Parenting decisions

Parenting decisions

It was six in the morning. I was done with the tiffins and was making a start on the kids’ breakfast as I called out to them to wake up for school. N woke up after a call or two but there was no response from H. When he refused to get up after repeated entreaties I went to check on him only to find him burrowing deeper under the covers.

‘My head hurts’, he mumbled, ‘I couldn’t sleep all night. May I please not go to school today?’

‘Not today!’, thought I, ‘God! please, not today’. Today I didn’t have the patience or the bandwidth to cajole or to fool around, to bribe or to offer concessions in a bid to keep the morning-before-school peaceful. Somedays it is almost stressful – this struggle to keep the mornings stressfree.

Annoyance rose up inside me. No sympathy, no concern, just plain annoyance.

I was supposed to go for a much postponed medical examination that day. This was something I’d been planning since the start of the year but just hadn’t been able to get around to. It would have taken up the entire day so plenty of planning was involved. The maids had to be informed, the children entrusted with a key to the house and told to manage their snack on their own when they got back from school. The zumba class had to be rescheduled and I was expecting a package from amazon so the neighbour had to be informed. As a stay-at-home mum, stepping out for one whole day is challenging.

Finally everything had been done and I had let the anxiety of the medical exam wash over me. The sense of achievement at having scheduled everything had faded at the thought of the ordeal ahead – the poking, the pricking and the drawing of blood and then of course there were the results to consider. What if there was something seriously wrong?

It was something I was looking forward to as much as I was dreading it.

For over a year I had been struggling with niggling aches and pains. Somedays I’d wake up with all my joints, right down to the digits of my fingers hurting. Somedays I’d wake up with a headache and carry it around for two or three days before it decided to leave. With no one to push me to get that checkup I had just let it be. I do hate going to the doctor on my own.

Finally, however, I had managed to ready myself and now this! I thought in frustration. This was something my already strung out nerves could have done without. Annoyance bubbled up again as I glanced over at my sleeping son. I’d have to reschedule and replan, provided I found the will-power to rebook that appointment. And all for a headache, which in all probability, would disappear even before his bus disappeared round the corner, I rued.

Am I being too soft on the children? Should I push him to go to school? It would be a struggle but I knew he would go if I pushed him. But was that too harsh? What if his head was really hurting? What if it was the beginning of one those terrible colds that seem to catch him all too easily? What if it turned into something serious, a fever, maybe? I touched his forehead. It felt cool. He turned over, forcing his eyes open, ‘Please ma, may I stay home, today?’ How sorely I missed the Husband at times like these!

I looked at H waiting for my response, his hair tousled, his blanket half on the ground, and I nodded slowly as a wave of guilt washed over me. Guilt. How could I feel annoyed at a child for being ill? Would I push him to go to school when he could barely open his eyes?

I saw his foot sticking out of the covers and reached out to pull up the blanket. He might be an 11-year-old tween with a size 10 foot but he still is my baby. The baby who comes looking for me at night when his nose is blocked or when he’s been all macho and watched a scary movie in the day.


Often I feel the children’s pain, physical or mental, more acutely than they themselves do but somedays, just somedays, I lose all sympathy and feel plain frustration, followed soon enough by guilt. And even while I know both feelings are way out of proportion I find myself unable to do anything about it.

22 Replies to “Parenting decisions”

  1. Ah! It’s not easy being moms. So many things pull us in so many different directions. I get you completely! Hope you go for your tests real soon and get relief from the pains and the aches! Hugs, Tulika!

  2. This must be every mom’s struggle – to wake up the kids, send them to school and to also squeeze that one important event planned for that very day. I hear you. I hear the working of your mind. I get the efforts you make to look after yourself. Hope everything comes out fine in the medical tests results you take some other day.

    1. I hope so too Anamika. Sometimes despite your best intentions for yourself, you just cannot get around to it and that is frustrating. All well now, though :-).

  3. Hugs and hope H is feeling better now. Parenting is a tough boat to row and especially single handedly. Sigh, been there and not missing it one bit!

    As for you, like the others say, hope you get to the appointment real soon. We need to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Lots of love to you, Tulika. Take care .

  4. Sorry to hear he wasn’t well. When are you going for your test? I think when you reply to this comment is when you will commit here to get your health check done. 🙂 Take care you three! <3

  5. Hugs Tulika!
    Being a mom is trying at every step. I could visualise myself scheduling everything quite the way you did, every time I need to go out even for a few hours. After reading your replies to the comments above, I’m glad you followed your gut instinct but more so that you have gone ahead to reschedule that long overdue appointment for the health checkup.
    Here’s hoping all turns out well this time around and you have all the necessary tests done to help you get relief from the aches and pains.

    1. On the face of it, it seems like as a SAHM I have all the time in the world but scheduling an outing takes so much effort. All done now, so that’s something.

  6. A big, big hug to you, Tulika. Please do make an appointment when you can next because your health is also as important as that of your family. I can only imagine how tough it is for you to make time for yourself. I have seen my mom and still see how she has to take care of everything at home and take care of us before she can even go out for something as simple as grocery shopping. So, hugs once again!

  7. A big hug to you Tulika.. mornings before school have been the worst part of my day lately so I completely sympathise. Glad that you could reschedule the test, and sending positive vibes that it will all go well. Health niggles are really tough to handle long-term, hope that you get a quick diagnosis/solution to make them all settle down.

  8. I hope you get to that appointment soon, Tulika. I hate health tests too but I guess they are necessary. Yes there are times when I feel really annoyed at the cold for being sick and staying at home. These days I do carry on for any work I’ve planned even if one of them is at home. But I totally get you. Such is a mum’s life. So was he really sick?

    1. Yes he was. Didn’t go to school for two days. The doc found some mild congestion. That said, nothing would have happened even if he had gone to school with a crocin – that’s all the doctor prescribed!

  9. I’m the wrong person to comment on this topic but I would still like to offer my two cents: don’t put off your own health worries for something like a fever or headache. At 11 years, he can manage fine for a few hours. But if you don’t take care of yourself early, you will end up finding out what ails you at a time when the disease may have already progressed

    1. Thanks Roshan. I get what you’re saying but this one is a longish checkup. Takes up the whole day. I have rescheduled it though, I understand how important this is.

  10. Its never easy and I loved your description of the preparations to be done when a SAHM steps out. I do hope you can make that appointment soon Tulika

    1. Thanks Akshata. Few people understand how tough it is for a stay-at-home-mom or a wrk-from-home-mom. One does have time but very little of it is ‘one’s own’. You are constantly adjusting to everyone else’s schedules.
      I’ve made yet another appointment. Hope I’m able to see it through this time.

  11. OMG are you just speaking my mind??? Cause i have similar nagging pains, plus my appointement with the dentist is pending too. Almost everyday I battle on the appointments versus my huilt on whether I am being too soft(or harsh ) with the kids. Ans as you say, often its not the pain that nags you but its the guilt that nags you the most!!!! Sigh a moms life!

    1. You do get me. I am constantly vacillating between ‘I am being too struct’ ‘I am being too lenient’. And this is why all of us need a partner, specially one who doesn’t overthink. Do make time to go to the dentist.

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