I have been a rolling stone I admit. Not having been very lucky as far immediate supervisors go, I have been easily demotivated at work and have hence switched jobs far too often. Some bosses were insecure, some lazy, some pathological liars and one has been particularly nasty. But luckily I have not been unsuccessful at work. Call it luck or skill, I have enjoyed the work I do when I do and I have produced results.
The objective of this ‘self-glorifying’ rant is to let you know that when it came to making a decision to quit or continue work post-baby, the choice was very simple for me. My work did not mean as much to me because I was never very ambitious. Maybe it was simple because I was lucky enough to not be responsible for putting food on the table. This is a luxury my husband afforded me and I could make this call very comfortably. It was initially quite difficult to take money for my or baby’s everyday needs from him. It wasn’t an uncomfortable idea as much as it was unusual. But we mutually decided and he more than supported me in the decision. The shift was strange for him as well, but he really appreciated the individual attention and care our child was receiving as a result of this decision and does to this day.
I had never planned to quit work post-baby. Always admired women who managed a career and children together and I also had full intention to do the same. To this end I joined an organization where there was a Day Care facility and that was much-touted as an added feature during a formal introductory tour of the facility. Later, we discovered that no child-care company was willing to take on the contract of this particular day care as it was situated on the sixth floor in a building with no elevator access after the fourth. There was no fire exit and the overall environment not conducive to managing a bunch of children together, no matter what the resources. This fact, partially, made my decision for me.
What followed was interesting. My feelings were all over the place:
I’m a new mom
This baby is mine and I am responsible for him
Is he really?
What if I make a mistake
Oh God this is so boring
Sigh, I really miss work
Thank God I don’t have to work and I can wear pyjamas all day and take naps
Naps are so boring
What would I not give to wear eyeliner and heels and sit in a meeting
This motley of feelings came and left and in the midst of it all, rage and fury fell sporadically on the husband for not being as hands-on as my lofty expectations of him regarding the same. I admit I was unfair. I don’t really know if he could do more than he did but at that particular point I sure as hell felt like he wasn’t doing enough. Galactic battles ensued.
Jealousy also reared its ugly head. ‘Look at him shower and change and look all spic and span and LEAVE the house without a care in the world. Oh how I hate this.’ *seethe*burn*sizzle* Why did I resent him when it was my personal choice? He never asked me to quit work or to exclusively breastfeed? Why did I lash out at him? It was unfair that’s why. But what could he do about it. What can he do? This whole situation will repeat itself in a few more years and the issues will be compounded. Will I remember that it’s not his fault. Yes, it is his problem and he does empathize, but what can he do?
What I tend to forget is that just like the finances are his primary responsibility, the baby is mine. I forget this. He did not impose anything on me. It was and still is my decision; by fighting and arguing I am not honoring my own decision. My relationship with my husband is not a feminist issue, it is NOT a battle of the sexes. I must realize and appreciate it. At the end of it all, it does boil down to a few male-female decisions and its not a personal slur on my feminist upbringing that I am taking care of the kids while the male member of the house is making ends meet. It is my choice, my personal decision to do exactly this. In a few years I will go back to work, I will juggle it all. But in the meanwhile, I’m rocking this Stay At Home Mom shit and I choose to live in this moment.