This post was selected for BlogAdda’s ‘Spicy Saturday Picks’.
Disclaimer: This post was typed in a bout of jealousy. An unreasonable but inevitable pang of jealousy.
Its Sunday afternoon. I am trying to feed my baby cereal. He is being fussy, his tiny hands flailing about. Which is nothing new for 7-month olds who have just discovered the magic of their newly attained motor skills. But it does make the task of maneuvering that spoon with the glob of cereal into his mouth difficult.
“Ma’am, he likes to hold his foot while he eats. Maybe, you should allow him to do that first. Then he will eat peacefully.”
The voice comes from her, my maid. There is a pause. A heavily pregnant pause. I stop what I am doing and look at her. She looks at me. We look at the baby together. He has his chubby fist circled around his foot now and he is trying to grab at the spoon in my hand with his free fist.
NOT fussy anymore. Just like SHE said.
‘A’ looks up at the three of us. He knows what is running through my mind. He weighs his options and decides looking back at his laptop screen would be the best option for him.
SHE knew how he likes to have his cereal. But there’s only one problem with that. I am the MOTHER. Then why don’t I know what my son wants?
Luckily ‘R’ saves the moment asserting in the form of squeals and mini-foot stomps that he wants that spoon of cereal in his mouth NOW. So the feeding is resumed by me. ‘R’ accepting spoon after spoon of cereal with foot firmly clutched. Me swallowing my dignity with every spoonful too. And the maid hovering about guiltily. And of course, ‘A’ desperately thinking of something soothing to tell me, once I start The Talk with him.
So this is what it feels to be a working mom, I think. You miss your child’s little developments. Little things that make up R’s R-ness’.
“Ma’am, after you left, he tried to balance himself on all fours for the first time”
“Ma’am just before you came, he was playing this little game of plopping back on the pillow and giggling.”
“Ma’am he sleeps 2 naps in the morning now. Not 3 naps anymore like last week.”
I don’t know that he prefers stewed apples over pears now. That thunder makes him scared and he wants to be held. Well at least I don’t know these things until the maid tells me.
True, there are weekday evenings and weekends. And there are loads of hugs and kisses and laughter.
But then there are moments like this when it is Mother versus Maid. And I feel I am reduced to a fleeting shadow. The 4 hourly caller of ‘How is he?’ updates. The weekend bath-er of baby. The nightly feeder. The cereal feeder who doesn’t even know that ‘R’ likes to hold his foot while eating.
No, this post is not asking for advice from its readers. Because I know there’s none which would help. It’s a phase and like all working mothers I will ride through this. I won’t leave my job, because well I don’t want to. You can read my views on that at Jobless Me.
Saturday and Sunday. Two blissful days. ‘R’ has been with ‘A’ and me all the time. I have cherished every moment with him. Almost selfishly keeping him to myself. Nipping off for showers and toilet breaks only when he naps. And she has gazed on from a safe distance, not daring to spoil the family moment. Laughing at his antics from the kitchen entrance.
It’s Sunday evening. ‘R’s bedtime. He’s been changed into his little PJ’s. He is examining his surroundings with that innocent curiosity that only childhood can produce. She lingers in the room once he’s changed.
“You go on and eat dinner. Tonight I will put him to sleep”, I say.
She hestitates. I am slightly impatient now. Wanting ‘R’ to myself. An insecure mother.
“Go on. Its ok .You have an early night.”
She kneels down beside the bed. A typical gesture of an Indonesian maid in the presence of her employer. She touches the baby’s tiny feet and says, “Let me look at him a while longer. I didn’t get to play with him the whole weekend. Usually it’s just the both of us.”
I look at her and I feel ridiculous. Almost ashamed of my jealousy. How can you be jealous of someone who loves your child? I should be relieved, not anxious.
‘R’ has rolled over onto his stomach now and he grins at her and me . The Mother and the Maid. The Life-giver and the Care-taker.
We laugh together at his grin. Two women united together by their love for a child.
Authors Note : Other mothers out there, have any of you encountered these emotions? If you have, do leave a comment 🙂
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