By Aswathy Kumar
'I am Aswathy and I am a stay at home mom'
I stood amidst a crowd, shaking hands with a skinny girl who just introduced herself to me as the new marketing manager of a private firm in Yangon. She stood before me, clad in her floral top and ill-fitting trousers. Her hair tied up in a messy bun and I could see that her makeup had slowly started to wear off. She had reapplied her peach coloured lipstick and it was obvious that she had come straight from work.
I on the other hand had come from home. My makeup fresh, hair blow dried and my little red dress crisply ironed. "Oh a stay-at-home mom," she repeated fidgeting with the ends of her blackberry. I could see that she was nervous. I remained calm, far too familiar with the routine that was about to follow. I knew that now since I was in the JUST a stay-at-home mom category the topics were automatically going to shift towards housemaids, cooking and my adorable six year old daughter. I would be complimented for the expertise at which I adorned my daughters curls with butterfly clips and asked to share my famous lasagne recipe, as if those were the only skills I pocessed. I would be complimented on my dress, though in her mind she would attain a new sense of relief that the only reason I looked better than her was because I was JUST a stay-at-home mom and had way too much time on my hands. My husband would be complimented too. He would be called lucky for having such a beautiful wife as if that was the only synonym that best described my existence in his life. I would be perceived as someone stupid, someone who spent all day watching Kardashians while painting my toenails.
That's right! I am JUST a stay-at-home mom. Six years ago, I took a conscious decision to give up my journalistic career to raise my baby girl. No one told me to neither did I ever feel pressurized. It was a decision, I took almost instantly that there was no way I would choose to proof-read articles from over enthusiastic freelancers and write about the potholed roads of Delhi for the umpteenth number of time (yeah, my beat wasn't glamorous like crime or politics) over my little one. It's not that I didn't like my job. I loved it! Up until now, the four-page supplement I was in charge of was my baby, my one true love. I loved searching for the perfect stories to adorn its white pages, teaming it up with catchy headlines and vivid pictures. I loved holding my four-page wonder every Wednesday morning, admiring it's glossy sheets and inhaling it's musky smell. But just like an unfaithful spouse, I felt no remorse bidding adieu to my old love for the one that now lay peacefully in my arms.
Now I am not going to sit back and blatantly lie that my day starts at 6 and ends at 12 every night and that I get no time for coffee breaks or to do fancy luncheons with my girl pals. I do. My daughter is six, way past the drool, poop and diaper stage. She is in school six hours a day and there is no longer the need to interpret her burps, farts and gurgles. She is independent, confident and tells me exactly what she wants. So I am not going to sit back and ramble on and on about how tough it is being a stay-at-home mom. But I indeed am going to sit back and take credit for the young girl that she has become and the adult she will grow up to be. Polite, kind, respectful, disciplined, brave, fearless...And trust me, I can go on.
I agree, what I do is not a job. I don't get a salary, have no fancy visiting cards to flash and have no titles to trail my name. I am JUST a stay-at-home mom, probably JUST healthier cos I have time to hit the gym and swim an hour every day; Smarter, coz I have time of read the news and keep myself updated with everything that is current. My language skills, possibly better coz I read a new book every other day and write; my social skills way way superior than anybody glued behind a computer in a glitzy cubicle.
So there...you have it! I am Aswathy, JUST a stay at home mom...and super super proud of it.