If you think being a woman is hard, try having kids. From the moment you publicly announce your pregnancy, you will signal to the world that you are awaiting advice from every second jackass who thinks they know best. Of course, then you have the child, and those people decide they need to up the ante because every decision you make is public property. Seriously, no one cares that no one has asked. They'll give your their opinion in excruciating detail anyway.

You simply cannot win.

Are you a working mother?

"Oh my God! You are neglecting your child!"

Are you a stay at home mother?

"How nice to have that luxury!"

7 months into this motherhood gig, and all I have to say to everyone who has an opinion on my choice is:


When it comes to parenting, there is truly no formula. Babies are the ultimate education in never making plans, because the universe sees your nicely laid out Stalin-esque 5-year plan, laughs, and BAM! BABY! You, too, will eventually (maybe in 20 years when the child leaves home) laugh at how thoroughly annihilated your plans were. As such, you really do learn to roll with the punches, and every family will do what works best for them. As with most things, the grass is always greener on the other side, and you won't just get judgment from random people, but from other mothers as well. For some reason, it's always first-time mothers who have the most holier-than-thou, judgy attitude towards your choices. I can't count the number of times I've been met with, "I wish I could be a stay at home mum, too!", or "Don't you think you should have a nanny? My kid thrives with one!"


What people don't realise is that everything is a choice. Yes, you too can be a stay at home mum, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with having all the money in the world. Everyone makes sacrifices, and not having a nanny is a choice I have made as well. 

Being a woman is truly the most cruel joke nature can play on you. The expectations placed on us these days are unattainable. We truly are expected to do it all, from working to running the household. And if you don't excel at everything, well, then you're just not trying hard enough. I can safely say that this is the most absurd ideology ever. You will always, ALWAYS be compromising on one front to excel at another. If you give your all at work, you'll undoubtedly miss your baby's bedtime, or your child's performances at school. If you give your all at home, your work will suffer. The idea of balance as a working mother is laughable. Yes, there are women who do it all, but they often have help to pick up the slack. 

I know this, so I chose to be a stay at home mum. Not because cutting our household income in half is the preferable stance, but raising my daughter my way is more important to me.

When you make this choice, it comes with consequences as well. It truly does go deeper than "I can't buy that new branded handbag.". It comes at the expense of interacting with a small baby all day, everyday, without seeing a single other adult except for your spouse for days on end. It comes at the expense of giving up a career your worked so hard at, and excelled at, to channel your energy into shaping a tiny blob of a humanoid who will probably never appreciate it. It also comes at the expense of your sanity, and every relationship you have cultivated to date. There is a whole other level of madness in the shift of your identity from fully-functional individual to full-time mother. 

In the last (almost) 7 months of motherhood, I have lost so much of myself. After 30 years of being a self-centered person who didn't need to worry about anyone else, this has been a difficult transition. My days now revolve around an unpredictable schedule of naptime, feedings, diaper changes, and entertaining something that doesn't have a clue what I'm saying. Objectively, this sounds horrible, but then that little blob learns to smile at the simple fact that you're spending time with it. And it learns to hold your hand as it's falling asleep. 

Yes, my priorities have changed in leaps and bounds. I no longer want the latest makeup product on the market, or the most killer pair of heels. I don't have the time or energy to put on makeup, and wearing heels is a distant memory for me. 

And I wouldn't change it for the world. I would give up every luxury to do it over again. Watching the little creature grow and learn new things everyday, and being able to see it through brand new eyes is its own reward. I love sharing the joy of food with her, and seeing that she's going to be a foodie. I love that it's still years off that she's going to be too cool to hang out with me, and for now all she wants is to be with me all the time. It validates you when you give up everything, and the baby strains to look through the little window to catch a glimpse of you in the kitchen. She needs me now, and I will always be here.

But...and this is a big but...It kills me some days.

The days of endless crying, neediness, and teething. The days when she's up at the crack of dawn. The days when she won't sleep, and then I can't either when she does. It's frustrating and maddening. It takes its toll. There are days when Pinata is too busy with work to sit and have anything but a 5 minute conversation, and that means I've only been communicating in babbles for days. All that education gone to waste. 

When it gets overwhelming, it pays to walk away. I've learned this the hard way, and through someone else's eyes. Pinata told me to my face that I'm in infinitely better mother when I take some time out, and then come back. Because you really have to. When you are consumed in the downward spiral of the sheer insanity of motherhood, you need to step away to regroup. The prevailing advice is that if you feel the need to shake your baby, step away and let it cry. The same goes for your tolerance level. Everyone has their very own breaking point, and mine tends to be when I've had no reprieve from the baby for 48 hours straight. It's at this point that I leave her with Pinata for an hour or two, head out to sit in a cafe, and catch Pokemon. 

Initially, I felt incredibly guilty about this. I mean, I don't work as much as I used to. Motherhood is my sole career at this point in time. Why do I need a break? Because babies are the most demanding bosses in the world. You can't ask them for a lunch break because they have no clue what the hell you're saying. You also can't tell them to stop crying because you will attend to them in 2 minutes. They need you, and they need you now! So, I have learned that walking away does make me a better mother, despite what anyone has led me to believe. It's the crushing weight of these expectations that outsiders put on us that gets to us. It has nothing to do with what's actually best for the baby. 

So yes, I have made these choices, and they work for me. If you have an opinion on them, please refer to the diagram above. 

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