There is No Such Thing As Guilt Free Parenting

I think in my 4 years and 10 months as a parent, I have concluded that definitely.

I read this (http://lifeandtimesinbangalore.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/give-the-guilt-up-first/))Β wonderful post by Sangi (Well, all her posts are wonderful, but this one touch a chord very near to the heart)

When I was really sick last month and was in bed, RD, my Amma and R were all sitting next to me. Something happened and R said ‘Mereko jabhi chotu baby hoyega toh main toh uske saath rahungi, main usko daycare nahi chodungi, aur maine office nahi jaungi’ (When I have a small baby, I will stay with the baby, not leave the baby in the daycare and I will not go to office)

I was shell shocked doesnt even describe what I felt. I had tears welling up my eyes (I have conjunctivitis as well, anyways there were tears gah!) when my Amma, looked at me and explained to me that all kids go through this stage in life between 5 years to 10 years. Initially they crib, but eventually they are proud of their mothers working. I was the same she said with a smile. RD meanwhile had taken R out of the room and they were playing.

Since Amma made me feel good about the whole thing, I didnt take it seriously. Plus after reading Sangi’s post, I was determined to say Gah! to the Guilt..until

Today morning the brat said the same words again. When I have a small baby, I will stay at home with the child and not send the child to daycare.

I asked the brat why she is saying that, and she told me aise hi, maine decide kar diya hai (Just like that, I have decided!)

and I felt the guilt again.

Is this just a child’s thought or does she really not want a working mother? Does she really miss me or is this her way of telling me that she wants to sleep a little longer? I dont know, but Sangi, I am really sorry to tell you, that I have concluded that there can not be any gah to guilt from my end, at least as far as parenting is concerned 😦

Advertisements

About R's Mom

Not-so-new-mom
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to There is No Such Thing As Guilt Free Parenting

  1. uma says:

    Please don’t feel guilty as there is no end to this feeling..All I can say is R is just going through a phase, growing up, forming up her own ideas and notions which cannot be drawn as a final conclusion. I don’t think it necessarily means that she resents going to the day care. We all know how much she enjoys the place. I guess every child will like to touch that raw nerve in their parents at some stage. You can probably tell her in many ways how much the work means to you and also give her the choice to make her own decision when she grows up. Staying at home or going to work after being a mom has got nothing to do with the kind of parent that you are.

    • R's Mom says:

      Yaa I agree its a phase…but its just that 😦 😦 Oh she loves going to daycare, she told me today to ask RD to pick her up really really late!

      Thanks for that last line..muah!

  2. Prachi says:

    Well RM….I agree – guilt free parenting does not exists – specially for working moms.
    I don’t know whether we are doing right or wrong…but I wish I could be SAHM.
    However, sitting at home when Lil champ is not around and not having that monthly pay check scares me…!!!

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont wish to be a SAHM at all Prachi…I like working honestly!

      • Prachi says:

        Actually I also love my routine, but just wish to spend some more time with kiddo, specially at this tender age…later on he will be busy with his own stuff…!!
        Thinking from the other perspective, being a SAHM is more difficult, one has to manage all the household chores as well. So quality time spend will be same or even lesser I guess….!!
        I got the answer, Thanks RM. And Guilt and mommyhood goes hand in hand. We will learn to live with it…!!!

  3. 😦

    This is something I have seen most working parents undergo. That said, I think there will be instances of parental guilt irrespective of whether you work or not. I don’t think I will be a guilt-free mother, either. Somehow, I know.

    • R's Mom says:

      I think there will be instances of parental guilt irrespective of whether you work or not. – I think I do agree with this wholeheartedly πŸ™‚

  4. Ramya says:

    I strongly believe the mommy guilt is completely coz of the society where we grow up… Do the US women, UK women feel same? I doubt very much. And RM, even I too went thru Sangi’s post. Honestly speaking though I wanted to throw the guilt away, I still have it how much ever I try. That 2 with 2 guys in hand am starting to feel much more guilty. When in-laws talk as if its in their mercy I am able to bring them up am bugged off really. The elder one goes to day care and younger one has full time maid at home. So whats their mercy… Gaah….Anyway wanting and being are 2 different things and I am digesting that. But I do wonder at Vidya and want to get into that zen mode soon πŸ˜‰

    • R's Mom says:

      Super duper Congrats on the second one :):)

      I can understand..big big big hugs to you!

