A Mother’s Regret

It’s the paradox that all parents are faced with. The time when our kids are young, is also the time when we are just setting up home, establishing our careers, getting a grip on our adult responsibilities. Between the constant juggling that household chores, career requirements and social responsibilities demand, time  slips by. And before we know it, our kids are grown up! Raised by doting grandparents, if we are lucky! or in the company of maids and other hired help.

I had my two kids, back to back. Kabir, my younger one is just Nineteen months younger than his sister Maya. The first three years of their lives together are a blur! The details lost in the endless stream of dirty bottles and soiled diapers.  I remember, my predominant thought from that time was of getting away! Getting away from the seemingly endless cries to be fed, burped, cleaned or put to bed. And even from their cute but incessant, high pitched childish prattle.  I craved for silence. For a day, an hour, even a few minutes!  I wasn’t a bad Mom! Just a harassed mom!

My best friend, those days was also a working mom. We shared notes about our sleep deprived lives. Bemoaning the endless list of tasks we faced each morning. It also upset us that we had very little time or energy left to concentrate on our hard earned careers.  We looked forward to the time when the kids would grow up and we could ‘reclaim’ our normal lives.

The friend’s son has now come to class five. This month he leaves home to join a prestigious residential school. She will finally have more ‘her’ time. More time to spend on her work and leisure!  But instead of rejoicing she can’t stop crying. I understand her sorrow completely. The thought that I will be in her place, seeing off my own little girl, next year fills me with dread. And, a sense of regret!  Here are a few words (Not really a poem!) that express my thoughts.

My little girl

All ready to fly

Now that it’s time to let go

I wonder why?

Why I didn’t?

Spend more time

Playing with dolls,

composing silly rhymes,

Sipping tea from little cups

Pretend playing and dressing up

Why didn’t I sit for more hours?

With her head on my laps

Mindless of my  chores

Playing childish games

“Peek a Boo”, “Guess that name”

Visiting the  “tickling monster “

Making funny faces, to hear her roar with laughter

Did I really get enough?

Bubble baths and cook ups

Neighborhood treks and sand play

Hopping races and modeling Clay

Sunday picnics, long evenings in the park

Surprise treats and heart to hearts

 Why we didn’t finger paint more often

Or just lie in bed and have more fun

I wish when I still had the time

 I’d scolded lesser and praised her more,

Corrected lesser and encouraged more,

Punished lesser and sympathized more

Scheduled lesser and indulged  more

 Why was I in such a hurry?

For her to read her own night time story

To feed herself

Choose her own dress

Get herself ready

Make her own decisions

Always in rush to make her independent!

 Now I miss the times she looked for me

Seeking me out for every thing

To fix a button or tie a lace

Make her hair or wipe her face

 Why did I waste all those precious hours

Getting angry, disciplining her hard

And that incessant chatter

That wouldn’t stop

Why didn’t I listen to it with all my heart?

 Cause fulfilling my other responsibilities

All my life I can spend

But my little girl

won’t come back now

Her childhood has come to an end

How were you placed time-wise when your children were young? Did you feel like you had enough time to enjoy their childhood with them? I would love to hear your experiences.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. renxkyoko says:

    My Mom said I used to cling toher legs every time she’d go out to go someplace. At one point, a visitor witnessed the drama, She told my Mom, yes, it’s annoying now, but you’d regret it when the time came she wouldn’t need your company anymore. Enjoy these moments.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to share my feelings and experiences in relation to timeline. Though I am not a writer who could pen down the exact feelings easily. Still I will try.
    I have two children with a age gap of 4 years. I haven’t been fortunate enough due to the work pressure and circumstances to really see them growing or spend quality time with them.
    Both my children grew up faster than I expected as the elder one is now in college and the younger one is in hostel.
    Time flew like sand in the hourglass. The more I thought to bond with children the more distant it seemed. They became habitual of not finding me around. So it was awkward for them as I started getting myself more involved in their activities. Still I tried to the best of my abilities as I read so many Self Improvement books which unanimously explained only one thing i.e. Best thing to spend on your children is time.
    Fortunately, better sense prevailed in me and I talked about my feelings with my children. I feared as to how they would react ? They were absolutely practical and gave me the benefit of doubt for not being able to devote them quality time. We all decided to start afresh and start enjoying ourselves henceforth rather than staying upset over the past. We have started living in present and have so much fun when we all are together. I am reliving their childhood now.
    Thus I would only like to request you very humbly that a person of your stature should never ever make statements like “Why did I waste all those precious hours
    Getting angry, disciplining her hard
    And that incessant chatter
    That wouldn’t stop
    Why didn’t I listen to it with all my heart?”
    When at the same time you state that ” I definitely miss the little girl who hero – worshiped me and looked up to my every word as if it was a sermon from God.” Your M is evolving beautifully as you desired. So find joy in that.
    And believe me you are so lucky that your children at some point of time worshipped you unlike us who have to overcome the identity crisis.
    Think less enjoy more as you have played your role perfectly.

    1. Thank you someone – you are absolutely right … I agree with you. Thank you for taking out the time to read my ramblings .

  3. My mother can’t write like this but if she did, oh it would be everything that you stated here…
    I loved it…
    I believe your kid knows how much you love her…

    Many a times we’re not able to show our love to our loved ones…and that’s what makes all the difference…

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely piece of poetry…

    1. Thanks a bunch for your lovely words 🙂 Ya, i do believe my kids know how much i love them maybe more than they should 😉
      glad you stopped by

  4. I am inspired by your post my children are 6, and i make an effort to be with them even though sometimes i can’t stop the feeling of ‘escaping’ creeping on me. Time is sure flying and i intend to play w bit more from now on.

    1. So so glad to hear this. I know what you mean by wishing to escape sometimes. It’s totally normal and very well deserved usually. But it is also true that time with them is very short and very precious . It’s a difficult call 😊 good luck

  5. This really hits home for me right now as my little ones are 5,4, and 3 and I feel like I just don’t don’t spend the time doing the little things like I should. At night I am so tired and cranky that on occasions I don’t even tuck them into bed because by then the hour before their bedtime has presented itself with several different meltdowns and my husband is working all the time therefore I feel like a single parent. Last night my youngest one decided she wanted to wake up at 11:00 and wondered into my bathroom where I was trying to enjoy a relaxing late night bubble bath. She decided she wanted in with me which at first I was annoyed but then gave in and let her in. I suddenly realized I had never taken a bath with any of my kids and suddenly I was sad but then she started to giggle and blow the bubbles and I just cherished the moment and decided I would make a mental note to do it again. They grow so fast and I felt like I always had so much time but it’s running out…this is my time with them. While they still think I hang the moon. Thank you for the poem…it really touched me. 💌Trista

    1. They do grow very fast . Don’t kick yourself for the time gone by . The best thing about children is that they give us a chance again and again and again. Whenever you are ready – let the bubble baths begin 😊 love to you and the three dolls .

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