Monday, August 31, 2009

How Do You Define "Liberation?"

This morning another one of my good friends entered back into the workforce after her maternity leave. What once was the occasional “I am so sad today, I miss my kids” has turned into a feeling best described by a severing of limbs. I know this is graphic and I definitely do not mean to be gross but I think we are all missing raising our children more and more. Tears, sadness and depression have become the norm lately for all mothers I know who work away from their children. I am not sure why.

My friends and I are certainly at the appropriate age to be experiencing these emotions since we are in the prime of child rearing so that maybe some of it but I think that this is more. Something is happening on a deeper level. Is there another movement out there starting to stir? Is this the “anti-feminist” (that is “feminist” as we most popularly hear about it) movement? I know some of you may be defensive of this but hear me out. I am all for “equal pay for equal work” and “women's suffrage” but I am also all for whatever makes you happy. Ironically enough today is the first day that I have been unemployed since 1998 when I graduated from college. Today I am 33 years old and have stepped out of the work force and away from my not-so-negligible salary to be at home with my girls. I get to do everything for them MYSELF and to me that is liberating. What is liberating to you?

God bless my sweet and supportive husband for without him I would not be able to make such a dramatic change.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When He Is Away...

I do seem to get more done when he is not home. Why the heck would that be true? I have two children three and under so it is not like help is not of value to me. I certainly do need and readily accept help but I noticed last Tuesday night when my husband went to play tennis, which he does every Tuesday night, that every time he is gone I seem to get everything done no problem and have both girls in bed on time, early even. Then I started thinking about times when he has been gone for a couple of days at a time and how I always get the laundry done and the house in order during his absence. My husband is by no means lazy at all. He cooks, takes care of the kids, and straightens the house as well as the rest of them (husbands )but for some reason things are neater, easier, and sometimes more peaceful when he is away…Is it because he is like having another kid?

I could argue for or against this at any given time but I think the true answer is; maybe. For example I don’t mind if my kids are whining for a few minutes because they want my attention but I am cleaning up the living room before their bath so I don’t have to do it once I come down from putting them to bed. But when my husband is home I can’t allow them to whine because he cannot tolerate that sound. So the house stays messy until either he cleans it up while I am bathing them, he comes down and cleans it up, or I come down and clean it up. Which means we get “done” later.

Or maybe it is even because of the mess he makes. If it isn’t the clothes, shoes, and work bag all around the house then it is the dirty dishes from the meal he had to have when I could have been happy with a sandwich or a bowl of cereal. All I can tell you is that he is gone right now (to Kentucky for a Fantasy Football draft which may be the topic of another post for the way I feel about that…) and it is 8:00 pm, both kids are sound asleep and I am having a glass of wine while writing this post. I will probably be asleep very soon myself.

The “why” of it I may never know but what I do know is that I am not alone. So many of my friends have the same experiences when their husbands are gone. Maybe we should start a new holiday and call it “Productive Women’s Day” when we all send our husbands away so we can get stuff done!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Amazing Bond Between Mothers

It is amazing the bond between mothers. Tonight my daughters had their last classes. One finished “dancenastics” at Salem Gym and the other finished gymnastics at the same place. They both had great fun! But what I wanted to talk to you about is the incredible and pretty immediate bond that mothers can share. Harmonie, Julie and I laughed tonight about how much we had talked all summer long while our daughters danced (or cried) and tonight as we exchanged personal e-mail addresses we did not even know one another’s names!

I mean there have been several months and many more topics of conversation shared among us. From what we found going on around the Triad to who cares for our girls to what we thought of schools in the area. Such a wide range and of things that we openly shared our inner thoughts and feelings about without even exchanging names! And I felt such warmth as I sat in the bleachers with them on Tuesday nights. When I forgot my daughter’s ballet bag one Tuesday they were the first (and only) ones to tell me that it was alright and to try and console me. I find this truly amazing.

I wonder why we mothers share so openly with one another. I think it is because once you become a mother and regardless of anything else it is understood by other mothers that we need each other. Our husbands are nice don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is so nice to start at the same point of understanding with someone. You see, no matter what anyone says mothers and fathers are distinctly individual. That is not to say that in extenuating circumstances men cannot morph into what their kids need in a mother. What I am saying is that they did not start that way. When our children are placed into our arms we never let them go and this is one thing that all of us share, embrace and understand. Our hubbies might try but we are the only ones who truly get it…I love all you moms.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


“Nobody who gets old and looks back on their life says ‘gosh, I wish I would have worked more and spent less time with my kids.’” The wise words of a woman who now has 2 adult children and often wishes she had spent more time with them as they grew up. They are also the words that pushed me over the metaphorical edge. On Thursday I gave my two week notice and for all intents and purposes retired from the workforce and my pretty lucrative job in pharmaceutical sales. As women it is our responsibility to do what feels right to us since we are usually the pillars of the family. I am now going to do what I love the most and that is raise my two girls and take care of my family.

