I am slowly heading towards an empty nest. A couple of years down the line, the younger son will also be on his way to college.
Being a parent is so hard. We try to do our best. You know the toughest part is aligning two different upbringings and sensibilities.
My husband and I have grown up in very different homes. We have different ways of approaching situations and conflicts.
Mothers often have more say in parenting decisions simply because they spend so much time with the kids.
Sometimes, we do feel that we know better. 🙂
I think I have had the maximum disagreements with my husband when it came to raising my two sons, even my pet too.
To reach a middle ground was often exhausting. Each of us ended up feeling that we are giving in, but our way is right. I tell you!
Then the chores. God Almighty, all those chores. School work, tiffins, classes, activities, costumes, tests, exams, hobbies, vacations, summer camps…
On and on, the list went. Sometimes, one felt as if it was all a hurricane just sweeping everything in its wake.
One could not take off or plan anything. Wait for school holidays or when there was no planned activity.
It’s quite a journey. Then, one day they grow up.
The older boy turned 21 this year. It is with a certain sense of joy and pride that I look back on these years as a parent.
My work is almost done. He is already living on his own, away to college.
The process of weaning off started when he left home for his undergrad studies. He is taking his own decisions and handling his life.
As a parent, this is what we hope to achieve. To raise good, sensible adults who can find their bearings in the world.
All those childhood years, so many sleepless nights, all the struggles seem like a distant memory.
Now, when I look at their baby photos, I only see the beautiful parts, the smiles, the love, all those gorgeous memories.
Any pain and effort and everything that seemed difficult back then, seems to have faded.
One thing I feel super proud of. I raised my kids but continued to work professionally.
Honestly, I was a really good student and worked very hard to be a professional.
I did take a sabbatical when my kids were young, but got back to working in an exciting new field: content.
Not only have I learnt so much, but I have met a diverse set of people, honed my skills and also make a good full-time income.
I like to earn my money. I like the independence and freedom that it brings. I also like the example it sets for my boys.
Mothers are not meant to be around to look after kids. They are entitled to their own lives too.
To be mentally active and emotionally energised.
I feel every woman must work professionally especially every mother, as much as possible.
I see so many women who are consumed by everything that their children do.
They end up neglecting themselves. They sometimes overlook their passions and their professional commitment.
The society is also benign towards mothers giving up their rewarding careers. Some homes actually expect it.
But once the kids grow up and fly the nest, the mother is left alone with an acute loneliness, barely remembering what to do with her life and time.
The husband is busy in his work commitments. The world has moved on. The kids are busy in their lives.
She feels left behind and ancient, unable to cope in this new world that she is exposed to where she no longer needs to be an active mother.
I have seen it in so many women in their 50s who feel rather empty and even bitter.
I feel it is not too late. There is always something meaningful that one can do.
So many digital opportunities are available. All they need to do is find something and move with it.
Those of you who are younger and in jobs, do not give them up. They are precious. Along with financial independence, they give you a purpose and an identity.
To me, those matter a lot. Being a mother is a very important part of my life but not my entire life.
Every woman needs to nourish her own needs and desires too.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.