Giving Up

Last week, as we were having dinner in the restaurant of our hotel in Gangtok, three mothers with their little children, probably from Bangalore, came in and occupied some tables near us. The children were all over the place, pretty much out of control. However, the waiters were quite nice, probably used to scenes like these and were trying to take care of the running toddlers, one of whom had taken her sibling’s stroller and was pushing it across the restaurant as fast as her tiny hands could.
Since, we are now over this phase of our life, my wife and I were quite amused by the whole scene, with a “been there, done that…” attitude!
Some minutes later, I happened to be studying one of the younger mothers, and I commented to my wife, “I think she’s pretty much given up.” My wife turned around to have a look. This mother, let’s call her “M”, probably in her late 20s or early 30s (it’s tough to tell these days when everyone seems to look younger than he/she actually is), had a stooped look, as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders with a resigned expression on her face. While in the beginning, she had tried to control her young, around 2-year old, sitting next to her, at the point in time that I noticed her, she seemed to have completely stopped bothering. It was a, “I am done. I can’t take any more of this and I don’t think I can do anything more from now on” look. The husbands were not around and were probably drinking in one of the rooms.
My wife agreed with me. I then said. “But that’s so sad. She should get some counseling.” My wife turned to me and said. “Don’t be silly. She will be back in action tomorrow.” I asked her how she could be so sure, which actually was quite a stupid question, considering that she has had quite some experience with the twins.
And sure enough, the next day at breakfast, after a well-rested night, “M” was back, looking enthusiastic, with a spring in her step, being fully attentive and completely “there’ for her children.
I guess, once in a while, it just all becomes too much. That particular day for example, they must have driven for 4-5 hours on those terrible roads from Bagdogra, on which even those people who normally don’t have a problem can land up with car-sickness. Perhaps one of the kids had puked. Or maybe it was about being cooped up in one jeep…kids, adults, car-sickness, toilet issues, hunger…maybe all together. To get to Bagdogra, perhaps they had taken a flight from Kolkata or Delhi in the afternoon and perhaps had spent the whole morning trying to get to Delhi or Kolkata. And all of this, with young children in tow.
And it doesn’t even have to be related to travel.
Maybe on a particular day, the child is being just a little too cranky. Maybe there’s been a small fight with the spouse. Perhaps the cook hasn’t turned up. The maid may be acting funny. One of the in-laws may be sick and needs help. Or a parent needs to be looked after. The driver may not have turned up. There may be a sudden water cut. The boss may be acting smart or may have dumped extra work. It could be any of these alone or in combination or sometimes all together!
And then you just give up. Just like that!
We all need time-outs!

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