      But I am sure US/UK women feel the same guilt..yes as a society we do make a fuss about working mothers! Check the huffington post link in the other comment here..its fabulous!

  5. Santulan says:

    I think it changes from family to family.

    As a kid I had to go through daycare or staying at a lady’s house (to whom mom paid) after I got back from school and till mom came back from work.. But I never felt of having a stay at home mom.. Maybe I never felt attached to mom, so it might work different for me..

    Since R loves you sooo much, and at the same time sees that her friends get to have their mom at home, she craves for you.. Maybe as she grows up, she will take to the idea of both parents working more easily..

    Slightly off the topic, but I believe this adds pressure on the mom because kids predominantly want mom to be at home which causes her to feel like you do, and none of this happens to the dad.

  6. Sumana says:

    Ahh hugs RM, completely understand how the kids express their feelings. Words don’t roll out when my daughter says “Amma all the aunties in our building stay home, why do you have to go to work? ” I have told her many times that i feel bored when they are at school and don’t know what to do. So work keeps me busy. But she comes back do what the other aunties do. Also when the son asks, why do you go to work, you don’t like to stay with us i know… It is just like throwing stones at the heart. Guilt is what a mother is i feel sometimes.

  7. SG says:

    Hi R’s Mom..This article might help -http://www.huffingtonpost.com/parentingcom/dear-daughter-heres-why-i_b_3069576.html

  8. chipmunk says:

    RM its the age, she may get to know about couple of her friends parents and from there she learns things, cheer up, its a phase, it will fly. Explain her, she will capture it, hugs, Take care

  9. Ashwathy says:

    Ok this is one post of yours where I do not know what to say.
    On one hand, R is being innocent… she is just saying what is on her mind and once she is older she will understand the picture.
    On the other hand, kids do enjoy having someone at home all the time… it’s just inbuilt to their nature.

    Er…I don’t know. I will just take a look at the comments of some more experienced people.

    Hugs!! Do not take it too seriously.

    It’s funny, isn’t it? You never realised while you were a kid, how much of an effect your words would have on your parents isn’t it?

    • R's Mom says:

      You never realised while you were a kid, how much of an effect your words would have on your parents isn’t it? – Yes yes…I never thought about it eh?!

  10. Scribby says:

    Parenting is a tough journey but it has its own beautiful rewards, we produce children because we want them so we should be ready for the entire package, no? πŸ™‚ Hugs R, tight hugs, from a mother to another !

  11. Scribby says:

    BTW I’m unable to access Sangi’s post, has she brought it down or there is some technical error?

  12. AA_Mom says:

    Sigh! I know the summer vacations make it the hardest. I am sure this blog willl record a time when she is proud of you for making it on your own

  13. Carvaka says:

    Just wondering, could it be that there is something off with the particular daycare she’s in? Or maybe all her friends have stay-at-home moms and she’s going through peer pressure? The fact that she only asks you and not RD.. how would it even occur to a child that mothers can stay at home and not dads? I imagine her friends talk about their life which includes a SAHM that and she wants to fit in. Hang in there and stay strong. This too shall pass, eh. πŸ™‚

    I am in no place to give suggestions as I am not a parent but maybe take her to office with you once to include her in that experience? Maybe speak to her about your job and colleagues so she feels invested in your work too. In indian movies and media, we only present one type of role model for women, the mother! Maybe include more stories about women astronauts, women prime ministers, women CEOs, women chefs etc to expand her view of role models.

