Priorities

It is so easy to forget what we hold dear to our heart, in the pursuit of what we consider most important to us in life! It takes a really jolting moment to whack you in the head and tell you – “Hey!! Wake up and get your priorities straight!”

Parental Priorities - Raising Children

We all work very hard to get that elusive thing called success. It can be high grades in class for some, a “white-collar” job, all the money that comes with the job for some, being socially in the ‘high’ status and many such ambitions.

But there comes a time when suddenly, you are faced with the hard-hitting reality that you would give all that up for that special SOMEONE in life. And my moment of truth had arrived in the form of my little baby boy.

I was juggling a corporate career, and being a mother to two energetic children – a toddler aged 5 and a baby aged one. My son had what we thought was just a seasonal flu. This erupted into a full-fledged infection, not letting him eat or drink without throwing up. He was so dehydrated that we had to hospitalize him. His little wrist was punctured with the needle that pumped up vital liquids and salts to keep him alive.

My husband kept himself busy with hospital formalities so that he wouldn’t have to look at our son protesting mildly when the doctors examined him. As his energy depleted, even the mild protests stopped and became just little whimpers. I just held him close to my heart and sang him his favorite rhyme, not trusting myself enough to look at his tired baby eyes.

Mothers are nearest to God, they say. There probably are zillions of poems, songs and stories glorifying mothers like me. But there is a difference – I am human! I make mistakes, and any one of them could have caused so much pain to my baby, sleeping in medicine induced sleep. I was tried  to keep myself free from guilt.

The hospital staffs were very considerate, with only encouraging and comforting words to say. But I could almost hear what they were saying to each other…..

“What an irresponsible mother!”……. “Poor child!”

As my baby lie sleeping, I allowed myself the luxury of self-pity.

“True I am a busy mom” (Ping! Point to Guilt)

“But also true that I loved him and did it all for him.” (Now, why wasn’t that so convincing?)

“He wouldn’t be so ill if I was at home, caring for him all the time.” (Ping! Point Guilt)

I was fast losing the battle to guilt, when I got the call. The voice at the other was my sister – a wonderful mother, and my best friend.  She simply said “I know you must be beating yourself up….. Don’t do it! He needs you to be human. Just snap out of it, and give him all your time. You can get your priorities straight, and make those decisions you need to make. But right now, enjoy your time together. He is getting better, right? So thank God, and start living!”

As the intravenous medication and saline started taking effect, my son started getting better. He woke up after a couple of hours, and smiled when he saw me. And this time, his protests were a little louder when the doctor came checking.

We were in the hospital for nearly a week, and I took a long time off from work after we reached home. My whole team from office came to see us and assured me that they would keep things moving till I join back. The boss told me to take it easy.

I was surrounded by optimism, and none of the things I had kept worrying about ever happened. I still have a job I love, but that doesn’t make me lose focus on life. I take time out to enjoy my children, play with them and gather as many baby memories as I can.

I am sometimes asked if I am compromising on that elusive thing called success. I have only one answer to that – thank God I finally realized how successful I am!!

Meena Bhatnagar is a mother of two, with a passion for the written word. She dabbles with fiction, a couple of them finding their way into published work, is an avid blogger, and works as a corporate trainer to pay for all the damages. She blogs on parenting, social issues and humorous incidents of her life and on hotel & restaurant reviews and corporate training.

  • Good post – from one working professional-turned-stay-at-home mom to another 🙂 What is the measure of a successful life really? To those who think we are wasting our talent and education in minding homes and raising chikdren, I think we are putting them to the best use, where it matters the most to us!

    • Exactly!! Thank you so much Reema!

  • Moms cannot live without guilt … Compromising career or home-front .. one of them is required !! Else stress is the only constant thing in life!
    Meena, yours is a strong story indeed. I am a corporate mom too .. I go on guilt trips often !! But good news is that I have my priorities set and I know what matters .

    • Yeah! I guess motherhood and guilt are two sides of the same coin 🙂 …. it sure feels good to know you are not alone. Thank you Divya!

  • Such a heartfelt post…I can understand the guilt as I am trying to join back work again after almost 19 months since my baby was born. But you know mommy guilt would be there in case of SAHM as well. How you could have stopped that infection in case you were stay at home mom? Moreover once your priorities are set you can squeeze more contentment out of life.

    • True …. contentment comes only when priorities are set. Thank you NBose … here’s hoping that you settle in at work soon 🙂

  • Our society places so many expectations on mothers, and as a result we often feel guilty because we haven’t lived upto that perfect maternal ideal. But as your sister said, we are humans. Snapping out of that guilt trip and prioritizing is what we need to do. Wonderful post, Meena 🙂