..or do you?
People always ask me how I manage to work from home with two kids running wild. And I’ve always smiled and said, ‘Very easily…’
Because the kids have just grown up taking my work in their stride. I work while they play, scream, run around playing hide and seek, sit by me colouring and when they were younger, they even slept in my arms while I worked.
But it seems as though they’re getting more resentful of our work as they grow. If they have a holiday and the OA and I are leaving for work they cling to us crying piteously at times “Don’t leave me alone…”. Perhaps its because they’re unused to being left by us that it upsets them so much.
The OA’s Bombay trips upset them and a couple of days ago he unfairly accused me of setting them up against his trips. I was too shocked by the accusation to do anything more than stare at him dumbfounded, my eyes welling up. But he leaves while they’re still asleep and so they don’t get to cry when he leaves, saving it up instead for when they wake up and see him missing and then coming to me sorrowfully… “Mamma, where’s Dada gone? To Bombay? In an aeroplane? I don’t like this Bombay. Why does Dada go?”
More than anything else, his trips stress me out because the pressure of work and children while being alone at home is more than I can claim to enjoy. I avoid shoots or late night events if he is travelling and if it happens to be a weekend then all activities with the kids are to be managed by me alone – and my life just comes to a stand still.
They also seem to get clingier when he travels and the days that he is away are spent just prising them off my person. I shove one off my chair, the other climbs in behind me. I take a break, read to them, play with them, get them involved in something and before you know it, they’re back on my chair again, literally pushing me off my seat.
Today the Brat took it to an extreme. I’d take him off from one side he’d get on from the other, standing on the back of my chair and rocking it. Distracting me from the piece I was writing and getting on that last remaining nerve. Tired of explaining, I snapped and told him to go to his room. He wouldn’t. I physically removed him and took him to his bed. He lay there crying. I came back to my room and desk and broke down.
The work, the growing kids and the absent husband are a lot more than I can handle most days. There’s a lot more to it and perhaps I should blog about it soon.
Taking a break I switched on the TV and Rang De Basanti was coming on one of the channels. Madhavan had just died and Luka Chhuppi came on. I had blogged about the song long ago (on the old blog) and it brought back memories of the post I had written on it, along with the memories of a younger more pliant brat. A brat who didn’t need to be disciplined. A brat who was cuddly, warm and pink cheeked (okay, so he’s still pink cheeked). A brat who meekly stayed home with a maid for the 5 days a month that I worked in those days. The song made me cry then and
It’s a struggle to get the Brat to do anything these days. And I meant it when I said I am a better mother to newborns than growing kids. I lose my temper. I scold. The Brat yells back. I send him to his room. He cries. I cry. I shudder to think of what lies ahead during the teen years.
I went to check on him a while later and with the all the love and generosity of a four year old he’d forgotten the scolding and came running to me. I hugged him and we played something, did something and moved on. Except that I didn’t move on. Which is where this post comes in. If I’d moved on, I wouldn’t be here posting about it.
I’ve realised that being really firm and disciplining is fine, but dealing with my own feelings after that, is a nightmare. I lie awake worrying about how much I’ve scolded him. Was it effective? Was I right? Was it a big enough issue to discipline him over? Will he need therapy when I’m done with him?!
Spare the rod and spoil the child, says the Bible. And here, rod is not meant to be taken literally. But the meaning is clear, if you love your child, be firm. Don’t spoil. I’ve realised I’m basically a spoiler. I love sitting the OA down, fussing over him, making his drink, getting him a throw if it’s winter, offering him a back rub.. And the same holds true for the kids – I love fussing over them (I draw the line at cooking ;)) and the moment it comes to discipline, I’m just as sharp as the next disciplinarian. To be fair to the OA he is as much of a disciplinarian as I am, but with him being the absentee parent most of the time, the bulk of the enforcement falls to my lot.
The doubt and sorrow creeps in later. I keep wondering whether this is a big deal or not. Is jumping on the couch in your own home not allowed? What if you do it when a guest is sitting on the couch? What about running around barefeet? What about colouring within the lines? Am I teaching him that there are times when you have to follow instruction or curbing his creative instinct?
So – pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea and chat with me. How do you deal with this?
Edited to add: Since I mentioned the post about Lukka Chhuppi, I’m pasting it here.
Lukka Chhuppi – Posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 (5 comments!)
..bahut hui, samne aaja naa…. kahaan kahaan dhoonda tujhe.. thak gayi hai ab teri ma….
I was listening to this song from Rang De Basanti (on the iPod the mad sibling gave me!) on the way to work this afternoon. Yes, I work a few hours every few days and for those few hours I leave my beloved child with a maid.
So getting back to the point… I was listening to this song and I can’t describe the sinking feeling that came over me while I absorbed the song. I did watch the movie and I do know the song features when a mother loses her son who is in the airforce. But I was quite caught up in the movie when I watched it anyway so it is only now that I appreciate the song for what it is.
For the benefit of those who don’t understand hindi (that would be you dad!) it is a mother singing to her son as though they are playing hide and seek. Only she is alive and he is dead. She searches for him, calling out that dusk is falling and her eyes are growing dim with age…
The son responds by describing this paradise he is in…and how he is perfectly happy there and the only thing he is missing is her… its a content response to her sad cry of despair…
Hats off to Prasoon Joshi… the lyrics give you goosebumps… and your eyes well up….
I usually can’t stand Lata Mangeshkar but her voice suits this song – the quiver – an aging mother seeking a son….
AR Rahman has outdone himself… both, with the composition as well his voice…. the tempo rises in the end and if you listen to it loud or with little earphones so that it is the only thing on your mind, your hair stands on end….
Beautiful, touching, creative.. I could go on. But you need to hear and appreciate it yourself. It grows on you. Not an instant hit like Roobaroo or Rang De Basanti, the title song.
And I thought of the brat. I had left him sleeping, and today of all days when I bent down to kiss his plump, soft little cheek I just sank down on the bed and couldn’t make myself get up and leave. I buried my nose in his sweet smelling neck and hugged him and wondered why I bother to even do a part time job.
Before I had the brat I wondered why people always commiserated so much more with parents who lose a child. Its because it goes against nature. You give birth and they are the future. Young, fresh, new, full of hope. The idea is to leave a legacy behind on earth or something I guess. I don’t know. I don’t really care.
All I know is that once I had my son pretty much everything on the planet ceased to matter or exist. He is the future, my pride, my hope, my love. And I can’t even begin to describe the pleasure I get from being with him and bringing him up. His intelligence, his affectionate ways, his sheer pleasure at the simple things that I am too jaded to notice, bring tears to my over emotional self and I plan ahead for him… No, not being an enginner or a doctor… but that he will grow to be an intelligent, sensitive, aware, well adjusted person…. And while I dream these dreams I realise that I may not be there to see them come true. But not for a minute can I imagine him not being around while I am still around. It’s not right. Unnatural. I am the old. He is the new. He is meant to go on long after I stop.
Okay. Depressing post. Got to stop. Go hear the song. It’s beautiful. The lyrics, the music, the voices, the emotion behind it. Everything.