Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Guilt and motherhood

Guilt and motherhood go hand in hand. No amount of time, effort and sleepless nights is ever going to satisfy a mother like me to feel, "I have been a good mother and I'm doing fine with bringing up the baby." And all this when the going is good. On tough days, the feeling is miserable for not being able to hand LG well enough.

When LG was about 12 weeks old, a client I had worked for in my pre-delivery days approached me and asked if I was available to finish a project for him. Having given up my full time job, I had been contemplating of doing freelancing again. This seemed like a good start to work for someone you already share a good rapport with. LG was behaving himself and had formed a daily feeding-sleep routine, so I had a rough idea of how much spare time I would be able to get in a day. In addition to this, the excellent support system at home then and encouragement from mom made me say "yes" to this gentleman.

More than the money, I was looking forward to a break from nappy changing, midnight feeds and thinking just about the baby all day. It was also a test for me to see how quickly I could finish a job and if the anxiety and restlessness to deliver quality work was still intact in me after months of idling.

Having a baby in the same room as where you work doesn't make for a good work environment. The minute I would start working, he would wake up and for some reason, he had gotten back to his cranky self. I CURSED myself for having accepted this work and felt miserable everyday. It was no more than 2 day's work but the code was so messy that it took me 4 days'. Those were the days, when LG had begun turning. He would turn and look up to me and smile to draw attention. I would just ignore his sounds and concentrate on finishing the job so that I can get to the boy faster. There was one evening when he did cute things and mom said, "Look here. These moments won't ever come back in your life. You can earn all that you want later." And minutes later he had done potty and kept cooing to tell me he had done it. Without turning at him to see what was happening, I let him smear it for a good 5 minutes. This was it. I felt like the meanest mom on earth. I was struggling to find a balance between work and my duty as a mom.

It had reached a point beyond which I couldn't continue sanely when I caved in and wrote to the gentleman minutes after the potty episode, "Hey, Its ok if you don't wish to pay me for I didn't meet some of your requirements but this as far as I can go." The minute I sent that e-mail out with half -finished work, I felt relieved for not being a under a pressure to deliver. The gentleman on the contrary was happy with what I delivered and paid me and acknowledged that what remained was too complex to achieve. Its a different story that I worked at my leisure the following week and delivered that as well.

So goes my first freelancing saga..