At 8 months, Esther is crawling forward and able to pull herself up to a standing position using the sofa. With appropriate incentivisation (ipad, handphone, etc), she is able to cruise forward using the sofa for support, but all this standing and cruising has also meant a lot more "accidents", like accidentally falling, slipping, tripping and hitting the floor with a 'bang" and a "waaaah"!
The new mobility also means I'm finding it harder to work on the sofa while she plays around me. Deeply furrowed into crafting a work email that will make sweeping policy decisions in the publishing industry (ya, like real!), I look up from my keyboard to see two beady eyes, a furry head and a blur of pink dangling from the edge of the sofa, two active paws threatening to erase my eloquence with a swipe of "afioadn/klasdihad". Sigh. The trials of flexi-work and working from home.
In fact, I have been working from home for the past 10 days because my helper is on home leave! We have decided to be decent employers and give her 17 days home leave annually. She deserves to see her family once a year, right? However, this has meant I have to rearrange my work schedule for 2+weeks, so as to take care of Esther and the boys.
So it's been 10 days of staying at home, feeding Esther, changing her diaper, playing with her, cooking food for the whole family, doing laundry, doing groceries and so on. I actually feel a sense of achievement at this short period of self-reliance, though the day-to-day is exhausting. But it is great to have Husband be more active at home, and it's nice to do chores together as a couple, and as a family.
I am reminded again of the unique challenge of mothering young children--in the words of a friend and fellow blogger, it can never be a career; the amount of effort you put in is not directly related to the outcome. In addition, I would add, it is not rational--there are no logical steps of career progression, it is not performance based. it is physically exhausting, and challenges all parts of the person--mental, physical, emotional, intellectual. It is difficult to measure whether you're doing a good job or not. Sometimes there is very little (understandable) feedback. And it is isolating (because the world thinks that if you're a stay at home mum, you're somehow dumber than others, or you're "out of touch".)
At the same time, it is probably the most holistically rewarding and challenging thing any woman could do. Much more difficult and therefore, much more satisfying than any career, if you're the sort that likes challenges. No organisation will remember its employee in the long term. But every child will remember his or her mother. And the legacy you leave behind (whether good or bad) is for the longest possible time.
Therefore, I am really blessed to be able to be a mother, and also have some part time work to do. This past 10 days would not have been as smooth without the help of my in laws, my mum and Husband. And I thank God for the privilege of being at home, full time now, but part-time usually, as watching my kids grow up, and being an active part of that, will probably be one of the few sustained endearing memories of my life.