YOU ARE SAFE!

PROMPT: She opened the library book and found a photo in it…
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(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

She opened the library book and found a photo in it. She felt dizzy seeing a photograph of her, smooching her boyfriend while they’re in the library, last Saturday.

She panicked thinking who could’ve captured that image. The photograph fell down from her shaking hands, and she noticed something is written on the back of the photograph…

 

MY DAUGHTER, IF I COULD CAPTURE THIS, THEN ANYONE ELSE COULD’VE DONE IT TO BLACKMAIL AND HARASS YOU. DO EVERYTHING WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS AND WITHIN THE SAFE ZONE OF LIFE. I’VE ADDRESSED YOU AS MY DAUGHTER, SO DON’T PANIC, TRUST ME… YOU ARE SAFE!

It wasn’t difficult for Anjali to understand that he’s the old smiling uncle, the manager of the library who always tells her lovingly, “you’re like my daughter“. Her heart filled with gratitude and respect for him, who protected her even when he’s just a stranger.

A SURPRISED MOM

PROMPT: She looked at the mirror and did not like what she saw…
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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

She looked at the mirror and did not like what she saw. Her face had a haggard look, roots of hair showing white. Crows feet beginning to develop near her eyes. When did this happen? When did she let go of herself?

Mummy can’t find my physics book“, the call brought her out of her thoughts. “Mumma I am hungry…” said the second one she smiled. Pulled her hair in a messy bun rushing off to look for the book and make breakfast…
Surprise!!!” Her hubby and sons shouted in unison… “Breakfast is ready for the queen of the house.” The elder son gave an exaggerated bow.  “Happy mother’s day Mom“, pecked the younger one on her cheek while her husband was just smiling at her.
Sitting in the spa later, she wondered that she had not let go of herself she had spent the time in building a family.

A MOTHER’S GUILT

Guilt is the feeling that comes when you fail to meet your own expectations. Understand that the feeling is an unmet expectation of yourself and not of the world. As a mother, I have felt guilty a number of times for leaving my son back home while I go to work. It is very common for a young mother to be tempted to quit her job and be with her baby at all times. I too had that temptation a million times. Well, but as they say feeling guilty is part of being a mother. Which guilt do you wish to live with, is the question to be rightly answered.

I have seen women who have felt extremely guilty for leaving their newborns in day cares or with maids so that they could work without an interruption. I also know of a lot women who feel guilty of leaving their shining careers because kids needed the attention at that time. So, when I became a mother I knew it is not glorious to do either of things. I need to choose which guilt is less and I am ok to live with.

And I chose to live with the guilt of leaving my son at home and focusing on my work.
Summer vacations are coming up and that is always a tricky time because it is impossible to keep the kids engaged at all times. Since last year my in-laws take my son to their place and he lives with them for a month or so during summer vacations. I have such fond memories of my summer vacations which were always with my parents and I want the same for my child; so it is a difficult decision for me.

However, I know that I cannot be at home for a month or even work from home for that long – and with that thought I let him go. The thoughts like “I am a bad mother, I am a selfish mother, and he is going to miss me so much, how he will stay without me etc.” are  devilish thoughts that I deal with every day. But I must do what I must do. My son is quite happy with his grandparents and he likes to be with them. He misses me but not as much as I fear. But the feeling still kills me.

I am sure there are many such moms like me who are struggling. But remember it is the quality of time that matters not the quantity. Kids grow up as long as they have right people to take care of them. So as long as you trust your child’s caretaker – go ahead for your take on the world. And if you are the mother who feels guilty of letting your own career down for the sake of the kid – believe in your choice. You know the best for your child and you will provide the best for him/her.

Choose which guilty road you are willing to take because I have learnt that feeling guilty is part of being a woman. Mother’s guilt is only natural and is the consequence of wanting to be a good mother to your child.

 

MOTHERHOOD AND GUILT ARE INSEPARABLE

Being a mom, you are going to be bombarded with so much guilt for everything you do to everything you don’t do.

