Another four days and I'll be back to work after eight months. I still do not know how I got through the first five months – hospital, bed rest, back pain – was literally counting the minutes and hours as it went by. And, I do not know how the last three also went off, it was as if everything was on fast forward mode. Can’t believe Naomi is three months already.
Almost everyone who knew me years back took me to be this fiercely ambitious, highly competitive, hard-nosed career woman. The decision to take a break from work after marriage came as a shock even to my family. I could never imagine having to compromise either at work or at home. So I thought, ok, one thing at a time, let me see how things go. Basked in the newfound freedom for the first six months. Then started the boredom, then frustration. Before I could go mad, my son came. The following two years just whizzed past me.
Once he turned a year old, started working part time. A small CA firm, I could come and go as I pleased, just needed to put in four hours a day somehow and the proprietor could boast of a qualified person on his rolls. Worked out fine for both of us. Work was no great shakes, not that I expected it to be, it was something to get out of the house and meet some people.
Then came the shift to northern end of Kerala and a year of absolute frustration. Couldn’t imagine working in another small town firm. But there were plenty of apprehensions about a full time job as well. Did not want to compromise on my son’s happiness. That is when the BPO idea started taking root. Get something where I could work at night, and I get to spend time with him. After months of search and several interviews, got something I liked first in Bangalore and then shifted to Kochi. It has worked out pretty well for both of us.
Now, the same doubts and questions go through my mind when I think of leaving my baby at home. Will she miss me, am I being to fair to such a small thing, the apprehensions never end. The look of absolute dejection on her face as I try to get her used to bottle-feed is tugging at my heart throughout. She starts with a small wail, gulps in a few drops, barely enough to satisfy her hunger and then starts the vociferous protest. But slowly, I can see her getting used to it, as if she realizes she has no choice.
Should I take another break? After the first break it took me almost two years to find something, which suited mine and my family’s needs. It was not a perfect solution, but the best compromise that I could make. A fine balance between what I wanted professionally and personally. If I take another break now, it will be even more difficult to get back, and before long I would have passed that fine threshold between youth and middle age. But what about my baby, how will it affect her?
Career woman with no thoughts other than work, full time home maker, working part time, doing something on my own, balancing act between work and family – been through it all. Not doing something makes me an absolute grouch and it will rub on to the kids also. And I realize this is the best I can do. There is someone to look after the kids, I have a somewhat flexible work schedule and a five-day week. And I get time to spend with my baby during the day.
I realize this is something each working mother goes through every day of her life. At least I have been blessed with so many things. A good maid, my in-laws at home to oversee her and if needed, an option to quit and be a full time mom again. There are so many out there who have to work, come what may, leaving their kids at someone else’s mercy, struggling to make both ends meet. Let me be thankful for what I have and do the best I can.