I got late to office today. As I parked my car and got out, it was 9:45 a.m. Now, being a mother isn’t a cup of tea. I console myself saying that my parents lived in a more difficult time and therefore, they went through more hardship – which means, what I go through now is nothing. But does that work? Rarely.
I got late because when I dropped my four-year-old daughter to her daycare, her principal asked me and all other parents to come inside their school to look at their first term progress report. I went to my daughter’s class, her hand clasped in mine. She started bending her head left and right, showing that coy behavior that she wasn’t so willing to go with rest of the children to the assembly. Her daycare has introduced a parrot green tracksuit as uniform for the children. My daughter doesn’t want to wear it to school. Today, she put them in her bag saying she was going to take help from her teacher, Madam Pasang to wear it once she was at school. Now, as I stood in her classroom, waiting for her madam to show me her progress report, she told me that she would like me to help her put on the uniform – and I did. Slowly, she began to nag. At first she wanted to give me a kiss, which she did. Then she wanted me to watch her say her morning prayer at the assembly. She said, ‘mummy jang rab ze yithro phiwa goth pa lek la’. I said I will. Now, maybe I yielded too much. She then said she wanted to go home. She didn’t want to stay at school today. I explained, reasoned, and told every little thing I could to let her see that being in school is more interesting than being home. This only made her cry, clinging on me. But she was not the only child who wanted to go home. There was another boy her age doing the same. There was yet another boy crying quietly inside the classroom.
When no explanation worked, her principal came and took her off from me. It had to be forceful. She screamed and cried and fought to let her off. Once she was locked inside the altar room with other children where they were gathered to say the morning prayer and national anthem, I could hear her shout, ‘Nga chhi na jo ni’ – (I want to go home!) at the top of her voice. I faltered wondering if I should give in. I called my husband. He said I should leave her at school because she has to know that she can’t just have everything her way. I asked my husband’s sister who is home to go out and see if she was playing as usual in the school playground in a while.
A mother’s heart burst into pieces hundred times everyday. There is a dilemma of such kind in each small activity. The routine of making children brush. The discipline of making them not watch TV while they eat. The routine of making them sit and eat in the manner they should. The list goes on. And no matter how helpful your husband is, the major chunk of the responsibilities fall on the mother. And mothers usually don’t complain. Do they? Children also prefer to nag mothers more.
And you know what makes it worse? Just as I parked my car and came out, my boss came. The two times I had to go home at 4 p.m., I met him on the way. I keep bumping into him when I reach office late, or leave office early. It nags me because bosses do not always see deeper than these minor irregularities. And I feel like I should resign. Would there then be more peace?