People have said to me “you are lucky you can do that,” and these words puzzle me. What do you mean “I can do that?” The truth is that it is not really a “can” it is more of a “will.” You see, I have not won the lottery nor have I inherited a large sum of money from anywhere that will guarantee me anything. But what guarantees are we given in life anyway? The only thing you are guaranteed is the moment you are in and the fact that one day your physical body will parish. I recently heard the story of a 30 year old woman from Ohio who was taken to the hospital on a Saturday for having a seizure out of the blue and she died on Monday. She left behind her a young son (pray for him). Do you think that if she would have known that she was going to die at 30 she would have worried about work, retirement, money or tenure? I guess it is possible that she loved her job but the more likely answer is that she would have spent every moment with those she loved and doing what she loved. I do not mean to be morbid or to suggest that our decisions in life should be influenced at all by a fear of death. More what I am saying is that we should spend our time here on earth feeling good, being happy, making others happy and doing what we love. I have just been pulled so hard in the direction of my children that gradually the importance of money fell away from my (and my husband’s) mind. To me there is so much joy, love and peace spontaneously generated when I can care for my girls myself that it has somehow replaced the need for me to think about money. I think I now understand exactly what people mean when they say “faith.” I have stepped out on faith so to speak and I know that because I am doing what feels right to me that it will hold me up.

Have you ever stepped out on faith?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Enjoy Each Moment

Tonight while I was putting my 3yo girl to bed something hit me. I had finally gotten her to sleep and (believe me when I say that we have “Baby Wise-ed” and “Furberized” her to the max) was sneaking out of her bed ever so stealthily with the intent of leaving her sleep intact when it occurred to me how much time I spend sneaking out of the bed with her. Every nap and bed time I get her to sleep and then there I am trying to be a contortionist aiming to get out of her bed as I cringe and flinch at every creak and pop of the bed until finally I am out and off into whatever I feel I need to be doing. Off into the freedom that I want at the moment.

The thing about this is that one day the roles will be reversed and she will be sneaking away from me. We all did it. You know, sneaking out of the homes where our parents slept as we went gallivanting through the neighborhood with the boy of the hour. All too soon she is going to want me to leave her room so that she can get on with her own life. I am not suggesting that she is going to actually sneak out of our house (she would never want to nor would she ever get away with this. Right?) I am saying that just around the corner is the day when she does not want me to put her to bed at all anymore. And then what will I do with my time? I assure you that I will not be any more productive than I am now with the time I sometimes think I desperately need to get work done.

We cannot nor should we want to stop the natural progression of life but it is our responsibility to enjoy the moments we are given. I am actually quite grateful for this revelation of sorts because it has drawn my attention to the rush I am in to get her to bed and into the “land of nod” so that I can tackle whatever task is beckoning me away from what is truly important. Now. That is what I need to have my complete attention on and put my full energy toward. This very moment. What an angelic sight she is to see as she sleeps. With her eyes closed she looks like a cherub. I will enjoy these moments more now. Aren’t they all we really have in the end?

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Were You Before You Became a Mother or Father?

Oh yeah, I am a sister too…

Before I became a wife and then a mother I was a sister. I am the oldest of 4 children and the only girl. And a “girlie girl” at that. This should set the stage for you. Now add in the fact that I am five and a half years older than a set of twin brothers. I remember the day my parents brought them home from the hospital. I was in love with them at first sight. In fact I think they were the first men that I ever loved. I am a daddy’s girl and do love my dad but he was different when I was little and that is the subject for another time.

Growing up I always kind of thought I was their mom and was always carrying them around everywhere I went. I brushed their teeth, gave them baths and put them to bed with nighttime stories. While my role did change as we aged into little adults we stayed this close. I deemed it my responsibility to ensure that they were taken care of in the best way possible. It wasn’t that my mom was not there it was just that we were the first generation of Indians in my family to be born in the United States so my parents sometimes did not know what to do in certain situations. When I left for college they had just started their eighth grade year in school and I remember not being able to pick them up and carry them anymore. It was pretty sad.

When I started writing this, I was sitting in the DoubleTree hotel in Bethesda, MD, on a hotel bed, next to my own three year old girl awaiting the graduation of one of my baby brothers from medical school. How weird?! He got married last year to a young lady who is a dermatology resident and he will start his residency in a couple of months in Emergency Medicine in Dallas, TX where they just bought their first new home. Time sure does fly. I feel as proud and excited his mother (my mom) does.

Today I feel especially thankful for having him in my life. I am so thankful that my mom had them and that we had the opportunity to become so close. My brothers (all three of them) are the keepers of my secrets, the guardians of my heart, and the reasons for so many happy times in my life. We are soul mates. I truly believe that certain people are meant to be together and personally I am lucky that I did not have to look outside of my own home growing up to find them.

I think as mothers and wives it becomes easy to forget some of our other roles. The part we play as mothers is to me the most important and rewarding for sure but there were those times when we were not mothers and we made lasting impressions and built lasting relationships with others who at the time were the most important people in our lives. If you are an older sister you will probably be able to relate to this best because I have found that we older sisters have a bond. Particularly with those older sisters who have younger brothers. My brothers’ wives also appreciate me (maybe because they too have younger brothers) for the fact that my brothers make really wonderful husbands. In general, men who have older sisters know how to get along with and care for women and make the best partners. Do you remember before you were a mom or dad?