Thursday, February 04, 2010

India and the US

No, not a post on international polity, sorry to disappoint :)

I have gotten a lot of remarks (sometimes with smirks) after the baby, about how I am in India and how I have things easy and why I should not complain.

Well, I beg to differ.

There are pros and cons as with everything. Only I am glad that the cons are far too little to match up to the pros.

The only con in fact is with expectations. If I was in the US, I'd have my mom or his mom come over and stay with us till their I-94 expired. Which is 6 months. And considering that I was going about my house work as usual, cooking as I would normally do till my mom came over (less than a month before I was due), I could have maximized this 6-month-I-94 benefit by asking whoever was coming for help to come in the very last week. No issues. This would have ensured I had some help at home with the baby etc till at least he was 5.5 months old :)

Now that I am in India, I am "expected" to go to my parents' place for delivery. Well, I decided not to. Mainly because they live in another town and traveling one week before I was due was a strict no-no. And I couldn't have gone anytime earlier since I didn't want to use my maternity leave before the baby actually came and I wanted to save all of it for later. Everyone said, but why are you not going. I had to explain to everyone. Well, not a big deal.

After the baby, we went to Hyd, spent a week each at my parents and his parents. And came back. AND CAME BACK!! Everyone was aghast to hear our decision to come back to Bangalore that early. Why are you going? How will you manage? Some relatives even went so far as to ask if everything was OK between me and my parents and why I came back so early. And the explanation that I gave "I want to live with my husband" was simply not understood. Even Subhash's parents said how he has to get used to it and how it will be difficult for me so I shouldn't go and so on. Subhash was like why the hell should I get used to not living with my wife and baby?! He asked his mom and his mom didn't really have an answer. His parents were under tremendous societal pressure because they "allowed" their son and daughter in law to leave with the grandson. How could they do it?!? How did they allow it? Well, if I were in the US, I could have lived with my husband all the same and no one would have batted an eyelid. Because parents going over to kids' homes for delivery is the "accepted" way for deliveries outside India.

Well, anyway, we came back and I managed. Quite well at that I can safely say now.

If I was in the US, I'd never have to manage a one-month old baby alone like this Yet, people say I have it easy.

So I will go one up on them and actually agree. But not because of what they think or the way they say it.

Now to the pros. You get help. Hired help. There is a lot if basic support system built in. I was able to manage the baby and cooking and packing off husband to work etc because I didn't have to scrub and clean and vacuum and do the dishes and so on.

Plus when my mom or his mom came home (before the delivery and afterward), they didn't have to "help" me with household chores. They didn't have to do the dishes, clean the house etc. They always had a maid who would bring them what they needed, cut vegetables, take care of washing clothes, doing the dishes etc. I ensured this and I can say happily and quite safely that they have it nice when they are here. My mom never lets me cook when she is around so except for that everything else was and is taken care of.

So that way, yes, my parents or his didn't have to come to run our house for us. They just had to come to share in our happiness and at best help with and entertain the grand-kid. In that way, I am overjoyed that I am in India. I am happy that neither my parents nor his have to slog for us at this age and even after all these years.

Anyways, so next time you simply say "Hey, but you are in India", just think about it for a few more seconds :)

PS - I've got a lot of comments citing examples of people managing even in the US. That is not the point of this post. The point is different. If I was in the US, I could have had the advantage of having help while living with my husband, and no one would have questioned it. I am saying that because I am in India, I have had to hear pretty weird things because I decided to live with my husband even if it meant managing alone. Which is why I said, the difficulty about being in India is to deal with the "Expectations" :) That is all.


rupa said...

Loved reading this...I agree with you totally....I lived abroad for some years and I know what it is....

shilpa said...

When I read your posts about coming back to Blore and managing by yourself I also remember thinking why you weren't staying put in Hyd itself, then I told myself that it was nice that you three were spending all this time together and was impressed. Way to go girl!

DivSu said...

@Rupa, Shilpa -- Thank you :)

Mrs Shyam said...

Well Just read your post and .. I am happy that you are in India .. But I totally disagree about your thoughts with "parents running the house in US" Let me tell you why.. When I was expecting the first time I was due Dec 12 my mom came to see me Nov 27th ( my mom runs her own business in India she was not willing to leave it in someone else hands)
Here is my mom in US and I was still working I was teaching 5 back to back classes in Criminal Justice College in Manhattan so instead of leaving my mom I took my mom to school till Dec 9 I me and my used to shop around for the baby as I was still driving .. and mean while I had stuffed my house and my freezer with enough food that I would need after the baby was here ...Cleaned all the bathrooms and vacuumed my house (9month prego and expecting any min )
Dec 18th the baby was home and all my mom had to do is toast me a bread in the morning and take stuff out from freezer and Friday was takeout day so one less thing to worry about ...I recuperated like in 10days ( I was taking care of the baby in the nights toooooooo I did my homework before the baby was here .Mom could not use bath tub I was giving him a bath)
DEC 24th Dad was here we have some American Friends come over for Christmas eve so I cooked the meal the (whole 9 yards )and we all had fun
Jan 1st We were invited over for a party
Jan 6th Vibhas namakaranam so Jan1st - Jan 6th we all were very busy planning for the party and Jan 5th the house was full (we catered the food)
Jan 7- Jan 12th Mom and Dad visited my cousins in USA
Jan 13th Dad left
( we still had food for us in the freezer)
Feb 1st I was cooking
Feb 19th Mom Left to India...