Nearly, 90% of moms feel guilty- And yes it is not a surprising element. Right from giving birth, breastfeeding, parenting, helicopter parenting and much more, you will stumble every now and then with guilt.

When pregnancy starts, it begins creeping into the thoughts.

“Oh, I didn’t have this, my child would have got better eyes, lips..etc”

“Oh, I should have lost enough weight,so that I would not have gained this much during pregnancy, now how I am gonna take care of myself and my kids . . .”

Blah… blah… blah…

A lot many thoughts keep conflicting the mind, rather than focussing on the real thing.

Again, after giving birth, most moms around 10 % or so, struggle with breastfeeding, some do not have enough supplement, that they have to start on formula milk, some do feed enough that the baby is growing fatter… and much more..

The list just prolongs from then, there is never an end to it.

Again the common guilt which is prevailing is when a mother is back to work. The guilt is much heavier than an atom bomb, it just breaks away the confidence and the mother’s dreams, that finally she gives up, the hopes and be a dedicated mom.

But again, it is not the end of the story – the guilt is inseparable.

When kids grow up, the mother again feels lonelier and again guilty of giving up her career, and then finally not able to give a kick start to it, because she keeps blaming herself for all the decisions she took in her life.

So what’s the story now?

Why do women, especially moms feel the guilt?

Is it because she doesn’t do her things well enough? Or,

Is it the society, who is grading the moms?

People tend to forget that moms are also humans, they also have their share of life. All they need is some time on their own, a job to make them independent to boost their self-confidence. And they just need slight support, not huge though.

So moms, just chill, if you are feeling guilty;

  • Firstly you do an excellent job, being a mom.
  • It is not easy just being mom, it takes up so much effort and you are the best at it.
  • Remember that your happy mind keeps everyone around you happy. So smile, take your own time and chill out.
  • Not breastfeeding is not the end of the world. Somethings are not in your hands. There are thousands of women who are not able to lactate, and it is not their fault.
  • Parenting is indeed a mess, you fall in uninvited, but yes, you might take your time to gather around and swim across to the shore.
  • Do not compare your parenting with others, you need not be guilty for your choices if you know you cannot control it.

Moreover, it is not in your hands that, the people around you are beguiled by the traditional patriarchal child-rearing setup, which is mostly triggered by maternal guilt rather than parental guilt.

Leave the idea of perfectionism, rather than focus on what is good for the child.

Just ignore your guilt and then focus on your child. Guilt gives you nothing, your child will give you the universe of happiness.

COMMIT TO COMMIT

To commit or to refrain,
The very thought often causes anxiety and pain
The constant dilemma,
Makes decision-making a huge enigma

Isn’t it better to be free sans commitment,
To have no strings attached in any involvement?
Seems wiser than to face disappointments
And nurse one’s wounds amidst songs of lament

To commit is to give your word
So stand by it whether come storms or sword
To commit is to take responsibility
Shirk not in the pretext of some inability

Commitment does pose challenges,
As it cuts a part of ‘self’ – the ‘me’ that rules,
But it doesn’t aim to devalue you
It aims to add value, instead

Think before you commit
Don’t let any pressure shape your commitment
But when you do commit
Live by it till your last breath permits.

WHY DO WE WITHDRAW FROM OUR COMMITMENTS?

The concept of relationship exists prior to our individual existence! Before our existence, we have a relationship with the Creator God, since the time our mom conceived us our relationship with our family began and even after our death our relationship exists. But prior to the relationship, commitment comes. In fact, it is the COMMITMENT that initiates a relationship.

As growing kids in our family, we all love to be part of the wedding service at Church. It is truly a blissful moment to see how two individuals come together and a new relationship is formed. In such a blissful moment, the most enjoyable moment for we kids was – rhyming the marriage vow along with the Bride and Groom. In front of the whole congregation, the Bride and the Groom will stand along with the Pastor. The Pastor will ask both of them a set of questions and as both of them answer those questions, they will exchange their marriage rings and they will make this vow – “I take you as my Wife/Husband on my own choice. I pledge before God and people, whether it is the good or bad moment, whether in health or sickness, whether, in prosperity or hardship, I WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU. From now, let my heart be yours’ and your heart is mine and both of our hearts be the heart of God.” 

