May 17, 2019 | Read time: 3 mins

May 17, 2019 | Read time:

When I received the email from Klay on the movement of “Bridging the Guilt Gap”, it instantly took me back a few years. Moments that make me the mother that I am today flashed before me. What stood out was the fact that many little decisions have made me who I am today. Right from the decision on parenthood, pregnancy management, choice of doctor, prenatal yoga, natural vs. c-sec delivery, every day since entails a decision – big or small. Infact I’ve come to realize that if anyone is looking for a crash-course in decision making, joining the motherhood bandwagon may be a good starting point.

I know now that these decisions come with either feelings of triumph or of guilt and can be overwhelming. Here are some of my most vivid guilt-ridden moments and what I’ve done about them.

A. The guilt of using diapers

Every new mother in India goes through this at some stage in some varying degree. When I was just too exhausted with constantly changing nappies and was not able to get even two straight hours of sleep, this was one of the most sensible decisions to take. Using a diaper is completely safe, convenient and allowed me rest that I truly deserved.

I believed that while my baby was priority, so was I. Because without me being able to operate at atleast 90% efficiency, there really would be no point in doing anything the so-called “right way”.

I used good quality diapers, changed them more often than necessary and balanced diaper times with cloth nappies or just natural state – stark naked time. Ofcourse with a baby boy, the latter option came with additional responsibilities of washing extra pieces of furniture, but hey, that’s part of the package.

B. The guilt of outsourcing care to a third party

For a working mother who chooses to go back to work, this is a nightmare. With grandparents having strong opinions about all alternate options,  with trustworthy nannies being hard to find and with money being a critical factor, this decision marks a watershed in every working mom’s life.

My decision to enroll my son in a daycare, though hugely debated and treated with skepticism, has been one of the best ever. There is no doubt that my employer, GCPL and the daycare on premises, Klay made it a transition that could only be described as smooth and easy.

However, the guilt of not being there for my baby was nevertheless HUGE. A few steps that helped me overcome this guilt were:

  • choosing the right daycare that other mothers vouched for personally;
  • being over-involved in helping the child and the caregiver get comfortable with each other;
  • reflecting on what my real fears were and having conversations about them with my husband, parents and in-laws;
  • shamelessly showcasing the triumphs of my child in social settings by using what he learnt at the daycare to reiterate how the decision was infact perfectly right. ☺

C. The guilt of keeping up

I wish I could bake healthy or dish-up nutritious meals for my child and I do wish I could ensure that he sleeps enough. I often feel guilty of not being able to do everything that perhaps my mother did for me or other mothers still do for their kids. But I realize that this constant comparison not only harms me, but also my child. I instead choose to over-invest in what I believe I do well. Here are some examples:

  • I read extensively to my son, who now enjoys story telling. I also lead by example by always having a book with me that I read.
  • When I play with my son, even if it means for 15 minutes, I ensure that my attention is undivided and I am completely zoned-in.
  • I try and imbibe the right values of dignity of work and sharing household responsibilities. I can proudly say that my 3.5 year old son helps me around the house; he helps clear his own clutter as a night-time ritual, keep away groceries in the kitchen, tries his hand at folding his own napkins and trousers, keeps away his own dishes in the sink, tosses his clothes in the washing machine and even helps his grand-dad wash his car when on holiday.

The list of guilt-ridden decisions is never ending. But I realize each mother is unique, yet all mothers are the same in their intent of wanting the best for their children. There’s no right or wrong in what we do, even as we do things in our own way. I love my child unequivocally and I strongly believe that at the end of the day, this love is what matters to him the most.

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