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How The Pandemic Proved I Am Complete!

I jokingly referred to myself as an ‘almost’ single mother: who is married to a father and yet, undertakes the majority of the caregiving responsibility, partly out of choice and partly due to the circumstances!

I am a woman who has always believed in my completeness. As against the traditional belief that stresses that one needs a partner to complete himself or herself, I have always believed that all of us are unique individuals with our own quirks, which make each one of us special.

My husband, too, believes in the same and this was one of the reasons why we chose to live in different cities. For both of us, career is a priority, and we didn’t want the other person to sacrifice the career that we have worked so hard for.

One year after our daughter was born, my husband decided to shift to Bangalore, while I stayed back in Kolkata. I thought that since I have a strong support system in the form of my parents and in-laws, I would be able to manage both my job and the child.

Plans often don’t work out the way we think

Of course, things didn’t go as smoothly as had expected. I often had disturbed sleep at night because the child would get up for no apparent reason, leaving me tired throughout the day. I also had to take her to doctors alone and look after her alone when she was sick. So I took her to school admission alone and attended the interview session again alone because my husband couldn’t come at such short notice.

Over time, I jokingly referred to myself as an ‘almost’ single mother: a mother who is married to the father and yet, undertakes the majority of the caregiving responsibility, partly out of choice and partly due to the circumstances.

However, when it came to asking for childcare-related suggestions, I relied heavily on my mother and mother-in-law. I would take their advice seriously and worry constantly when my daughter would skip a meal or two. I believed them when they said that the child was eating too less and beat myself up, thinking what a bad mother I am.

The pandemic struck, and life threw me a curveball

Till 2020 things went on like this, till the pandemic struck, and I was forced to face a very different side of mine that I thought never existed. Due to the fear of Covid, the schools were shut, and I had shifted to my parent’s house, thinking that at least we can be together in these trying times.

Call it a mother’s instinct, but I didn’t rush to Bangalore, fearing that I may not able to manage so many things alone.

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Anyway, the first challenge that I faced was her teaching things all alone. She was attending online classes, but since the classes were conducted online, she couldn’t pick up the social skills. Also, she would throw tantrums and refuse to write or speak at times. She couldn’t even understand how to arrive at a particular page number in the book and get confused.

It was an emotionally exhausting situation for me, as I had to teach her the little things that she would have otherwise learned in school. Furthermore, I had my own classes to take and a thesis to write. Also, I was living with senior citizens and the constant fear of getting infected due to Covid was taking a toll on our mental and physical health.

Routine left me and frustration rose

I was used to having a particular routine and the feeling of frustration almost choked me since I couldn’t go out of the home for a very long period. Many people I had known died suddenly, making me more stressed and anxious about the future.

The only good thing was that over time, I started deciding things for my daughter. I felt that there was no point in asking my mother for suggestions, since she never experienced pandemic parenting. The result was that I started trusting my instincts more and grew confident as a mother and also as a human being. My daughter also improved in her studies a lot, reinforcing my belief in myself.

After almost two years, her physical classes started again, making me a little anxious about this new phase. However, this time I convinced myself that if I could manage pandemic parenting, I would manage the upcoming phases as well.

Time brings perspective

Well, my story is not exactly about being in a romantic relationship or even being single. It’s about trusting yourself, no matter what the situation is. I am still an ‘almost single mother’, only a little more assertive and confident now, probably because I learned to trust the most important person in my life myself.

So, if you are reading my story, I have a little suggestion to give-always believe in yourself and never give up.

Over time, your partner may change, die or choose to live away, but if you love yourself, you can still pick up the pieces and walk ahead, with your head held high. Life is beautiful, with or without a partner!

Image source for this #Solentine Article: DragonImages, free and edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Priyanka Roy

Assistant professor and a mother to a young daughter, I am learning to balance my personal and professional life. read more...

4 Posts | 2,680 Views

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