It was yet another fantastic day in my office. I got the news about my promotion. I decided to head home early to surprise my wife. Rushed to my car, played my favorite playlist and started to drive by singing along. On my way, I picked up a box of my wife's favorite red velvet cup cake.
I reached home and rang the bell. My wife opened the door and what I saw next was shocking. Her hair was completely undone, misaligned specs, improperly clad clothes which is wet and had stains of dhal, rice, etc,. Aside was my two year old, hyper active son in his sleeveless top sans underwear, with a stick and a pen in his hand.
The house was in a never seen before mess. Not a thing was in its designated place. It's just a complete mess of toys, paper, pen, soiled vessels, tissues, diapers and what not. I have never seen my house in such a state before. I did not utter a word, just handed over the cake box to my wife and walked quietly inside.
Our little one climbed on to me and started to play while my wife was asked the reason why I am home early. I told her that I have a severe headache. At that time, I noticed some pen strikes on her legs (courtesy - our little monster). She went on to prepare tea for me to help me get rid of my headache.
Only now I realized that all these days she ensured a calm, clean and tidy home even after managing my son and other house hold stuff. It's just way too tough and one hell of a demanding job. On the other side, I commute in my AC car, favorite music while commuting, AC office, my own room at office, coffee break, lunch break and what not. When compared with my wife's, mine was a king's life. I felt terribly bad and should have been at least a little supportive. But, she never complained as she knew I was at a very crucial point of my career.
I had a total sleepless night. A lot of realities flashed in front of me. After our son, she sacrificed her high profile career. She chose family over her career. When I think about my bit of contribution towards upbringing our family, it's almost nil, but, earning. I realized that my promotion and bigger money does not make sense when my family does not get anything out of it, except some extra money. Next day, I got up with a very clear, determined mind about how to go about it.
To start with,
- I went to office and requested my manager to promote one of my colleague instead of me.
- Told him that I will be in office for not more than 5 hours a day. But, assured him to make up for the rest of the hours at night.
- Got approval for occasional work from home if and when required.
When he insisted, I told him that my family needs me now. I emphasized that my son and my wife are my priority right now. He asked if I am sure. I told him - "I am doubly sure." He nodded with a smile and approved.
I never regretted my decision about my career. My role in my office could be handled by someone else. But, my time and availability for my family is paramount and cannot be substituted. I chose not to compromise on that.
My life changed from then on for better. I spend more time with my family everyday. I get new perspectives and realize new dimensions when I spend time with my son. I get to see the sides of life which would otherwise have gone inexperienced. It's a gospel truth that 'a child is the father of a man'. My wife gets a bit of free time for herself. She is pursuing her interests now. Yeah, she is the one behind lovelearnraise.
A lot of things have changed - my work, my life style, bed time, wake up time, sleep duration, etc,. These little changes enable me to share the parenthood responsibility. We are not the picture perfect or cinematic or the ideal couple. We do have our arguments, nasty fights and disagreements. But, things are a lot more smooth, lovely, beautiful and above all, more mutual.
Should I say I feel happier and successful than before?
"Life if 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it." Happy parenting!