    I think we somehow internalise these comments more because of existing pressures on shifting gender roles. If she said that she would never send her baby to school when she grows up, you wouldn’t take that as a sign that she shouldn’t be in school, right? Or if she was a teenager and said ‘I hate you mum, why won’t you let me drive you car!’, you probably wouldn’t care so much. No? (((hugs)))

    • R's Mom says:

      I do think its more of an influence of a few of her friends who have SAHMs…her daycare is fantastic and like I said in an earlier comment, in the same breath she did tell me to tell RD to pick her up late today..ekdum late πŸ™‚

      how would it even occur to a child that mothers can stay at home and not dads? – I am not sure about that, but there have been instances when she has cried to RD asking him NOT to go to work…but again, she never gave him such a statement..I must add that she did tell me today morning that both she AND the boy she thinks she is going to marry (dont laugh okie?) both will stay at home to take care of the kid…whose going to earn the money…I dont know *rolls eyes*

      RD has taken her to his office and yes, you are right, that has made a big difference..my office is a little more..ahem..ahem..

      R has never actually watched a movie..so thats definitely not an influence…

      Yes yes yes on your last para..I think thats what even Sangi has been trying to tell in her post :):) thanks so much..big hugs right back!

  14. Nidaa says:

    Could this be a ‘grass greener on the other side’ thingy? My mother z one of the 2-3 SAHM among our neighbourhood. I rarely invited my friends home bcz my mother alws wanted to know wht we wr up to (with good reason :D). But now I suspect it might be becoz all my friends were extremely fond of her (mom’s legendary cooking skills) and I ws jealous.
    I used to wish my mom too ws working so that we could put on loud music, experiment n kitchen and suchlike like we could do at my other friends’ places.
    May be your house will be a regular hangout for R and her friends in a few years πŸ˜€

    • R's Mom says:

      Awww! Thanks Nidaa for writing this..often there is other side of the story, i dont seem to just realise πŸ™‚ Makes me feel better :):) Big hugs to your super cooking mom and cute daughter who acknowledges it πŸ™‚

  15. ashreyamom says:

    i know there is guilt in everything.. either overdoing things or doing less.. even if i am not able to get her the toy she asks me in the mall, i feel guilty. i know even if we want to put an end, its doesnt end there.. so i dont its guilt for being working women, even if u were at home, i am sure R would have found another way of making u guilty. dont worry dear..

  16. chaitali says:

    I think there is nothing like guilt free parenting.. and it has nothing to do with SAHM or working moms. I have a mom who was always SAHM, but till today she regrets for not feeding me properly during my childhood.. but now that i got the maturity i could understand what problem she had faced then.
    I have a friend of mine, his mom works and she has to leave early to office after cooking the lunch, so sometimes she just keeps bread and butter for breakfast. My friend does feel bored with the breakfast routine when compared to other moms, but he is proud that his mom is working and independent.
    So utilmately i feel once u get the maturity you will be able to understand your parents problem…
    I am confident that R will definetly learn with time..

    • R's Mom says:

      Guess it always happens…I need to look at both sides of the picture…will I be comfortable being a SAHM, i dont think so..so I guess, I should learn to chuck the guilt πŸ™‚

  17. Hugs, RM.. I can so understand what you say! And like TGND says, either you are a SAHM or a working mother, guilt is something that is difficult to get out off! 😦

  18. Sangitha says:

    I know I have told my mom that I would never make my kids clean their rooms when I have kids. πŸ™‚

    This is her way of saying she likes you enough to want to spend time with you. Congratulations, your daughter enjoys your company.

    If we want to extract guilt from this, then our problem, no? We adults layer on our junk to their words. She loves day care, likes to be around you…hmmm, still searching for the problem.

    You are an awesome mom and R is a (multi lingual) rock star! Tight hugs!

    P.s.: shuck the guilt!

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL on the first line…

      Yes, thats a way of her telling me she loves me..yayay! thanks Sangi, I never looked at it from that angle…and ended up writing a morose post about it…you are so so right…thank you for making me look at the positive side of it…yipeeeeeeeeee!!! hugs hugs and more hugs

  19. choxbox says:

    Hugs R’s Mom.

    My help and cook also work outside home full-time but I have never seen them feeling guilty.. why us I wonder.

