“Nooo” screams my 2-year-old daughter. She folds her hands in a huff, pouts and looks away – all this when I try to feed her. I beg. I glare. I raise my voice. But to no response. Finally, I spank her. Immediately, she starts bawling. My mother-in-law peeps in and asks, “Why are u making the child cry?” She lifts the child and starts feeding her. I roll my eyes and leave it at that.
My daughter seems to be getting adamant by the day. She cries and screams for every little thing. I get emotionally drained. Sometimes, I shut myself in my room and cry my eyes out. She seems to be perfectly alright with the other family members.
What am I doing wrong? May be because I am absent for the best part of the day – a working mother, I am guilty of this – she is behaving this way. May be she feels I am neglecting her. Am I doing justice to her? Is my job really worth not spending time with her? Sometimes, after one of her outbursts, I just want to quit my job and stay at home to look after her. I am not sure if I can juggle personal and professional life. But a voice inside me says, “You are not just doing this for her but also for yourself.”
I am sure every working mother goes through this roller-coaster ride. But is giving up your career the “real solution”? Won’t quitting teach your child to do the same later in his or her life? Be strong. Don’t give up on your passion. I make up my mind. I assure myself that my daughter will eventually understand that I am doing this for her. I get ready for office. My daughter’s little hands cling to mine. She looks up and says, “Mummy, na oppich” (Mummy, I want to go to office with you). I kiss her and say you will, one day.
Dr Vasanth R, consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Malar Hospital, says, “Emotional aspect of children grows with their age. At each point of the stage, it is important for any one of the parent to be present with the child and both of them should take a uniform decision so as to avoid confusion, and the child will not play between the parents. In this current age, where monetary benefit is important and the number of working mothers has increased, it is really neccessary to maintain the personal connect with the child. If a child throws tantrums there are ways to manage and prevent it from happening. Even if the mother is working, she should ensure that the time spent at home with the child is qualitative.”