Have you thought about how some people achieve more things in 24 hours of a day than you, how some people cruise through life without cribbing, how some people are happy even without doing much in 24 hours? The common answer I get, silly albeit, is that the person is either unmarried or doesn’t have kids. For such I say, grow up.
Ever since I became pregnant, I had decided that I would not use my kid as an excuse to crib or slack. I took a break from every other aspect of my life when my daughter was born. I wanted to take it slow, but not forever. I had decided that being a mom would not be my sole identity. I wanted to do a lot with my 24 hours. I knew such a life was going to be stressful.
The researcher in me awoke – searching the net and real life for inspirations. I know women who are really ambitious, travel extensively, study after having a kid, leave kids with parents and work in another city. On the other end, I have seen women who dedicate themselves to child rearing and home making completely with satisfaction. I admire those women who smile and live by their decision confidently.
The story of my life currently is this. My daughter is now 4 years old, more demanding than ever. I have a full time job, I exercise, I blog, I read (my target is usually 20-25 books per year, that is roughly 2 books every month). I spend a lot of time with friends. I indulge in simple me-time like shopping or a massage. Adding to the chaos, we have a pet dog. There is another person who gets a major slice of my time – not to forget my dear, loving husband, who becomes a child as soon as our daughter gets sick.
Yes, I have more mature lines on my face now. Yes, I have become thinner and look less attractive than 5 years ago. But I am happy and that is the key.
These are the tips that I would give to find the balance in life.
Have a support system:
“Behind every successful woman, there is another woman – her domestic help”
Have someone to fall back to – family, friends or hired help. You need a break once in a while. Besides, doing everything by yourself is the sure-fire way to get frustrated and look 50 at 30. Hire a part-time domestic help or a nanny. Know what to give up and when. If you decide to pursue other activities, send your kids to playschool, as soon as you can. I sent mine at 18 months – for couple of hours. You both learn to give each other some space early on. Your kid will get sick more often. This only helps them in building immunity early on. They fall sick even when you put them to school at 4 years.
Get your priorities right:
If you think you can do it all by yourself, you must be kidding! You are not a super woman. You can’t possibly go to work, cook three meals a day, have a spotless house, not send your kid to playschool/daycare and have a good night’s sleep – all in one life. Make a choice and stick to it – go to work or stay at home. Accept the side-effects of the decision. Whenever you get those infamous guilt attacks, remind yourself of your priorities.
Don’t blame your husband:
I have observed this in many Indian families. Indian husbands are breadwinners and that’s what they do best. Most of the men “help” mothers in child rearing but they play secondary roles, as backup. The sooner you accept this, the better it is for you. Our husbands are a lot better than our fathers. We can leave the kids with them behind for the evening and go on a ladies night out. But it is still far for Indian men to take 2-3 kids alone to the zoo/water park, all by themselves. I have not seen such an Indian man, so far!
If it is of any solace, this generalization can be extended to all Asian families. Asian women are the primary care givers of their offspring.
Simplify your life:
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? If you have something to crib about, that needs to be sorted out. You have to find tips to manage that aspect. God helps those who help themselves. Be it morning madness, bedtime struggles, irritating co-worker, idle mind or boredom. Find ways to be happy and productive. Find a hobby, learn a new activity and give space to each other in every relationship.
I remember reading this somewhere: “The busy man is never wise and the wise man is never busy”
Don’t be too busy to take part in the important things in your life. Take time to slow down without being stagnant.
Care to share your tips to find the right balance?
Divya Rao is a mother to a 4 yr old bundle of joy. She has one eye set on growing her career and the other watching and enjoying her little one grow up.