Jumping right into the SAHM(Stay At Home Mothers) v/s Working Mothers discussion. I am a working mother and my mom looks after my daughter. MM's post about SAHM and working Mother did get into quite an interesting discussion and made me re-think. Here is Rohini's take on it. Here is mine.
In my opinion, a Mother needs to be happy & content to raise happy kids. Whatever makes a mother happy should be done, be it stay-at-home or working. Never try either if you are not convinced.
To narrate my personal experience, I & P had taken 2 weeks leave for Christmas to be at home with Joyce. We did not plan to go out anywhere, just at home, her granny had gone visiting her daughter meanwhile. I went through the daily routines, cooking, cleaning, washing, folding & the 100 jobs that come along. After 2 days, I called my sister and told her it was so much fun. I baked cakes for my daughter's first Christmas, not 1 or 2, but 6 cakes in all. That tells you about my excitement. But after a week, I was bored. I was bored with the household chores. Cleaning, cooking, washing .. the never ending ordeal. It could have been the extra enthu of cooking 3-course meals too but I knew then, I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. My Hats off to SAHMs. My work keeps me happy. I go home all eager to see my baby. The moment we ring the bell, we hear her bangles on the floor as she crawls towards the door, these days its the tinklets. It refreshes & re-energizes us to live the second part of the day. So far have managed with no commitments beyond 6.
From the time when she was 4 months, when I joined work uptill 7months(then it got cold in the mornings), I used to bathe her in the morning. Not to discipline her or sort but because it was very special ritual between me and my baby. I would massage her, sing to her, bathe her on my legs, wipe her dry, apply the moisturizer, the powder, she would smell like morning dew(actually Johnson's dew:) ) and then would feed her and put her to sleep. It was important to me. In all probably 45-50 mins. then in the next 15 mins I would rush thru my chores and leave. I love to see her sleep after her bath, all clean and happy.
Any amount of time that we spend with our baby, if we are happy, I think the baby is happy. That is quality time to me. When I & P start arguing, she would start crying. Its just the tone and the vibes probably, the moment we shift gears from normal chit-chats to arguing, she gets affected. The point I am trying to make is, our mood, our spirits affect the child more than anybody else's. So its us, who needs to be happy with the choices we make.
MM raised the point about Grandparents being done with their parenting, I completely agree. But I want to believe I am not taxing my mom with my daughter. The days I feel mom isn't well or my baby isn't, or if my mom needs to go out, I make sure I am there. I do not want my mom or in-laws to feel constrained because of my daughter. The truth is I did rather leave my daughter with them than in anyone else's care. I am willing to go that extra mile to accommodate their plans. My mother once told me, as grand parents its very easy to love & take care of your grand children because you see your child grow up once again but this time you have no responsibility and do not have to worry about savings, the job, studies or the future. Also I do not deny that I cannot totally get-away with parenting my style. I live with the ones I can handle and I try my best to explain and reason the ones I cannot totally handle.
And finally, I am very clear I am doing all this for my own happiness. I hope never in the future I will loose my reasoning to tell my daughter, oh I slogged away for you.