Second pregnancy
Due May 15th Planned section
May 2nd MOM's arrival
(like the first did all my home work cooked the food and froze it )
May 13th Last day of work
May 15th Suhas was born Mom dint have to cook as I had my friend chip in this time and Vibhas was in the day care. 9-5 and then his dad would take care of him.
May 21st Suhas comes home.
Dad was busy so could not come to see Suhas this time .I know it would take me longer to recuperate so had all the stuff done for a month
May 25th our anniversary Had a party at home (catered the food)
June 1st I was cooking
June 15th MOM leaves..

And here I am having a ball with my kids doing every thing myself ..

So Not Every Parent runs the house in US and U know My mom is proud of this .. all you need a bit Planning and Caring ....

Rachna said...

I had to bring up both my kids after the initial 1 month of support after my deliveries, first one in the US, second one in India. Of course, it helped in India due to all the factors, you mentioned; and I support your argument of staying with your husband. I cannot understand for the life of me why it is acceptable for the husband and wife to be punished by being separated for long periods, and why one has to answer anyone. Really good that you are holding the fort bravely and taking responsibility and managing a career too !!

DivSu said...

@Mrs Shyam -

So Not Every Parent runs the house in US and U know My mom is proud of this .. all you need a bit Planning and Caring ....

I must say you are a rare exception, wouldn't you agree?

DivSu said...

@Rachna - Yeah, it is funny isn't it? :) Thank you :)

Loga said...

I totally agree with what you have said...I also returned back last year, but my story was little
different...I still hear the same from others..Now I have made it a point not to justify or rather explain ;-

Mrs Shyam said...

Well I don't wanna say anything and offend others.. But I totally feel its a bit concerns towards our parents keeping in mind their age and health. I have an aunt who hates to come to us and cries all the time but she does it once every 6 months for her daughter U know ..its just a personal thing.

DivSu said...

@Mrs. Shyam - Exactly my point :)

Anonymous said...

Its your own choice whether you take help or ask your parents to help.. I think you did a great thing by not staying in Hyd. Even in the US its the same you can ask your parents to come and help or you can just ask them to come and visit and have some fun with the grand kids..Its all a matter of choice and what you want I guess

Anjani said...

Interesting blog....I have a 4-month old myself and hence couldn't resist this comment.

I don't get it....Why should we expect our parents to watch our kids. They've done their part for years. Now all they are expected to do is pamper my child (and only because they enjoy it).

In my case - my in-laws were here 3 weeks before the baby arrived. 6 weeks later they left. They could not adjust to the lifestyle here and they just left. It was shocking to most people back home that I was alone with the baby but I can safely say now that I've done pretty good (and there comes the 'supermom' compliment). I wasn't surprised at all. I don't think this was just because I had no choice and here's why I am saying that. A month later my mom arrived to "run the house and help me with the baby".
Baby gets pampered alright....but we still do it ourselves (the real work begins after our day job :-)). The chores are just part of the package. For us it is more about enjoying parenthood and dealing with whatever it brings. It is what we signed up for. In addition to this we get to take care of my mom while she is here. It is the least we can do for providing such a great 'day-care'

Work, Baby, household chores are all manageable.... in India or US...with good planning....

Anonymous said...

I appreciate parents who manage on their own, without the grandparents having to come over and "run the home", but I guess it has nothing to do with India/US, except that for some reason it gets more noticed in the US. I have seen both the kinds in both India and US
- A friend in Bangalore left her baby with her parents in Hyderabad when she had to get back to work and did weekend parenting.
- Another friend who works in Hyd, her parents/in-laws live in Jaipur manages very well on her own leaving her baby in a day care near her workplace.
- My SIL asked my in-laws to visit the US last summer since the kids would be home, and the kids are 4 & 6 yrs old! I could see my MIL stressed out at times :(
- Another friend in the US, her mom just came to help with the delivery and stayed for a month, and now they are happily managing on their own, even taking their 3 yr old kid & 4 month old baby with them to restaurants and movies :-)
One thing for sure, whenever I have seen parents managing on their own, the husband was equally sharing tasks and happily at that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I commented about so many people above, I hope I do justice to my conscience when it is my time!

DivSu said...

@Anjani, Anonymous and all - I guess the point of the post is lost when people try to justify that they are managing even when in the US. My point was different. If I was in the US, I could have had the advantage of having help while living with my husband, and no one would have questioned it. I am saying because I am in India, I have had to hear pretty weird things because I decided to live with my husband even if it meant managing alone. Which is why I said, the difficulty about being in India is to deal with the "Expectations" :) That is all.

Meghna said...

I guess there are so many pros and cons and I feel this whole 'US or India' is not even comparable, cos everyone's situation and circumstances are so different :) but completely understand the whole 'expectations' part which is to be dealt with in IND. Just follow what you strongly feel - these days/years wont come back again...:)

DivSu said...

@Meghna - Thanks.

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