When I was a kid, the number of working moms was fewer than they are now. My mom, however, fell into that category. She used to work for a bank. I was really proud of her and would tell anybody who'd ask that she was superwoman, Yes, she had 4 kids and still went to work (and worked at home too). People would raise eyebrows and wowed. I never understood why. But I remember that Ma was always around. Even when I think really hard, I can't remember a time when she wasn't there for me when I needed her.
I remember, no matter how early I woke up, Ma was always up. I remember thinking that maybe she never went to sleep. But every morning, she would be so fresh. She would tend to each one of us and help us get ready for school. Our breakfast would be ready and she would pack our lunch boxes to take to school. Ma went to work from 9 to 5. But once she was back from work, she was all ours. She would play with us or help us study. She would immerse herself in making sure all her kids were happy. She would go with us to the playground (for as long as we wished for her to go with us). And even at home, I never ever remember her saying that she was busy or that she didn't have the time. She would just leave everything and play snake and ladders with us. Saturdays and Sundays were even more special. She took us to parks and on bus rides. Every little thing was special.
My dad was a workaholic. He never got home early. By the time he got home, most of the time we would either be sleepy or fast asleep already. I don't remember him playing a very active role either in our studies or in our playtime. But strangely, I never missed him. Because Ma was there and she was enough. Ma never asked for 'me-time'. I don't remember her going for any pampering sessions. Neither did she demand that dad be actively involved with the kids.
Today I look at how things have changed. I love spending time with Pickles,but I want my 'me-time' too. The time that I spend outside of work has so many demands. I want to cook, read, surf the net, watch movies, work out, go for a run, swim, spend time with my friends, with R, go shopping. Phew, the list is endless. So, there! I want to do more. I want some of my life just to myself. I am selfish. I am not happy, just being a mum.
One spare moment, and I am looking at my phone, reading a message or chatting. Or reading some article or book on my ipad. I remember that is how I spent most of my breastfeeding time when Pickles was little. I knew I shouldn't but I did it anyway. I still do that sometimes, when he has just fallen asleep, snuggling next to me. Maybe that is why the concept of 'quality-time' came into being. To make sure you had some non-electronic-gadget time. To actually stop multitasking and enjoy the moment, doing the most important thing, spending time and making memories with your baby. And it's not that I don't spend quality time with Pickles. I do. But I am not happy with that either. I always feel I am not doing enough.
Ma had a job, a busy workaholic husband, minimal help and 4 kids. Still, Ma was always happy and had a smile on her face and no complaints. I have a job, a very helpful partner, full-time help and one little kid, but you will still hear me complaining that I don't have enough time to do everything I want. The amount of time that she had and I do are similar but the problem, I realised is that I want to do more and more. I am never satisfied. Maybe I should slow down and do fewer things for now. I should probably pick the things I want to do carefully and put off the rest until Pickles grows up. Maybe that will make for more quality time with Pickles and a happier me!