  20. Maddie says:

    Oh yes, I have been through that phase. It lasted for a long time, till I started working actually. But then I realised it doesn’t make a difference whether you have a SAHM or working mother. It’s the quality time and the kind of parent you are. I have been a working mom for a year and then a SAHM. Trust me, you do feel good initially – being there for your kid, watching him grow, making them the centre of your world. But after a time, they grow up and have a world of their own, their friends, teachers, groups, activities and you realise you are no more the centre of their attention. Even though you are a SAHM, you need to do something for your own, some kind of activity, being productive, anything. Being a mom should be the be all and end of all you as a woman. Life changes drastically after a kid but that should not be it! πŸ™‚ Maybe I should write a post too!

    • R's Mom says:

      Thank you very much Maddie…I love you πŸ™‚ for writing this comment…you have given me both the perspectives and made me realise, its in MY mind!

  21. Amit says:

    Don’t feel guilty. She is a child. She does not know what she is saying. Also, sit and talk with her. Let her know why you are doing this. Share your thoughts about responsibilities.

  22. crunch says:

    It’s funny (and sad) isn’t it, that after decades and decades of mommy wars – SAHMs vs. Working moms and one generation after another wondering how to tackle children on this topic, we’ve gone on and on, back and forth about the different kinds of moms, thousands of studies on impact of types of moms on their children … we’re still exactly at this point?! I have been at this same place this past entire week myself .. slightly different angle but in the same mix of thoughts. Shamelessly ranted this week about being a temporary SAHM and the guilt for feeling so maladjusted to the new situation. http://arushofbloodtotheheadnow.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/on-being-a-stay-at-home-mom/

    I’ve been reading extensively on new kinds of motherhood and a gazillion blogs .. it’s not helping. Whether one is SAHM or working or part time .. our children are going to ask us these questions. One of my close friends who’s a SAHM was asked by her 4 yr old son .. why she doesn’t work and help the family with money. She felt miserable. She’s raising 4 children back in the US. So it doesn’t matter what kind of mom you are. They will get to us one way or another. They are primarily being shaped by society and how it functions. India especially, is far behind as a society in helping our children understand not to stereotype gender roles.

    I think we’d be lying to ourselves if we say it’ll get better. I don’t think it will get better, it will get different and our children will learn over time what it means for every one to do things that are meaningful for themselves in life. For now, I think all we can do is teach our girls and boys about the joys of doing things they are passionate about and hope that they will understand with time as they grow. I hope your week gets better. Easier said than done, but don’t dwell on what she said. It might be important to find out why she asked that question or waht’s going on in her head and talking to her about it. And just remember, you’re not alone. Every mom out there, SAHM or working .. goes through this at some stage in their life.

    • R's Mom says:

      I read through your post..its not shameless ranting da..its actually true..the being scared thing..the indecisiveness…its totally fine!

      I so so agree to what you say in the last para πŸ™‚

      • paatiamma says:

        I agree with the last para of crunch as well.. Please do try finding out what led her making those statements. There might be peer pressure as most of her friend’s mom’s are home makers and they bring better tiffin boxes. Or some aunty in the building has put such notions into her head. Either working or not, being a motherhood is a very tough job. Keep up your spirit. This too will pass.. Love!!

  23. anistech says:

    hugs RM.. tight tight hugs.. I came across a child recently who was blaming her mother as she couldn’t drive and is not working. the child’s point is “she can’t go for playdates as her mom is not driving and they don’t have backyard to play as mom is not earning”… I was shell shocked RM.. May be its the social pressure too. May be R would have observed some other SAHM.. Adi has an impression that both mom and dad works so she never raised this point. can’t agree more on the “no-guilt-free-parenting”.. its just the reason for guilt that keeps changing but the guilt never leaves us alone 😦 Sigh!!
    hugs again dear..

