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    3. I Awarded Myself The Title 'Worst Mother'

    I Awarded Myself The Title 'Worst Mother'

    Kerina De Floras Kerina De Floras 5 Mins Read

    Kerina De Floras Kerina De Floras

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    Here’s a dose of inspiration from Antara, who not long ago awarded herself the tag ‘Worst mother’ but is today a guilt-free and happy parent

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    I Awarded Myself The Title 'Worst Mother'

    A five-year-old racing around in his red scooter, a two-year-old fussing because his Helium balloon is stuck on the ceiling, and a constant stream of chaos and noise from outside my home office – all of these confirmed one thing – meeting my deadline that night was going to be close to impossible. Deadlines are at the heart of the writing world and I understand that a writer and aspiring author’s credibility depends on the ability to meet them.

    The challenge gets that much tougher when you try hard to balance work with life at home, irrespective of how old the children are. It is a crucial and inevitable part of the parenting journey.

    My Life (as it is)

    Rewind to 2014

    I went back to work eight months after my elder son Dev was born. I was always resolute to never let motherhood determine who I am, as I believe there is life beyond that. But the minute I sat down in that office chair, a gigantic wave of guilt hit me with unrelenting force.

    "I remember beating myself up for not spending 24/7 at home with Dev, and I awarded myself the title ‘Worst mother’ for ‘abandoning’ him. Dev, on the other hand, was oblivious and was basking in the attention of my mother, mother-in-law, and nanny."

    The next few days were the same. However, with time, the mom-guilt faded a little. The benefits of being back at work so quickly outweighed my concerns. I also realized that those few hours away re-energized me, and Dev was one step closer to becoming independent.

    When my younger son Shiv was born in 2017, I was better prepared. By now, my writing career had taken off and so working from home was a bonus. However, this time, there was a different set of challenges. I was left floundering, trying to keep both my children happy and write at the same time. I let them play in the room as I worked at my desk. But, that did not work as well as I had hoped for. This was when I realized that with children, quality trumps quantity. I then chalked out a schedule, let go of the guilt, and focused on spending time with my children in the best possible way, while I devoted a specified number of hours to my work. I must say, it’s been working great so far.

    What I do is not unique or a timetable-restricted plan. I take things slow and make the most out of simple tasks and opportunities.

    A typical day in my life

    I handle the drop-offs and pick-ups to school and evening classes for Dev. We converse during the transit. One of Dev's favorite pastimes is reading and listening to stories, so the morning ride to school is always spent exchanging stories.

    After dropping Dev at the school, Shiv and I attend a 'mom and me' class at Dev’s school. The one-hour and fifteen-minute session provides a stimulating and engaging environment for child-parent bonding. We engage in activities like music, dance, yoga, sand play, splash pool, storytime, exercise, puzzles, artwork, and movement.

    Once we return home, Shiv plays with his nanny and I use the time solely for writing. A writer’s biggest need is complete focus and attention to the task at hand. I then take a break to pick up Dev from school. The ride back is spent talking about how his day was in school. There are four questions I usually ask him. I came up with these after my initial attempts at “What did you do at school today?” was met with a happy “Nothing” from him.

    Our four great conversation starters:
    • What was the funniest part of your day?
    • What was the most interesting thing that you learned?
    • Did anyone or anything make you sad?
    • Were you kind to anyone today?

    After we reach home and get refreshed, I resume my work. The children are with their caring nannies. In the evening, I take Dev to his classes. I also take Shiv to play-areas. Once bedtime routines are finished and the boys are asleep, work continues till my mind finally sends me a signal to wind down.

    Our boys’ nannies are family to us. I cannot do it alone – meet deadlines, be a mother and make time for myself. When I am working at home or out at meetings, the nannies monitor lunch, playtime before classes, and bathtime. Trust is often an issue for most parents. Horror stories are exchanged at every possible moment and we think that whatever has happened to someone else will most certainly happen to us. However, to lead a life aside from motherhood, we need to be able to let go, trust and delegate. Of course, I took the effort and I was lucky that I found two wonderful nannies who are young, motivated, energetic, and full of life.

    Over time, I realized that this was life as I knew it, and it was one that I would not exchange for any other. I can never imagine a life without the constant struggle of rushing to meet deadlines and answering a preschooler’s continuous stream of ‘why’ questions.

    "The tunnel of changes that I have passed through to be able to do it all has deeply increased my faith in myself as a mother; something that is tested throughout the journey of parenting."

    And when my children come running to me with a ‘Love you, Mumma’, I cannot ask for better acceptance, approval, and validation. I’m certainly doing it right for us all, and you can too!

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