Wednesday, 16 April 2014

I left my employer for a tougher boss


Wish granted

A couple of years ago, I had to make the hardest decision in my life thus far. The list of pros and cons showed a massive tilt on the cons side of things. The cons bore down on me heavily.

Listening to some friends and family expressing their concern over my decision, just made it tougher. I still vividly remember the time when I had to express my intention to resign. When I finally gathered the courage to walk into my superior’s office to hand in my resignation letter (after crying my heart out in the office restroom before), he spent the next full hour consoling me. He told me it was alright and that it was very selfless of me to put another being's need before my own.


Fast forward

Today, as we were driving to meet my mom-in-law who is battling cancer, my husband looked at me and said "Thank you" for doing what I did. If I had not resigned, it would have been very tough to travel this often to meet his ailing mom and that "it was the best decision we ever made".

Like any profession, stay-at-home moms have their own shares of ups and downs. It is not easier than being a working mom, neither is it tougher. It is simply different. I still have mixed emotions on being a stay-at-home mom but am usually won over by the output I see reflected in my children’s actions and mannerism.

In the good ol’ days

When I was a working mom, I used to believe life must be quite easy and simple for stay-at-home moms. That they spent their whole day lounging at home with no care or stress. Boy, was I wrong! I take back all the snide remarks and thoughts I made when I saw these mothers leisurely pushing their baby in their stroller, window shopping while I had to hurriedly fill my tummy during my short lunch breaks.

I used to say to my other mummy friends, how I wished I was a stay-at-home mom so that I would have all the time in the world for pedicures, manicures, long lunches, many coffee breaks and no deadlines. How I would not have to worry about beating the morning rush and being in the office before my boss. How I would not have go the extra mile to gain the promotion and salary hike and getting dressed for work (Yes! I loathed the arduous morning regimental practise of a working woman - make up, neatly pressed clothes and polished court shoes.

Let me repeat "Boy, was I wrong!" 


Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, most of my wishes were granted but with a twist. I finally understand what the phrase 'be careful for what you wish for' actually means. It sunk in pretty good.

I got the very long lunch breaks, too long to be honest. Sometimes my lunch breaks can stretch to two hours, because it is not easy trying to feed a toddler who is learning the meaning of independence and using the word “NO!” as if it’s the only good word to know.

Forget about going to a nail salon, I can’t even find time to cleanse, tone and moisturise properly because I am too preoccupied worrying about what is my little side kick is
up to while I am taking my 3-minutes shower.

Did I time myself in the shower? No! I discovered it recently, when I managed to get in and out of the shower before the song - 'Let it go' from Frozen - ended.

But life as a stay-at-home mom, is not all that bleak.

Before I bore you with all the extrinsic values of being a stay at home mom, let me tell you this. It is truly the BEST DECISION EVER I have made.
There are days, you would hear me complain about how unhappy and lonely I have become or feel under appreciated but these days are not often and don’t last long. There is a mantra I keep referring to whenever I feel doubtful.

If you stay at home with children and realise you made a mistake, you can always go back to work, but if you go to work and realise you made a mistake, you can never get back your children’s early years.

Those years are gone, forever. The sands of time and all that.

My mornings are no longer as chaotic and it's brilliant when you don’t have to rush in the morning. Today after a light drizzle, the park looked exceptionally beautiful because the trees shed it's flowers and covered the surrounding ground with them. The usually hard and prickly ground felt very soft to step on. The girls had a wonderful time walking and opening the flower buds which fell on the ground.


This is the kind of opportunity I had missed performing with my older child because I was a working mom then. I spent just over 2 months with her before I had to return to work. But I managed to do both - be a mom and still hold a career. Everything seemed fine because I made sure she had everything an infant, toddler or child needed. I was a ‘by-the-book’ parent, feeding her body and mind with the food and information recommended. Little did I know I was neglecting a big part of her, her soul and emotions. But luckily for me it was not too late. She may have picked up a few habits from all the years she spent in her nanny’s care but I am glad they’re slowly eroding. It is evident to me, she is becoming a more confident and caring person.

Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I feel I’ve become a better person. It has taught me to stop being cynical and negative. It has also taught me to be more careful with my words and take time to reflect. I know I am not the most patient person you’d probably have met and can easily get offended, but nowadays I try to hold back and let these troubling thoughts just pass me by.

Kids are like sponges, they absorb everything they see and hear, especially when they’re not supposed to.

I am now extra careful when I am driving with them present in the car because they are watching and learning my every move. Even when you think they are busy doing something in the back seat of my car, I’m being observed with hawk like eyes.   

I remember not long ago, I loudly cursed at a car overtaking me and blocking my way. At the mention of the forbidden word, I could see through my rear view mirror their tiny heads bobbing up like meerkats. The very next day my 4 year old mimicked my curse loudly and proudly when the car in front of us stopped. Unfortunately for me, on that day my father in law was sitting next to me. So when he asked her why did she say so, she simply said “Mummy said so!” Imagine how flabbergasted I was! What explanation could I have offered? I just kept on driving, all communications ceased. Luckily for me, it was a short drive.


Be a good role model

The best thing about being a stay-at-home mom is that I can help develop and shape my children’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ). I am not so worried about their Intelligence Quotient (IQ) because I know, they will eventually learn it in school and many other institutes, picking it up along as they grow. But I cannot say the same for EQ.

With a solid base or strong foot holding, I believe my children will survive in any given situation later in their life. I know I am not going to be around forever to help or guide them in their trials and tribulations, so I can only hope to equip them well enough when facing these times of adversity. That they will possess self-awareness and self-regulations needed to emerge calm and not cause harm to another when they are facing their own calamity. Because it is usually easier to vent our frustration on others than learning to channel it positively.

To be empathetic individuals that can understand the emotions of others and learn to treat them as they wish to be treated.  
To have a strong drive to achieve whatever they set their mind on, no matter how long and arduous the journey may be.
To not focus solely on external motivations like remuneration, recognition and status.
To not feel intimidated or too shy when they meet new people in new territories.
To be able build a rapport meeting someone new. 

It is a tall order but it is achievable and I have already seen some of these traits appearing.

Each time I see my child reach out to help another person or shed a tear after listening to how there are many less fortunate children, I feel I did something right. A couple of days back, as I was busy packing some clothes, which my toddler had outgrown to give away to an orphanage, I asked the girls to help pack these clothes. What impressed me most was that they went through each piece of clothing to make sure it was in very good condition. When they saw I did not have much, they gave away some of their more new clothes. When I asked why, they said just because these children did not have parents and lived with little, didn’t mean they only deserved our unwanted clothes. “I want to make them happy, the way I felt when you bought me this dress”.


This article was featured in BabyTalk magazine (April 2014)


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  1. Empathy is a quality I'd really love for my children to have, too!