  24. Reema Sahay says:

    Hmmm…Mommy and Guilt go hand-in-hand. I wrote something related here: http://www.parentous.com/2013/04/17/the-bad-mother-syndrome-25-things-moms-feel-guilty-about-new-moms/
    I am a Stay-at-Home-Mom right now. I had a great job but it was not my passion. So, quitting that job to be with my son, seemed the most natural thing to do. But had I been a writer already, I would have continued to remain one. Because it brings happiness to me. It is important that you are happy and content with your life, because that reflects in everything that you do. If you love your work, then don’t regret it. It would make you happy enough to share that happiness with your loved ones. There is no black and white to it.

    • R's Mom says:

      Yes, I did read that post πŸ™‚

      I agree there is no black and white to it..and yes I dont LOVE LOVE my job, but I dont hate it either..and honestly, we do need the money as well πŸ™‚ so yes, I go to work, because I like doing it πŸ™‚

  25. Pepper says:

    Hugs RM! Hope you overcome the guilt soon. If you ask me, I don’t think this speaks of R’s desires. It only gives us an indication of how much our environment influences us. Perhaps most of R’s friends mom’s are SAHMs. Maybe if all her friend’s moms were working mothers, perhaps she would have told you something like she will make sure she goes to office after she has a baby. Would you then feel guilty for not working and living up to her expectations? I hope not.

    • R's Mom says:

      Yes you are right..its more of a peer discussion reaction, than what she feels, because today morning she insisted on going to daycare, saying Amma mereko wahan acha lagta hai!

  26. preethi says:

    Stopping by your blog! S just cried bloody murder last couple of days all of a sudden, when I was dropping her off at day care . She had never done that before. And the familiar guilt cropped up, I am sure it feels worse when they articulate it so nicely like R did πŸ™‚ . I called Amma and all with worry about whether I should stop working for sometime. Duh! But you know what the brats love going to day care/school. It’s all chumma one day lets do this for a bit! Also, apparently S stopped crying the minute my car left the driveway and was happily playing. And today she did not even bother to say bye, becoz she had more important matters like a new toy to share. Shaaa! guilt was so useless!
    Just sharing to make you feel like you are in good company πŸ˜‰

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL on S…she sure is a rockstar eh? thanks for sharing…good to know that the cousins have something in common …scaring their moms occasionally hehehehe πŸ™‚

  27. techie2mom says:

    Hugs RM…I think by this time you are already feeling better…
    I just wanted to re-iterate what my mom says – You do your best for your child and then leave it at that…
    I’ll be lying if i say that i don’t feel the guilt…But every time that creepy feeling of guilt comes over, i remember what mom said and i feel a little better.
    Actually my mom too was working outside home (she still does) and i too used to tell her that i would want her to be a SAHM. But then mom would reason with me, would explain why she is working and how it helps us. And later i understood. I am so proud of her!!!
    BTW when i reached teenage i was happy that my mom worked coz that meant i got little more space compared to my friends πŸ˜‰

  28. Hugs my dear, it’s just a phase and you both will get over it ..let these things don’t worry you.. Mommy guilt that never leave us, comes in various forms…

  29. Sreetama says:

    Don’t feel guilty dear. I’m sure R doesn’t mean any of them & just heard them from somewhere. Maybe she overheard a conversation between two teachers/SAH moms saying, “How can these working moms leave their small kids to daycare. I’ll never do that!” or from TV or something. Just wondering. She loves you and that’s unconditional!

  30. Smita says:

    I know what u r saying. Though brat doesn’t say anything on these lines but the way he sticks to me when I am at home or when we are on vacation explains how much he misses me. A kid needs his/ her mother…he doesn’t even bat an eye lid when hubby is going. So there are days when I feel if I cud stay back then i think of financial liabilities and my own aspirations I feel nahin I can not afford to feel guilty. But my case is s still a l’lle better coz my In Laws take care of him…..I can totally understand ur guilt thing….

    Life!
    Choices!
    Sigh!

  31. I don’t think it’s all R’s talk, she is too small to decide or form strong opinions, it might be friends influence. You do your best as a mom, and do what pleases you. Like I have earlier said and strongly feels a happy mom is much better than a stay at home cribbing interfering over possessive mom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s