My yard stick

Sometime ago, a distant relative of mine came to visit me and while talking asked “didn’t you get bored when you stayed back home?” And before I could reply she said ” what a waste of talent”. She is not the only one to have judged me this way and it bothers me every time someone does this.

Few weeks ago kids and I were talking about our vacation this year as this is the last year Yaya will be able to take time off from school. Next two years she will be busy with grade 11 and 12 and then she thinks she wouldn’t be able to join us for  the family holidays because she will be busy working part time and studying full time ! And as the  kids are two years apart, when Yaya finishes grade 12, my son will finish grade 10 and he too won’t be able to take time off from school, this will repeat itself with baby when my son finishes high school. So technically we really won’t have any major family vacations the next 6 years. But there are still places that we are yet to visit. And that brought us to talk about how nice it would be, if we won the lottery and could buy round the world ticket for all of us !

Yaya asked me “Mom, if you won a great deal of money, what is the first thing you will do?”

And I replied ” I will quit my job and stay at home”

My kids didn’t ask me Why?( because they probably know their mother is the happiest when she is still in her pyjamas with a cup of Kusmi tea in one hand and a book in the other hand) But I did think of my relative who said what a waste of time it was when I stayed home to raise my children.

I felt I was judged with a yardstick that measured my success ( or lack of) with another person. It is true that some of my classmates are now world renowned and I could have been like them. But surely the only yardstick that ought to be used here is what makes me happy?

I am happy when I can read all the book I want to. I am happy when I can smell the  bread being baked in the oven. I am happy when I don’t miss any of my children’s concerts. I am happy when I don’t have to think what should I wear today? And I really would be happy if I could learn Latin and read all the Latin texts. I would love to have chance to live among the Australian aboriginal people and learn about their lifestyle especially their traditional medicines..My list of things that I love to do are not the same as anyone else because I am me and I have my likes and dislikes.

At the end of the day, the lady who is at the helm of FB or the one at Pepsi and I are only eligible for the 6 feet of ground. So why is that my life is not as relevant as the others just because I don’t want to travel the same path as them? Why must my life be not worth just as much? Why was it considered a waste because I chose to do what I want to do?

Just for the record, I don’t really remember all that I did when my kids were little. It was all a blur. But I do know this, I was tired and exhausted most of the time, but not bored and certainly it wasn’t a waste of my talent.


10 thoughts on “My yard stick

  1. I thought you are talking about me…. sigh!

    I have two reasons I don’t resign. One. I need someone to talk to. May be it is not that bad now. The last time I tried not working, my son was still not old enough to talk. It was really frustrating having one sided conversations. Second – My husband promises me that he will resign the day I resign. He says he doesn’t want to be the “vandikkala”.

    I wish I won that lottery you were talking about…

    • unlimitedrandomthoughts: I know how it felt to have one sided conversations.. I used to sing when I had no one to talk to.

  2. Dear Sara,

    How I wish my sis-in-law would read this! I am the first one to pursue a non-science degree in a family full of doctors, engineers & even 2 IAS & IFS to boot. And trust me, it has not been easy! After all, what is their to study, let alone pursue a degree if its not engineering or medicine! Not surprisingly, I got married into a similar family. I have a double masters degree in communication from a so called ‘top’ university in India and the US, the latter with a full scholarship! For the last 3 years I have been a stay at home mom; while it has not been a cake walk, i have enjoyed every bit of it. My s-i-l who is a GP in the UK visits us every year and without fail makes it a point to state what a loser I am. She is like “what do you do at home the whole day!!! Don’t you get bored?” And the Ross (of FRIENDS) that I am, I never get the right words to tell her exactly whats on my mind! But your post today all but summed it up 🙂 May be I will read it to her next week when will be here for the easter holidays 😉

    • Ammu: It takes tremendous courage to be a stay at home mom. Everyone I know told me what I am missing out.Apart from being bored doing nothing all day, in my case I was missing out on sitting in a traffic jam each morning from 6.30 am for an hour, work as a Dr, seeing patients continously, often working through lunch, then rush back home, again sitting in a traffic jam for an hour often more, cook dinner, eat and sleep and to be repeated again the very next day, meanwhile my children have no idea who their mother is because often they are asleep by the time I get back home. But everyone thought if I worked, I was making a difference to others ( patients with my care and the govt with my tax ) but I was not allowed to make a difference to my own children. No one thought it was a big deal to see your child take their first step or to be there to wipe their tears when their pet gold fish died! I chose to take care of my children instead of my patients. I don’t regret it one bit. But somehow feminism brought the ideology that a woman is only succesful if she works and with the media’s love to create the propaganda of succesful women managing career and family life makes it impossible for a mother to take a stand. If she can, why can’t you is the message.. Stay strong.. you are making a difference to your child. The biggest gift you can give your child is your time and undivided attention.

  3. So true Sarah !
    I am also a stay at home mom, working 5 days a month. And I love it. My friends too are in high positions within the United Nations and placed worldwide and they wonder if I have gone crazy. Only thing is I need to be more organised in life to get to do things like you do. Your post took me to a land of dreams where I could read books, learn a new language and yes explore cultures- things I love most.
    Your post is really inspiring !

  4. Indian: Although everyone around me thought I was wasting my time staying home, I read all the books I wanted to, I learned to do patch work, continued with french lessons so I will not forget the language..but most importantly I spend all my waking hours with my kids and it was awesome..I wasn’t really good at time management. Now it takes me an average of 24 hours to finish a book, but it wasn’t so when I stayed back home..sometimes it took a week, because I was so tired at the end of the day after taking care of three kids..My goal was not to think how long it took to do something, but just do it !! Amma asked me why did I learn to do patch work if I wasn’t going to make something with my newly acuired is the same logic as to why do medicine if you don’t want to work..It is hard for people to understand that one can learn something because one really wanted to learn for the sake of learning. I still don’t have any masterpiece to prove to anyone that I know to do patchwork !

  5. so true! I dont have the courage yet to resign 🙁 but i feel the drudgery of everyday life as u described. There is definitely more to life than sitting in front of the computer the whole day and have no energy to left in the evening to do anything else, even play with ur kids.

    • momof2: Quitting my job wasn’t an easy thing to do. Sometimes when I see the fb updates from my classmates, I do turn in to a nice shade of green..

  6. haaa chechii i felt you weretalking about me.qataris such a small place that everybodyknows everyone else. And I was “famous” cos i was “gifted” but now I quit my hi fi job 1.5 years back when I came toknow that I am preg. People give me odd looks as if I am the craziestperson in the world. But I am morehappy, I design dresses for my baby n my mom nmy sister. And now its my dream to own a designer boutique. I wish malayalees were less judgemental n let me live my life.

    • Sham: never eaten vettu cake. Will try to make it one of these days. You should be happy with yourself. Don’t worry about what other’s think. Malayalees are so judgmental. When I was doing catering in Vancouver, a very well educated mallu guy very casually told me what a failure I was “doctor cooking food for others?” What he didn’t realize is that, I put food on the table and a roof over our head without the support of anyone and even managed to take my kids for long camping trips to both Yukon and Yellow Knife.

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