Saturday, June 26, 2010

Entry for 'Mommy Guilt' Contest

At last, just at the nick of time... here's my entry for the Mommy Guilt contest. Those who haven't already submitted your entry, read this on Apu's blog and this on Womensweb. There's time till Monday ladies - do rush your entries... am sure you all have lots to say on this topic...and there are some exciting prizes!!!

I have been unwell for a while now and I thought of chatting up with a doctor who also happens to be a relative. Among other things that we discussed, she made an interesting observation about stress. Stress is not just the work load or work pressure but the pressure that you experience as a result of boredom - because you are probably not doing things that you really enjoy doing and in the context of motherhood, she called it the, "Indian Mommy Syndrome". We feel guilty about 'enjoying' when it does not include our children. Try leaving your child behind to meet up with friends, for some indulgence at the parlour, a movie, a concert, a holiday and the likes. The monster called 'Guilt' will be unleashed on you.
Now, where does this monster dwell? Mostly within us, sometimes around us. Let me explain - why do we feel guilty? 1. How does it make me feel? 2. What will others think of me?

1. How does it make me feel?:
You decided to keep out of the kitchen one day and fed your child milk, cheese, noodles, bread and the likes. Now, no one knows this but it still leaves you guilty. Why? Because you think you could have done much better for your child.
2. What will others think of me?: You left your child with hubby and in laws to watch a movie with friends. How many calls have you made to check on your child? How many times have you worried about what your in laws would think about you? Did one of your mommy friends tell you how she has never even thought of doing anything like this till her child was big enough? Yeah, woman, too bad. You should have dialed me for some counsel! Bah! Are you thinking that I don't care for some medals and honors? Oh, no, I do, I'm a sucker for those. But I decide, 'at what cost' these days.

I realise that it is extremely important for us to be happy and feel worthy of ourselves to be able to nurture a healthy self esteem, to exude that positive energy around us. Without this, what we would eventually do is spend a lot of time, empty time, with our children and only end up feeling miserable about all those things that we could have otherwise achieved. There are mothers who enjoy giving up their career for the child and there are mothers who enjoy finding the balance - this is not a situation with 'only one right answer'.
If we assume that children don't understand, we are grossly underestimating them. They would rather have a happy mom for a few hours than a grouchy, miserable mom the whole day. So, momma, do things that'll keep you happy - its important for your baby ;) ....we all come around to it, don't we :D

I also see that women who have interests besides their children, who have their own friends, either a career or a hobby are a lot more emotionally independent as empty-nesters. They don't feel the void suddenly. There are other things that they enjoy, that keep them occupied and positively engaged. This is good not only for themselves but also for the children who are less burdened to see their parents happy.



asha said...

I fully empathize with your post.
and rightly said uma, quality time is more important than quantity of time, when we sacrifice our personal time we become frustrated moms and in turn the kids too get frustrated.

Shankari said...

Wonderful post Uma. I completely agree with both the questions that you asked. I am putting up my post in sometime, will link back to yours, art's and starry's because you guys spoke mostly what I wanted to say :)

H said...

Fantastic post Uma. I think we have spoken about this before and I can relate to so many things in this post. We need to get over this guilt trip to keep ourselves happy and make others feel the same around us.

Vidya said...

Rightly said Uma! Children will grow up to appreciate a mom who has a LIFE!

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

Your post sums up the usual suspects in mommy guilt tripping quite well.

Hope you feel better soon !

Momo's Ma said...

hey.liked ur point abt mommy also havign her own life, friends . btw, tagged u.

lostworld said...

I recently read a book which explained how guilt is usually positive. It gave me a new perspective. Mommy guilt is something I haven't experienced and your post had some interesting thoughts :)

p.s. - your daughter's photo is very sweeeet!!

Uma said...

Momo's Ma - just what I'd been hoping for ..thanks :)

Lostworld - Positive Guilt? Interesting...What's the title of the book?
on the p.s - thanks :) *GRINNING LIKE A PROUDY PEACOCK*

Uma said...

My earlier comment seems to have vanished... so posting again...

Asha - I know it - I've seen that happen while I was at home on a break.

Shankari - I thought most of the guilt falls under one of the two categories

H - Oh, yes, we've spoken, haven't we?

Vidya - True, and it is so important for us too, as individuals

Comment deleted - why? Why take the effort to write a comment and then delete it?

PV - Am feeling good now, thanks :)