by Sumiti Mehta
I made a decision to stay home with my kids because I wanted to be with them, and I was very confident that no one else but only me — their mom — would be able to do a great job of raising them. Now, on the downslope of parenting, there are days where I have reservations about being a stay-at-home mom.
1. I think that I let down my mother.
In some way, I do feel that I let down my own mother, who was the first woman to graduate in her family and worked for a reputed bank in India. My mom was the one who always inspired me and let me Dream Big. She had high goals and aspirations for me.
2. There are days when I feel like people around me think I do nothing.
They all see me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering, and even writing, but they know what a “job” looks like, and they do not think I have one.
3. I have used my driver’s license for more than my education degrees.
After a couple of driving lessons, I got my driver’s license within a month. My Bachelor’s in English Literature and graduate degree in Public Relations and Advertising took four years of persistent hard work, and yet, for more than a decade now, I have used my driver’s license for more than my formal education degrees.
4. I get sucked into piles of volunteer work.
Some of this work surely is meaningful and satisfying, and some of it is insignificant in the extreme — whether it is being on various boards or panels or raising funds for schools. Volunteer activities involve a burst of events, but at the end of the day, those running the show carry on, and my job is over.
5. I hover more.
Being around my kids so much of the time gives me the chance to focus on them at a very micro level. Helicoptering takes time, and I have the time. So I am labeled as a “Helicopter Mom.”
6. I slipped into a more traditional marriage.
In every way, my husband Sudeep, to whom I have been married for 15 years, does see me as his equal, but in the years that I have been home, our partnership has landed in traditional gender roles. I feel obligated to do more than 50% of the housework, not because he asks me or expects it, but because I actually have more time.
7. I have days when I feel this annoying sense of fading confidence.
Far and away, my biggest regret about me staying at home is that I have lowered my sights of capability for myself in my own mind. I have let go of the career ambitions and goals I once held.
If I could go back the time and get a do-over, what would I have done differently? Looking now at my two handsome sons, Akshaj (12 years old) and Atiksh (6 years old), I feel so appreciative of the gift of time that I spend with them. Be it in their schools or activities or working with their projects at home. This stage of my life is beautiful, and I know my kids love me the most. This love and my time are helping me raise two smart, kind, and compassionate boys just like my husband, and I always hope ours will be.