A navel gazing post, feel free to skip

Of course the navel gazing is technically metaphorically speaking, you understand that. No navel gazing can actually happen unless through some mischance of being in the path of some gamma radiation testing type experiment all my limbs turn to rubber and I can contort myself to the extent that I could actually, well, navel gaze. I could navel gaze by looking at myself in the mirror but that has recently proved to be such a traumatic experience that I undertake it only under duress and when eyeliner needs to be applied. I still donot have the confidence to apply eyeliner without a firmly placed mirror sturdy on some flat surface. Car eyeliner happens everyday though, given my inevitable screeching out of the house on roller skates every morning, dragging freshly bathed child generally having forgotten random item of clothing on his person, and self having forgotten essentials like comb hair to ensure you donot scare the crows sitting on the compound wall. Ergo, looking into the mirror to navel gaze is an act of bravery these days, one that would inevitably be followed by me collapsing on any available nearest sturdy surface and bawling my eyes out. Anyway, I digress.

The point is that I had a navel gazing moment recently. It dawned on me when a dear friend squawked that she was going to be an awful Stay At Home Mom. Now this friend is the kind I feel I’ve been dragged in from the swamps when I’m in the company of, so this statement kind of shook me up. Well, more accurately speaking, this statement put me into the blender of life reflections and put me on express blend mode.  If this girl, who is the most with it, organised and together person I know, feels she is an awful SAHM, I wont even figure on the rating scale. Unless they have a point marked any lower than this and you are an amoebic lifeform.

I emerged white and shaking and terrified. I had spent all my life pretending to be a SAHM. And had been and am a darned awful one at that.

To start with I dont do any cooking. Not unless you count making microwave popcorn, Maggi noodles and sunfeast pasta as legitimate cooking of the Maa Ke Haath ka variety that has the child licking his fingers and making O signs with the forefinger and the thumb which have yet not got into sexual innuendo territory in his mind.  None of my son’s friends stay back to help him clear his room because his mother has made yummy pavbhaji. No visitors ever drop in at home in lure of my irreplicable mutton curry. In fact, when I actually get down to cook, the family shudders in fear. They cross themselves and invoke the food gods with bribes of offerings at temples to ensure I go easy on the salt and the chilli. They keep takeaway menus handy and restaurants on speed dial. They actually sit at the table with Digene right where the glass of water should be.

My house runs on auto pilot. If the cook doesnt come in for a day, I collapse. I spend all morning hunting for ingredients, and by the time it is actually time to eat the meal, I throw my hands up in the air and speed dial Uncle’s Kitchen. The day the maid doesnt come in, the house looks like a cyclone has meandered through and one never really got around to reconstruction and rehabilitation of the affected areas.

Cleaning the house is my list of things to do when I have a gun held to my head. Or when I have to find the child under mounds of dust. Or when I can write my instructions to the cook on the sediment on the platform. Ah well, I exaggerate. The house is relatively clean. But I no longer obssess about every corner being spit polished. It is honestly something I couldnt care a damn about now. Because no matter how much one spits and polishes, the damn dust flying in from construction site up front makes it a debris zone in a couple of hours. And as some wise wit once said, after a week, the dust layer looks the same.

I am the world’s worst hostess. I wait, smoking illegal substances, for guests to come at the appointed hour, and then push them into the kitchen to make my boondi raita for me. I ask them to help me set the table and clear up. I end up delegating tasks to everyone invited and swig down my glass that cheers in a comfortable armchair while directing proceedings. 

And lastly, I am also, the world’s most laidback mother. The child doesnt attend a multitude of classes. He never saw a flashcard in his life held up by my loving hands. A far cry from these days when children at day care are calmed down by the sight of Capital A on a flashcard rather than pictures of their parents. He has no sporting skills. He cannot still ride a cycle without side wheels. He cant swim, he cant skate, he cant do a smidgeon of the things other kids around him are winning trophies for. At his own pace. When he develops the interest for something he will. Till then, Im not putting my back out being a soccer mom. And till then, I’m okay with him just being cute and precocious.

Gah. I’m such a fraud SAHM. I need to find me a new designation to live out my life.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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19 Responses to A navel gazing post, feel free to skip

  1. sscribbles says:

    You have company, Lady K. My child too grows like a weed 🙂


  2. Parul says:

    How about author?

    Also, your blogroll perhaps needs updating…


  3. dipali says:

    Of course you are a fraud SAHM- methinks you spend several hours a day in an office:)


  4. oh well u have company here, apart from cooking which I love and was doing even when I was working I will have to yes to all of the above

    @dipali : very well said 😀


  5. Rohini says:

    Find another pond to fish in, milady. This one’s taken :p


  6. kenny says:

    oh stop it. where is one supposed to cycle in mumbai, i ask you? and swimming is clearly not your responsibility. and you work. and do IH. and have written a book. and have taken him through so much in the past. and done everything under the sun in these seven years with such grace… so, pah..


  7. faeriee says:

    Story of my life, it seems. So good to meet someone just like me.

    I let my kids grow up whichever way when they were little, and now that they are 10 and 11, life is great fun. And I am not going to spoil the fun with daily household chores. No, thank you very much.

    My kids mistake me for an elder sister – I am that lax with anything that resembles housekeeping. I leave that to maids. But we have lots of fun discussing history chapters and geography maps ! We look forward to studying and discussing with each other, and thats something no one else can do – no maid, no teacher. Let the dust settle on the floor, I know I can always clean that up later. But I do try to keep their minds and hearts polished, always. So its all about priorities.


  8. Vidya says:

    Kiran, who decides how a SAHM mom should be and not? We all make our own rules!!


  9. i should have taken your advice and skipped the post since i’ve seen you in action and know its all bull


  10. Pepper says:

    I don’t understand how you always call yourself a SAHM and then also write about being overworked in office, etc? 😀

    You do a hell lot ma’am! Please don’t write such posts and make me feel more inadequate.


  11. R's Mom says:

    You arent a SAHM right? Yay to Dipali’s comment..and its great that you dont pressurize Krish into anything…I have parents of 2.5 year old in R’s daycare making them join dancing competitions and insisting to the dance teacher that their child win!!!!! let him enjoy..and I agree to kenny..where is the place in Mumbai to cycle???


  12. Kiran Manral says:

    Sscribbles: I am sure they will thank us for that when they accept their Nobels years down the line. Serious.

    Parul, suki: *Sticks tongue out in inelegant manner*

    Monika, Dips, Trish: True, she;s such an ardent foodie.

    Ro: Let me have my DQ moments. You stick to your glamazon corner.

    Kenny: *Sticks tongue out*

    Fairee: I wonder sometimes if I am doing the child a disservice by not pushing him enough.

    Vidya: True. But there is a stereotype going around this part of the world, and in my corner it also involves kitty parties and such like.

    Themadmomma: *sticks tongue out*

    @all: Good to know that I am not alone. 😉


  13. Kiran Manral says:

    Pepper: My own thing na. Not like really working at a proper job.


  14. Imps Mom says:

    Yay!! I have company. 😀 I thought I was the only one who wasn’t pushing my child into dancing, swimming etc.. And I’d rather spend the little time I get from work to spend with her, either playing or just fighting or just playing the fool… its only dust after all n will look the same the next day too..


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