Friday, September 28, 2012

Life Always Takes Over Work (Emotions Overpower Reasons)

There are hundreds of articles on work life balance which explain how to prioritize work and manage ones’ day to day life. I teach Human Resource Management and discuss the need for work life balance. Perhaps as working mother, my ability to comprehend this theme assumes a degree of practicality.  
My six year old son in senior kindergarten is endowed with tremendous responsibility and understanding. Probably the fact that he has a working mother compels him to evolve these adult-like traits in order to adjust to his home environment.  Adjustment is the first word they learn from their parents. His school used to wrap up by 1 pm and then he would go to a day care. After four hours there I used to receive him to home at 5 pm. Then I spent time with him. His friends would call him to play and after eating snacks he rushed off to play. That was the mom- son TIMETABLE.
For me this lifestyle was synonymous with contentment and I felt proud about an accomplishment of a balance between professional and personal life. Friends would appreciate the way I managed my life.
One day the entire staff at office received a mail which made breaking news in the office. The management appealed to the staff to work an additional hour.  As an HR person, I understood the human economics and took the working hour vs productivity equation sportingly.
Next day onwards when everyone from office departed from office an hour later than usual I had to tell my accommodative son, “beta I will be late “. He calmly replied, “Fine Mom”… and I was pleased the way he responded.
Life was going on pretty well and instead of the earlier 5 pm, I now returned home only around 6.30 or 7 pm. One day his friends came home expecting him to join them to play and I told them that he cannot come as he was sleeping. Surprisingly all of them remarked “so early?” I said, “Shush…he is a good boy.” I was glad to go along with my TIMETABLE. It started happening repeatedly. And then it dawned on me, that he is a good boy but am I a good mother?
I told myself that I have to balance my life and these small issues were not to worry my head about. It was November and Bangalore becomes cold after sundown, sometimes accompanied by light drizzles in the evening. Last year every day in the evening it used to shower and I started getting late… I started to make excuses to my son he always used to says, “That’s ok momma”. I started showering more and more attention on him more just to make him feel that his momma loves him. But I did not realize that this was not to help him but for me to feel that I was a good mother.
But my guilt lead to introspection and again one day when his friends came to call him, he was sleeping on the sofa; he had not even changed his clothes with shoes still on his feet. At that moment, I felt like he had forgotten to play with his friends. It made we wonder whether or not I had snatched his childhood from him?
The next day similar thoughts flooded my head. Again I told myself do not be emotional and your son need to understand that his mom needs to work.
That day it rained heavily and led to a traffic jam and became darker than usual when I reached his day care around 7.40 pm. I looked around but could not find him. Then I quizzed the staff about him and they replied, “He was here only madam” and all of us searched for him. It made me irritable and tense. After 10-15 minutes I saw him, sitting on a swing alone while all the other kids had gone home. He was alone waiting for me.  It touched a chord in me and I ran and screamed at him, “What are you doing here? We were all searching for you?” He silently asked me, Mom did your bus break down today?   
After hearing him utter those words, my knees buckled and I sat down and hugged him…I had no answer to his question and remained silent for a long time.  
Next day after going to office, I promptly submitted my resignation letter. Naturally my boss wanted to know why I was doing so.  After listening to my work-life juggle, he as a father with a six year old was in tears. He gracefully accepted the letter and said,” Your son certainly needs you more than us.”  That evening the meaning of work life balance became crystal clear to me. Life always takes over work and emotions overpower reasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment