Monday, July 14, 2008


In one of the Harry Potter Books, Albus Dumbledore says "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." I'm struck yet again by the weight of these words.

Choices. Everyday we make choices. From the simplest of choices like choosing between chicken or beef or between watching TV or reading a book, to the more complex choices like whether to invest in Mutual Funds or Franchising, we are surrounded constantly by the need to make a decision and to choose. These past few days was a recent test in the choices I had to make.

My son has been sick lately. He's been down with a cough and, for a couple of days, a fever. Naturally, I want to be there to nurse him back to health, to be present if he feels insecure, and to just assure him that (at least for this part of his life) Mommy will help make things better. But I couldn't be there all of the time to do all of those things because I had obligations I needed to fulfill to make sure he and his sister would be ok in the long run. Yesterday morning I took him to his room to sleep and he ended up crying for 10 minutes and calling for his yaya. Now, it took every little bit of me not to cry as well. I couldn't blame him. She was there when I was not, at least half the time. So I picked him up, put him to bed, and hugged him until he fell asleep. Thankfully, he was chipper and excited to see me and to tell me about all his little discoveries when he woke up 4 hours later. My daughter is another story. She has just been growing up so fast. It really bothers me that I have to get updates about he progress from her yaya. Yes, I do see a lot of these things myself when I am taking care of her. But it isn't the same as it would be if I were there all the time. And I felt the same way when my son was less than a year old, except to a lesser degree as there was less taking my attention back then.

So, Choices. Am I choosing well?

I know I am doing what I have to do now and it really is for the best. I am not blaming anyone for this nor am I under any misconception that the world owes me any favors. I often dream of making it big and finally having the means to spend 90% of my time at home but I know that I have to work to make this happen. The kid in me wants to go back to the days when you could squeeze your eyes shut and wish for something and it would actually be possible to see that wish come true. But I know from experiences in my relatively young life that, in the end, I make it happen, no one else. I have to stifle down feelings of resentment because I know that is just the brat in me stomping her foot and wanting her way. I have to take deep breaths to not be so angry that it has to be this hard. I know that if I were lucky enough to have financial support then great, but, if not, then I would just be one in the legions of moms on an endless quest towards financial stability and that I would not be, in any way, unique. And I know I have written about this before but why does it always seem like I am doing something wrong? Is the sacrifice of time with my kids, watching them grow, being there to teach them what I think they should know, really worth it? I think I know the answer to that question. In fact, most of the time, it really isn't a choice. How then do other working moms do it? How do they have steady marriages, full careers, and are good moms who raise good kids all at the same time? I don't get it. I wish someone would teach me how to do this right. Because I honestly often feel like I am doing it all wrong, and that I am drowning in things I have to do, missing the things I want to do, not really liking who I am and yet feeling powerless to change things given the circumstances.



yanka said...

Hmmm... The answers never really come easy, but I think they lie somewhere here:

- doing the best that you can do
- not comparing yourself with others
- accepting that you can't control everything
- learning to forgive yourself
- remembering that there are no perfect, cost-free choices.

On that note, I think you already rock and just don't know it. :-)

vicki said...

I will really think about those points. They make a lot of senses. Half the time I feel I have sense but the other half, the one that feels lacking, wins a lot of the time. Then I am left feeling like I'm groping, in the dark. Not a very good feeling. But thanks for the comments. I will mull over them indeed.

Ree said...

Hi Vicki! I just recently discovered your blog and had to respond to this post because I just so happened to be reading a great book about modern motherhood called "I was a really good mom...before I had kids."

There's a chapter about the choices we make as mothers and it ends with 6 easy ways to make peace with your choices:

1. Realize that expectations can influence your choices. Make sure you're making conscious choices based on what you really want, not what is expected of you

2. Consider what you don't want. By eliminating what is NOT right, what is right becomes clear.

3. Go back to your core principles and values. Use these to drive your choices.

4. Consider why you're feeling overloaded. It may not be just one big thing; all of those little things can add up to chaos. Making a few small changes might bring big relief.

5. Let go of the pressure to do it all and do it all perfectly. Sometimes it's ok for things to be "good enough"

6. Once you make a choice, make a rule not to second-guess yourself. Deciding to make peace with your choices will help keep you from being so swayed by others (and youself.)

I think it's great advice. I suffer from mommy guilt too and still struggle to let that go. Just do your best, don't worry what other people think, love your babies as much as you can. Hang in there!

vicki said...

Hey Riza!! I love your points. I am going to note them down and show them to some friends. I want to see if we have that book here as well.