Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Mommy and me
“Hello. Is that Urmi…Chanda Vaz?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
“This is X from Y company.”
“Yes X, tell me.”
“This is about a job opportunity. Is this good time to speak to you?”
“You were working with Pune Mirror before this, right?”
“May I know why you left?”
“Yes, I’ve had a baby. Been on a maternity break for six months now.”
This is pretty much the crux of every conversation between me and potential recruiters nowadays.
Five months of giving those answers and I still feel like I’m talking about someone else sometimes.
I have a 5-month-old? Really?
For a reality this size, it seems to be taking awfully long to sink in. Or perhaps I’m clinging on too tightly to my old self. But for all the shorts and tees, motherhood has been insidiously creping into my personality. It’s like a peel of cling-wrap that you can’t technically see, but know is there.
Urmi Chanda-Vaz, who famously hates kids and continues to advice child-free couples to stay so, is changing. Slow, but firm and perhaps permanent changes seem to be taking place, sometimes even without my permission.
Motherhood’s made me hard. And motherhood’s made me soft. I’ve hardened to Jishnu’s tantrums and can let him wail alone in the bedroom while I do dishes in the kitchen. But a softy has been co-created too, who’ll run from any end of the planet to her son when he bitterly cries for his mamma.
Speaking of hard, my hands seem to have become pretty hard too. Pulling feeding bottles out of boiling water after they are sterilised doesn’t seem to hurt when my baby is hungry.
Jishnu still seems like a big, irritating interruption in my life more often than not, but I almost fired one of my maids the other day when she dared criticise him. (Okay, it wasn’t that bad. She just said, “Kitna rota hai yeh”.)
Motherhood has become an incessant struggle about integrating who I was and who I am becoming. For the greater part, it is a job I don’t like, but want to do it perfectly, because any job worth doing is worth doing well.
Motherhood has meant giving up a lot – a city, a job, a waist, a life and heck, even whatever was left of my intimate life what with Jishnu sleeping in our bed! Also, Jishnu has come between Viren and me in more ways than one. I hardly ever have the time, inclination or mental energy to invest in what used to be a very interesting partnership. It’s scary. I’m definitely not liking losing out on Vir because of Jishnu. But I don’t see myself doing anything about it, coz I’m so zonked all the time. Perhaps when I start working again and become an equal on all terms, including caring for our son and the household, will I be able to achieve that elusive work-life balance. Because, right now, the scale is more than skewed by seven and a half kilos of that incredibly cute pile of flesh that is my son, drawing me deeper into that inescapable mire called motherhood.