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Mothers are often judged for leaving their young children at daycare. Here is the story of a mother, her young son and their daycare journey together.
“See… You are now turning into a materialistic mom.”
“What is there that allures you so much for the job?”
“You have an out-of-the-red husband to spend on you.”
And what not!
These are just a few of the frequent utterances I hear from my friends, relatives and in-laws. Being a patient listener, I never bothered to retort to their comments and speculations. But I do have a few clarifications to satisfy my self.
Firstly, I respect both homemakers and working women equally. They are just two peas in a pod when it comes to looking after their children, loving or caring for them. Working outside as well, doesn’t make any woman a ‘Bad Mother’. Her stepping out with her spouse, is tantamount to equally sharing their responsibilities, whether it’s financial, parenting or anything else (isn’t this substantive equality?)
Secondly, if I talk about me, I have been the mother of a slow child – he sat, rolled over and walked late. Also, he is beginning to speak late. I have put in immense efforts like talking to him for long hours, not responding to him until he asked me using words (instead of silent gestures), playing rhymes on TV, and what not. I was trying a lot to improvise his speech. But then came the job opportunity (after my maternity break) and Vihaan’s admission into playschool along with that . According to my working hours, we decided to keep him at the daycare for 3 hours, after 3 hours of school (my work is for 6 hours).
After a lot of confusion, we finally agreed to accept the offer and decided to admit Vihaan for baby sitting near my office. He was a happy tot when I dropped him at school on his first day. He was unaware of the fact that his mom was not going to pick him up after school. But he would be spending a few more hours there missing mumma’s hug, tiffin checking, saying goodbye to friends with her and the nap on her tummy.
I couldn’t concentrate at my workplace – all that I thought of was Vihaan. Was it really necessary to do this? No one had forced me to do the job. Is it essential at the cost of your child’s happiness? Such thoughts shattered me.
Then, the loud ringtone of my phone disrupted my stream of thoughts.
“Hello ma’am. Khyati here, Vihaan’s caretaker.”
“Yes, Khyati. How is Vihaan? What is he doing? Did he cry? Please call immediately when he is not fine there.”
“Ma’am…ma’am…please listen to me (a little giggle from her side), I called you to ask if you could come a little late as Vihaan is sleeping right now. It would be only an hour if you come and pick him up at the time you have mentioned.”
“Like seriously! Are you sure he is sleeping? He didn’t ask for any one… hmmm, me?”
“No, Ma’am. Sorry, but he didn’t. In fact he loved the dal rice that we had for lunch today. He played a lot with other kids in the slide and slept just now. If you come in an hour, he might be deprived of a good nap. So, if you could…”
” Ok, ok fine. I will be there in 2 hours. Get him ready. Thank you.”
Then the league of recuperation started. It’s been 2 months now and what I am seeing in Vihaan is unbelievable. His innocent gestures have now become words. He surprises me everyday with his new actions and vocabulary.
“Mumma! Bhaago. Tiger aaya” and he bends down roaring like one (I am in love with that).
“Ye mera hai, mujhe do” whenever I try to take his bag, tiffin, bottle, toy or anything which are not even his!
There are many more which I can list, my everyday treats. It makes me happier than the stigma of leaving him in a daycare. What else would a mother want than her child growing well? Now he is more social, interacts well, is empathetic, more caring and loving than before. One more parenting lesson that I learnt from his daycare chapter is that kids enjoy their peer company in comparison to ours (perhaps we become the boring pals as they toddle).
Along with being there for them always, raising them into strong individuals, both emotionally and psychologically, is our responsibility. Many of you might have stories like me and those contradicting mine. Do share them. Fly high if you wish – we never know what joyous moments are waiting there to be cherished.
The reward I got from him is this beautiful snail on a leaf as my bonus at the end of the month.
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