It has been a while since I posted exclusively about the BB, or anything about being a mother. It has been a long tough while. For starters, I have not had a cushioned mothering experience. From the day the BB came into being, its been him and me, and my instincts. There has been no family or battery of helping hands to do things for me. While it may look like a severe disadvantage to many, I liked having it that way, because I wanted to do things my way with my baby. Every time, I faced a problem, I devoured the baby-care books, scanned everything I could find online, ask around me few friends who had had babies, and whom I could trust and go on about doing things. It was not simple, but it was my way. A nanny or help was never an option for me, so it has been a non-stop constant mommy-time for me since the day BB was born.
Initially I was all enamoured and engrossed with the work at hand, and was too happy to care otherwise, but as time passed, even without me consciously realising it, a kind of complacence and mental fatigue started to set in. From being a tiny bundle, who did not understand much, the BB was growing up into a thinking, observant person, but I did not understand the transition well. I had become highly self absorbed, is the way I see it now. Having moved to a new place, with no friends or acquaintances around, I was just too depressed to be able to do anything proactively. Somewhere during that period of adjusting to the new place, missing my old life, and just wanting to get out of the house, I stopped being a mentally alert mother. And from there on, it was just going through the motions.
I realised at one point that I was not doing anything proactively. I was busy with running the house, blogging, reading. There was no special time of the day allocated to do BB stuff, except for his meals. And with each passing day, it seemed more and more improbable, that I would find time exclusively for him. Whatever free time I could manage, I jumped onto the laptop and devoured the Internet. The BB has for whatever reasons, turned out to be quite a self sufficient boy, he can keep himself busy through the day, he does not need people to be happy and most importantly, he is not too clingy. Served my selfish pursuits just perfectly, and life went on. I think pretty much every point in time I actively, meaningfully spoke to him, it was to tell him not to do XYZ, or leave ABC alone and stuff. I would take him out for walks to the park, and though it was an activity, it was hollow, because I was not mentally active about it. I was at home, but not with him. It had been over three years since I had stopped working, and I started missing that life, and knew the only reason I was not going out there, was, the BB. A certain amount of frustration started creeping in, and it showed in ever aspect of my life, especially my mothering. I was not liking the way things were heading. This was not the kind of mother I wanted to be, nor the kind of relationship I had ever envisioned having with my child. And I had reached a stage, where I just did not know what to do.
My mind was overwhelmed, with guilt and a huge amount of anger directed at myself, I felt lost and completely worthless. Many people, may disagree with me, because I am at the end of the day physically with the BB all 24 hours of the day, I still feed him, dress him up, and do the small little things mothers do, but I will be dishonest to myself, if I claimed that was enough. And strangely enough, the only person I shared my emotions with, is a friend, who is not even a mother yet. She is someone who invites confidence. Her maturity beyond her years, was the reason, I was sure of not being judged or misunderstood. I poured my heart out, and she heard me, and soothed me with her kind words. I cannot express in words here, what it meant to just be able to share it with someone, without the fear of reproach. And then it was she who said, something which was just so simple, and so basic, and yet needed to be said to me, for me to realise the importance of it. 'Include him.' Yes, just include him in what I do, instead of waiting to get over with doing my stuff, before being with him. Include him in my daily activities, get him to join me, and do things alongside.
If I may say it, it has been a life altering advice in my life as a mother. It was just such a simple thing to do, and what a fool I had been to have not done it before. I haven't and I cannot thank you enough with words Tara, really I can't. You have no idea, what those simple, powerful words you said, meant to me. I could feel the change in dynamics, as soon as I started. I felt so happy and content myself, and the BB was so so excited to be a part of everything I am doing. On the apparent, its possibly no change, but from within I know what is a very small change on the outside is a huge one from within. And if for nothing else, the effects have been miraculous for my peace of mind.
A few plans I had, all for myself, did not quite work out, fell flat on their face to be precise and that left me a bit for upset. I had counted on a lot of things to happen in this new land, but they did not work out as I had planned. What looked like the perfect opportunity, turned out to be an impossible dream at a point when it was all almost finalised. It would be understating it to say, I was highly disappointed. But I have also realised that there is either the option of sitting and crying over spilled milk, or moving on and making the best of what life has to offer to me right now. I have to accept the cards I am dealt with and make the best of it. And hence I am all done and over with the sadness, the dejection and instead want to proactively find fun and exciting things to do, within my grasp at this very moment, I am sure the future will bring something wonderful in its wake.
Its been over four years now, since I was working for pay, been moving all over the world the past few years, my social interactions have been drastically reduced. The Internet has in fact become my primary source to interact with other adults, and that is not an easy life for someone like me, who loves being with and around people. I was ruing over the life I had left behind, and one that I can never have again. And then the chat with Tara happened, and I realised, what was the point in crying over something I cannot just change. I am not ready to leave the BB in full time day care and actively go out to study/work or anything at all at this point in time. There is no one besides me at home to take care of him, so basically that means, I cannot do my own thing this very minute. Lamenting over that was only making me waste what I had with me, instead of thinking of a way to put it to better use. And so I just decided to let that regret go, and do something constructive with the existing time instead.
It is surprising how the world works. Pretty much as soon I changed my mindset, and my way of working things, things started falling in place. Having just reached this place, I had missed out on the kindergarten forms for this session. The option I had in hand, was sending him instead to a private day care centre, a few days a week, as a kind of kinder. We visited the centre, brought home the forms, and were about to submit it, when Smitha suggested playgroup. I looked up, and there was one close by, unfortunately that had shut shop. Tried the next and there they were, with just the last seat available. It is just perfect, because it requires the parent to remain with the child through the session and interactively participate in activities with the whole group. I was getting paranoid about leaving my baby alone with people, he didn't know, just yet. This would be the perfect way to get him used to being with others, so that I can actually leave him in the care of others, in the future. It just couldn't have worked out better for me.
So here we are, the first playgroup session for the BB is today, and I am hoping it turns out to be a lot of fun, something the BB starts looking forward to. To my sweet little angel, who has suddenly become big enough to attend play group. I am so awed, and proud of you my child. Here is wishing you luck and joy in every new endeavor you take up in life. Who knows what wonders the future holds for you, my little prince.
PS - Cake baked, to celebrate the day!