An Ode to Working Mothers

“We passed by this Flower Hmong woman working in the field with her baby bundled on her back. Women in the villages seem to do the same physical work as men, but with extra loads on their back women’s work seems to be more challenging.” – TravelingSolemates.com

 

I worked for over 2 years in a corporate company as a software engineer. In my last year, one of my good friends at work was a young mother. On so many occasions I’d feel so bad for her because of how difficult her day seemed, and yet she’d never complain, she’d never say she was tired, and she’d always go the extra mile to do all the work she was assigned (even the unfair amounts that should’ve been assigned to someone else).

Now, I don’t consider myself a poet or anything..but on Mother’s Day last year, I wrote a poem for all the mothers who worked with me, and it was inspired by this friend of mine. I thought maybe I’ll post this poem here on Mother’s Day and then I realised Mother’s Day fell on different days in different parts of the world..AND THEN I realised mothers deserve to be celebrated everyday..so I’m going ahead and posting that poem today 🙂

 

An Ode to Working-Mothers – by Sara Pulickal

She’s up in the morning
before anybody else
Fighting tiredness and sleep
She leaves the comfort of her bed.
She’s got an hour before the baby is up
So much to do
Before she catches her bus
There’s a house to clean
A baby to bathe
her husband’s breakfast
and then lunch to make.
In the middle of it all
She sends up a prayer
not just for her husband and child
but for assistance in this race against time.

She finally makes it
She catches her bus
And she reaches the office,
looking like any one of us.
She’s a daughter, she’s a wife
But look closer- she is more
We don’t realise she’s on full-time mother-mode
She worries about her baby, but stays focused on her code*
code that stares back at her from her computer’s screen
Reminding her of the deadline that’s so hard to meet.
She’ll crack jokes and she’ll be your friend
But inside she’s just waiting for her work-day to end
But even that doesn’t bring her to-do list to it’s end
Cos there’s a long journey back home and some more chores before bed
But her world lights up when she’s back with her child
It’s the only high she enjoys in this roller-coaster ride
Just thinking of her day can drive you insane
But she’s driven by love, love that makes her rise above her pain.

To all these women who are mothers
That demographic in our workplace, so significantly above the others,
We celebrate you today for being the women that you are
Women who do more than they should
Women with the strength that only comes with motherhood
For the blood sweat and tears- that it takes to live your life
For the hours away from your baby and from your role as a wife
For your company, your laughter and all that you share
We’re ever so grateful, we want you to know we care
We wish you the best,
peace, happiness and whenever possible- some rest:)

We pray you have the strength to face all that comes your way,
And with all our love we wish you
a Happy Mother’s Day!

*I..and the mothers worked in IT (well those mothers are still working there, I’m not. Alleluia 🙂 )  , so almost all our work revolves around code, i,e computer programming language, that’s as technical as I care to get.. aand that’s me trying to explain ‘code’ to people who might not get what code is. And maybe that was unnecessary, but never mind.

A baby on her back, a woman works in her field in Matuli, a village in northern Malawi. Copyright: Paul Jeffrey.

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Poetry : The Invitation by Oriah

A friend shared this poem with me last week-a couple of weeks after I discovered a lovely poem, which I shared on this blog yesterday..  The universe seems intent on helping me discover the beauty of poems. This one’s packed with wisdom and I think it’ll have something for everyone who reads it.

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

Oriah blogs at The Green Bough.

Poetry that doesn’t challenge my brain

I’m expressive, but I’m a lazy expresser.

My go-to mode of expression is drawing. I can talk about a whole day in pictures and in my head, it seems more effortless than wording out the experience..like I did here> an outing with the family when in Kerala.

But, as I’ve realized, drawing takes more time than typing out my story..which is why I end up posting writing more than drawings on this blog.

Recently, I’ve begun to accept that poetry is a very beautiful form of expression. I don’t usually have the patience for poetry- Poetry is beautiful, I know..but it requires some patience or a fancy brain to unwrap all that flowery, abstract language and find the meaning inside. I’ll just take a fortune-cookie, thank you.  But then there’s this blank verse kinda poetry that’s pretty much like regular writing and lacking excessive floweriness- that I love, especially when the words seem to be exactly what I’ve been feeling.  Oh it reminds me of Spoken Word. I’d love to be able to express my way through spoken word too!

I’ll stop here for this post, and end with a beautiful poem I found on googling. Go on! I promise you it’s worth the read.

Comes the dawn – by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises

and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child

and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much

so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

This post was written in response to today’s Daily Prompt.