Every year I have one meltdown. The timing is uncertain, but it is mandatory. I go into depression and sob and listen to awfully cheesy music and blame the OA for my life going to the dogs. This generally coincides with the kids going to visit their grandparents and I am sure there is a strong link. It also always happens that a maid quits around the same time. One would imagine they’d be happy to have less work to do but apparently not.
And so I sobbed into my bowl of dal, wiped my runny nose on the neatly ironed table napkins, gulped down glass after glass of water and babbled for a long time. This time there was an additional woe. Living in Gurgaon. I’ve tried and tried and I still hate it. Shall write another post on that (clearly there is a lot of angst that needs to be dealt with).
The OA suggested stepping down his work and being with the kids. No, that won’t work because he is the primary earner and I (minimum wage earning journalist) won’t be able to suddenly be able to earn what an investment banker does, considering I have anyway been on a 6-year-go-slow. I’d need to work myself back into the work force, rise slowly and only then can the OA ease out if we’re to fulfill our financial commitments.
The OA suggested that I go back to fulltime work and send the kids to daycare if I feel trapped and professionally unfulfilled. No question of it- yet.
The OA suggested we pay the kind of sums we hear floating around of Rs 20k for a nanny for the kids. Nope. Not happening. Charging a lot of money doesn’t make anyone automatically trustworthy.
And so on.. you get the picture. OA proposed, I disposed.
And then I hiccuped myself to sleep and accepted that what I want will never happen. I know I often vote on forums for better childcare, better support yaada yaada. I know I am itching to get back to cameras and studio lights and late night edits and layouts intead of the piecemeal way I am currently working. I know I want it all. And I know I can’t have it.
I will not let anyone else bring up my kids no matter how good they are at their job. Because for them it is just their job. For me it’s a burning desire. I wonder what it would be like to have been reared by someone who did it as their job instead of my loving family and I refuse to test it out on the kids. No daycare or nanny is good enough for me and I know it’s not because I am a stickler. Heck, on the best days I am careless and easy going. It is only because I don’t want to miss a thing. Because they’re mine, mine, mine and I am like a greedy five year old hoarding her sweeties.
As I’ve said before, I know I can do MORE with my life. So much more professionally. But I also know that I give my kids MORE than what a daycare can. No, not so many friends maybe, but more than the maids who wash their hands and feet and feed them lunch. I can tell them that the carrots are good for their eyes, when I send them out to play I tell them it’s for the Vitamin D. When we talk about their one bit of junk for the day we ‘negotiate’ and the Bean responds, ‘Okay, let’s make a deal… “. A few days ago the Bean told her grandparents that she can’t have an afternoon nap because “the blood and the bones in my body go crazy and then I have to jump around with them.” We laughed till we cried and I realised no daycare would relate each incident to me. I’d never have heard these lines if they were said to someone else.
Yes, in the attempt to give them the best childhood I might be losing the best career and yet I don’t know what the option is. In some ways I already know, there is no option. Once a year the restlessness breaks through and I re-think what is most important to me.
I know I cannot be happy with only freelancing and dipping my toe into the work world when I am dying to go skinny dipping. I’m an all or nothing girl and this flexitime isn’t working out very well for me either.
I should never have had the kids because having had them I am unable to tear myself away from them and let someone else have even a hand in raising them. I should never have tried hotel management, modelling, airhostessing (no, it’s not a word, I made it up), emceeing, event management and rediscovered each time that I love the print media. Because now my two loves jostle for time and I cannot give up either of them. There is no reconciling them either. This is probably one of those few adult choices I am called upon to make and it’s the hardest bloody choice I’ve ever made in my life. It would be simpler to ask me to give a kidney off to someone and a lung to another. I wish I had the absolute calm of those who make a choice. But I don’t. I continue to straddle two worlds, working late nights, getting up early to pack tiffins, rushing for a shoot and getting back in time for lunch. It’s probably why I have the annual breakdown. Eleven years of writing and nothing to show for it.
At times I remember the Biblical parable of the talents. Of God giving you something and telling you to use it or lose it. But I also realise that He gave me these two happy, healthy good children and the right way to thank Him for my blessings is to give back to them what they give me. Joy, time, love, energy, patience and compassion. It’s a tough call and on days I border on agnostic and wonder where I’m going with this.
Even as I write this post I know I’ve cried about this before. And I know what answers you will give me. I may as well shut the comments. But I can’t. I am lucky to have this space (can you imagine how stark raving mad I’d have gone ten years ago without a blog?) where I vent. This is where I talk to you on a daily basis and this is why I must tell you that I have had my annual meltdown. I have now wiped my tears, quietened the hiccups and accepted the fact that my godawful, monstrous brats are the centre of my life and I will have to wait until they let me go since the other way around is not happening.
And then, maybe then, I’ll throw myself back into work and shine like a brilliant star. Or not. Until next year’s scheduled meltdown then. Save your comments. You can copy and paste them there.
And yes, the kids will be back in a couple of days, I’ll bury my nose in the Brat’s neck, squeeze the Bean in an attempt to fit her back into my belly and everything will feel better as it always does. Here’s the post I wrote the last time they were away.
And oh I’m currently playing this song on repeat so that I can sing them to sleep with a new lullabye. Isn’t that voice just dreamy? I hope to be all prepared by the time they come back from G’pa-Nana’s house.