Finally, they give their signatures on the court marriage certificate and they were declared as Mr & Mrs __________.

Something very similar happens, as defense personnel finishes his years of military training. In an elite gathering, he swears the pledge and joins the defense force. After so many catfights and cutthroat election, our political leaders publicly swear the pledge and take their positions to govern our nation.    

Rick Warren says, 

“Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make”. 

Switching to another picture, we see every year only in Mumbai and Delhi 40% of marriages are heading towards divorce (the rest of big Indian cities are yet to count). India is in the 78th position in the corrupt nations list out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in India averaged 75.67% in 2018.

Kenneth Blanchard says,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

How our commitment ends is read and watched and followed by others. 

Commitments might have been made one day at a time but BEING COMMITTED is a life-time deal! Life is a mixed bag of easy and difficult times. Difficult time demands an awful lot of sacrifices on its way. Though sacrifice seems painful and too costly at times, it is the passion of our heart for a definite purpose that makes us dare to sacrifice. A Committed man is also a man of integrity. His thoughts and ways are always God-fearing and Sacred

Often, we lack commitment in our relationships and profession because we hesitate to sacrifice our comforts and pleasures. Our commitments are mostly made when we are emotionally driven rather than driven by the maturity of mind and wisdom. Well, one of the modern-day quotes very clearly reflects the attitude of our mind – “If you want me to be loyal, then hire a dog not me”.

So far in my life, I have walked closely with two elderly men. Both of them are in their 70s’. Both of the God-fearing gentlemen have always given me one counsel:

“Relationships are initiated with commitment;

Commitment demands Sacrifice;

Respect your Sacrifices, they are Sacred and Integral!”

And as I look upon the picture of the death of Jesus on the Cross, I see the confluence of Relationship initiated with Commitment – Commitment is fulfilled with Sacrifice – the Sacrifice is Sacred & Integral to the human race. Indeed, it is His relationship with us that kept Him committed, though we were not! It is His commitment for mankind that demanded Him His sacrifice, which we human won’t be able to do! Moreover, Jesus kept his commitment with the sacredness of His heart, WHICH WE OUGHT TO IMITATE.

IS THERE SOMETHING CALLED OVER-COMMITMENT?

Is there something called Over Commitment?

The word commitment is used in many contexts. The most common context is commitment (or lack of it) in a relationship. This aspect has been discussed at length in the previous articles so I won’t venture there at all.

My take is a little different.

What is a commitment?

I asked Google and this is the first meaning Google threw up:

Commitment – the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

For me, commitment is a promise or obligation that you give to someone or some cause that you will support them. You may be committing your time or money or emotions or freedom or maybe something else.

Lack of commitment may be one problem people face. But for me, it’s the other end of the spectrum where I get stuck with Over Commitment

Imagine a child roaming freely in a huge toy shop. He has been told that he can pick up and play with any toy. He is so excited he picks up one toy and then sees another interesting toy, leaves the first one and goes to the second and then third and so on. He is not able to play properly with any of it. On most of the days, that’s me.

I am so prone to over-committing. A friend will call me for some help I will agree. Then the society will have some function and request me to volunteer and I will agree. My family will make some plans and I won’t be able to say no. Children need help with homework or need to picked up or dropped somewhere, of course, I have to do. Then there is the regular work of the office, kitchen, etc. Eventually, what happens, I run around a lot trying to meet all my commitments and end up not giving my 💯% to any of my commitments. Later on, I carry regret that I could have done a better job if I had more time. When I promise it’s all with genuine feelings of commitment, I don’t mean to do the job half-heartedly. But sometimes (not always) it happens.

I am putting in a conscious effort to improve. And now trying to follow the mantra that – commit only as much as you can deliver. A lot of people around you need you. Prioritize, Distribute and then Commit. And learn to say ‘NO, where you know that you won’t be able to give your 💯%.

Remember! Over-commitment brings about somewhat similar results as lack of commitment.