To give you a gist, my husband is, in most ways, an open minded person. After living with me for several years now, his mind has opened up even more. Due to our different circumstances, his mind works efficiently while my thought process is always on a different track and slow. One thing that we agree on is giving each other space and we are bound, only a little, by any tradition or culture. So, as long as we are together, we agreed to do the things that we want. While we both encourage each other to do the things that we love doing, he is way more ambitious than I am. He is also a perfectionist while I am, completely, the opposite.
There was this twenty day road trip that he wanted to go on before we knew I was expecting. It was delayed quite a bit due to obvious reasons and then it was time. As we are a nuclear family and my mother could not be here due to the dates, it all depended on whether I could manage the two kids (four year old daughter and three month old son) on my own or not; and not forgetting the eleven year old dog and myself. Confidently, I told him I could. I wasn’t sure how I would handle certain things but I was ready for the challenge. I guess my SAHM life was getting slightly boring and I needed a change. A few days to his departure, he was suddenly unsure about my ability to take care of things in his absence, and began getting panicky. He suggested I go (with the kids) to relatives’ places out of town. I agreed to everything and after re-thinking, I decided to stay in the comfort of my own home. He also knew that if he forced something on me, before his trip, I would make sure he had a rotten trip. Yes, I can be evil when required.
Anyway, the, now twenty-five day, road trip began and he left with a friend. The only thing on my mind was that if the dog-walker did not come for any reason, I would have to be an octopus to take the kids and the dog for a walk. To my dismay, he did not turn up for four days after my husband left. It was like he sniffed his absence. He walks my dog twice a day. On my request, a dear friend agreed to sit with my kids (each night after she walked her own dog) while I took mine for a quick walk. My mother called her a blessing as she (my mother) was apprehensive about us being all alone, and me (her baby) handling it all by myself. The first week went by with, my toddler and I, getting ready for two separate performances. My new-born enjoyed the outing and the music he was exposed to everyday. Once the event was done with, I felt a sense of freedom; not that I was tied down or anything but I had pushed myself more than I should have.
In the second week, the festival holidays ended and it was time for school. My son decides that he should be fed before I did anything else. In, most of, the mornings, I was in a dilemma about whom to feed first, so I would attach my son to my breast and feed my daughter her cereal in milk. This began happening for lunch as well as dinner from then on. Sometimes, I felt it was easier if I just stayed hungry but then my stomach grumbled too much.
As the three of us spent more time together, on one of the days, my four-year-old decides to show me the stages of how babies are born, of course, starting with it being in the stomach. She reminded me of how the monkeys, through their observation, exactly copied humans but this enactment was funny and cute at the same time. She also feeds her baby (doll) and puts her to sleep just like how I do to my son. Another day, she comes to tell me that her stomach is paining. On asking her which part of her stomach, she replies, “You know the cut from where the baby comes out.” Oh! I had a hearty laugh! My husband was missing all this.
I kept myself busy with kitty parties, game nights, lunches, mall visits and dancing (yes, with both the kids). Somewhere in the middle, I was introduced to terracotta painting by another friend. The peace, that enveloped me while I painted, was something I hadn’t had in a long time. As I couldn’t barge into her place to paint every day, I ordered new paints from an online shopping portal and began doing it at home. I removed all my hidden creative raw materials which were stacked up for five years and began painting pictures for friends and family who were there for me when I needed it the most. I began teaching a seven year old a subject he wasn’t too good with. I was on my own trip.
After the road trip, the husband comes home to find me focused on everything else but him. The peaceful ‘me’ was too hard for him to digest. He wasn’t sure what pained him more; being away from us for almost a month or watching me engrossed in an artwork.
Many people asked me how I managed with things without hubby being in town, and it is difficult to explain it but honestly, I did not really follow routine and I delegated chores to other people. I only made sure my daughter went to school and my dog was walked and all of us ate. The one thing I’d say I missed out on was my afternoon nap. It is a very important factor in my life but then, I should thank God there were no casualties or cockroaches to deal with during those twenty-five days.