Most of us think of adventure as something that involves outdoors, travelling or maybe doing something impulsive or erratic. However, I have come to believe and experience that adventure is wherever you are, its just the matter of recognising it.
I didn’t always believe that. And that was a problem! You see being a stay at home mom, with a one year old, there is hardly any time or energy left to go out and ‘explore’. And before I got married I was never at home! I was always out with friends doing new things, creating new things, discussing about everything and more; in other words being ‘productive’. When I came to a new country after marriage all that was gone; and before I could find a job I was pregnant with my first child. Although it was a planned pregnancy, having your first child is nothing you can plan. The experience is nothing like you ever had before.
It took me quite sometime to adjust to the fact that it will be a while before I can started working and have a life outside home. Of course I always knew that when I have a baby I would stay at home and look after her till she goes to pre-school; thats what I wanted to do and I am fortunate that I can afford to do so. But knowing did not help the battlefield in my mind about doing something productive. You see, having gone to college, teachers and professors and even friends, in our best interest, encourage us constantly to achieve our maximum capacity and be productive in life.
This conditioned my thinking in a certain way. My friends, teachers and colleagues often told me that I have talents that are unique. I was often told by many wise or elderly people, “Satya, first stand on your own feet, make a career and then think about marriage and motherhood” or “You must do something, don’t waste your talents just by sitting at home.” Of course they meant well and spoke from there own experiences; and it was all good advice. But how you interpret an advice into your own life is a completely different story.
So staying at home and looking after the family felt as if I am wasting myself (it makes me feel awful to say it but I have to be honest). I constantly felt guilty that I am not doing anything productive or that I am wasting precious time; when all that time I was looking after my baby, husband and the house.
Although I have always had great respect for stay at home moms, I realised I did not really have enough respect for that work to determine my own self worth. If I did, I would not crave for doing something so called ‘productive’ or even feel guilty. I probably would not have felt that way if I wasn’t so bad at housework and cooking. Looking after the house and cooking didn’t come easy to me and that just helped drowning my self worth further down.
All of a sudden I felt so hypocritical, because I always told people before marriage that I am not career minded. That I didn’t really care for a career, when at this time I was craving for a career that would make me feel appreciated and recognise my talents; so that I could build up my self worth again.
What I did not realise was that in the process of this dilemma going on in my mind I was ignoring my family and their emotions; especially my husband. Along with other old grudges that kept sprouting up in my mind, I became quite an unpleasant person to live with. I was easily irritated and angry (being pregnant did not help), I would take anything that was said in jest personally and make a big thing about it. The worst part was that I found it embarrassing to even talk about it because it would make me look so stupid and superficial. So my poor husband bore the brunt of it all without knowing what was wrong- until I completely broke down and spilt it all out. And through it all he was anything but gentle, kind and most importantly loving. Its at times like these that I thank God the most for giving me a husband who loves me beyond reason.
To be honest it is still not easy. A conditioning that took more than 20 years to season does not go away in a day like magic. It takes time. But I am at peace now, with what I do. It took me a while to be proud of what I do and how I do it. I am beginning to appreciate it a little bit more everyday. And as I am beginning to appreciate it, I am becoming better at it. This whole realisation has been quite an adventure – an adventure towards staying sane.