable to do so. At first I panicked with the thought of having to handle 2 kids, plus cook, plus entertain. But as you write it, it is all about being disciplined and planning ahead.

noon said...

Hi Preethi - Thanks. yes, it definitely helps to be happy go lucky. But at least for me it is also related to how much physical strength I have esp later in the evening. I don't get time to sit and eat and somehow in the rush of things I tend to forget to keep adding fuel to my system - and suddenly hunger strikes! And anger does too! :)
And no such luxuries - first of all no one hang out with all day like that! And max I can go for 2 hrs now since I still feed baby girl every 3h except at night...

Aryan - Thanks. And very true - weeds are our negative thoughts!

noon said...

Bangaloremom - thanks for visiting and for your kind comment. And I checked out your site just now - how do I leave comments for your posts? I am not finding any link for that! Am I just not seeing it?

noon said...

MM - thanks. Yes very true. Esp with children - they really surprise you in pleasant ways when you least expect it...

DDmom - yeah planning ahead helps - but am only able to plan hour by hour - because baby girl is still unpredictable - one day she nursed every 2 hrs...and today she did not have her afternoon nap at all...so not able to plan very well...

DotMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DotMom said...

so eloquent noon. but if it makes you feel any better WOHMs have similar angst. We are not going full steam on the career front, not with small children. So the life is lived for the kids, husband,home and deadlines. I do feel adrift to at times and strange as it may sound, I was feeling very low today. When I opened my reader I read Shobana's post and then yours and it felt as if these posts were much much more than a stray co-incidences. Thanks for writing it.

Anitha(Nikki's mom) said...

Lovely post noon! Though I am WOHM, I undergo what you have written now & then. I have lost all interest in my career and just sticking onto it for the sake of GC. When my mother left (around 4 months postpartum), I had the same feeling, but I survived the next 4 months with my MIL. Mom used to take care of everything when she was here, it was a shock to me when MIL said she cannot bathe Nikki by herself. I had no choice but to do everything myself, taking care of Nikki, cooking, cleaning, going to work and at the end of a tiring day, the empty feeling that creeps in... Hmmm

2 B's mommy said...

A very thoughtful post, noon. I know what you mean by that restlessness and the fear of facing the world when you will step out next. I have already accepted that I will be a way behind the others my age when I am ready to join work force. But what worries me more is if I will be even able to face the world after staying at home for so long. Its already been two years and I dont see myself working for next two years too. That's why I have recently taken up volunteering once a week so that the transition won't be too hard when I decide to go back to work. I know with preschoolers or younger, even that option is not possible.

Books are good guides/gurus. As you mentioned, infact everyday people, happenings around us, news, articles, or more recently, even blogs can sometimes guide us or atleast make us think, give strength and sometimes solutions too, show us the right direction just like a guru.

Tharini said...

Noonie! Beautiful, beautiful, just beautiful! Wow. Such an inspired post. Its YOU at your best, your essence shining through.

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.

This was a great line. For Your post stirred something in me w..r.t the restlessness I had been feeling with being a SAHM. I love it for all its worth, but its soooo hard to stay moitvated and disciplined and healthy in your mind. I agreed with just abt every line in ur post....just the logistics of saying so is very arduous. :) Enjoyed this so completely!

Also wanted to say that I've been reading all your posts dedicatedly and loved the series on your trips and stays away from home. It was nice to read about all the people in your life thru you eyes. Special prayers for your cousin and her family.

Orchid said...

first, i echo your thoughts on holiday cards..hopefully i'll get mine out on time this yr!
and this is a deep, deep post at so many levels...well articulated too, ..the human mind indeed!

noon said...

Dotmom - thanks. Well, it is your post that inspired me to write this. I can understand how it is a different kind of challenge for WOHM as well. And really true - how you are not able to go full steam on the career front...my friend is going through this situation. Her second is just a few days younger than baby girl - she is too afraid to rock the boat and quit her job - because her husband is in a start up - and she is so exhausted, doesn't particularly care about the work except as a job to get paid...feels bad...she keeps telling me that I should enjoy this time - I am enjoying it - but it is not easy. The angst just comes as a part of this mommy package I think!

noon said...

anitha - thanks...I have the same comment that I made to dotmom for you. I totally understand how it is not easy for WOHM either...

noon said...

2B's mommy - thanks. I think volunteering is a good idea to at least get out and do something other than home work. But as of now I can't...and as of now my spare time is so minimal that I would dissipate all reserves if I did some work (for which I don't get paid again!) outside of this also. B is very helpful on weekends but I think until I wean baby girl it will be like this. I weaned my first child at 15m. I still have another 8-9m to go for that!!

noon said...

Tharini - thanks! I think I need to change my blog name to noonie first since most people now refer to me thus!
I agree - it is hard to stay motivated - esp when there is resistance - to eat, to sleep, to change diapers even...
Well hopefully we will all get through the tough moments with the collective strength we give to each other (of course we are all enjoying this if not we wouldn't/can't do it)...

Rohini said...

Nicely written. And the isolation.... I feel it too but probably in a different way. It comes from none of my friends at work getting just how stressful life as a working mom is and neither does the husband get it because it's so much easier for him.. my sense of isolation comes from complete lack of empathy!

BangaloreMom said...

Hi Noon,

I have enabled the comments View section. U can post them now. In the meantime, let me tell you that I have been lurking around for the longest time and just have been too lazy to delurk. Sorry abt that. I love the way you write and ur post on having 2 kids started a raging war at home that lasted an entire two days!! :). Anyways, keep the posts coming!! :))

noon said...

Hi Ro - nicely said. Lack of empathy can really make you feel isolated even if you are in the midst of friends and family. I can imagine how hard it must be - at least at home you can vent out to family - at work if they don't get it - you have to just grit and bear...I see my close friend go through the same issue...I know what you mean...

BM - Thanks for your sweet comment. Reg two children - I have to read your older posts - don't know anything about you - but which side are you on - want one or want two? I am going to do a post on this soon!

BangaloreMom said...

Hi Noon

Thanks for dropping by. As for me, I am an only child and if u had asked me 5 years ago, I would have said I want 3 kids and want my house filled with wails, laughter and chaos all together. But 5 years and one child has changed that naivete :). I still agree with you that children should definitely grow up with siblings and, if I had my way, would probably have another one. But hubby is dead against it..for many reasons which are worthy of a post in itself. So the war continues :)). Look forward to reading your post on this.

Aryan said...

Hey noon waiting for your post about having two children...

Aryan's Mom