Her three-year-old was singing ‘whoopsy daisy angel’ for the hundredth time, looking at her, in the hope that her mummy dearest will join her bed, sooner or later. She with her big, black eyes of a puppy looked at her mom without losing hope.

While her fingers were flying in the keyboard, Sarah stole a look at her baby, back. She was also feeling guilty. For not making her sleep, for not cuddling her, for not reading stories to her, for not assuring her that there are no monsters underneath the bed.

But being the sole breadwinner, she has to do her work, spent lots of time in front of the computer, that too from home for her US clients for three, four hours more

The next time when she looked, Amy, was peacefully sleeping on her part of the bed, sucking her finger. Sarah looked at her for a while. Just today she had two of her regular vaccination shots, and the 4 in 1 shot on her left hand was making her cry, telling “mamma, it hurts.

Sarah was a single parent raising her three-year-old daughter on her own separated from her husband of 4 years. She was financially independent, but as people in her shoes say, there is always a void for that figure for her daughter. Hopefully, she will soon overcome it, sooner or later.

Initially, there weren’t any problems between Sarah and Jai. But as they say nowadays, ‘happily married ever after’ are found now only at the end of children’s books.

Two months into their marriage and things were not feeling right. Both of them had almost the same type of job, job timings, but it was the only Sarah who had to do home duty and office duty together.

It never made sense to her first. In their lovey-dovey days, Jai has promised her that they will share every single joy, sorrow and even chores, and even keep her away from the usual things ordinary mundane life like electricity bill, petrol bill, water bill, taxes, rent etc.

For two months her life was the one she always dreamed of. Completely opposite of her mom’s, whose world was only her husband kids. In her rebellious teens, she used to ask her, “Mom do you have any identity? Other than someone’s mom, someone’s wife? Has anyone called you by your name?”

Her mom didn’t answer. Instead, she looked deeply into Sarah’s eyes for a moment and told, “I am invisible so that my husband and kids are more and more visible in the world”.

It sounded very cheesy, especially coming from her mom who never sees any sit-com and doesn’t use that kind of language.

She smirked and promised herself then and there that, she will never become like her mom.

That is exactly what happened. A self-made, corporate product, her life was exactly opposite from her moms. She didn’t cook, hated cleaning up and excelling in career and getting into the top of appreciation curves became her addiction.

And it was just that, unfortunately, put herself in this situation.

Jai soon realized the workaholic, or to be exact the career-oriented wife’s dreams and goals. She was not even ready for a family in her next 5-year-plan.  There it all started.

For one week Jai swapped her pills will vitamin tablets and soon she found herself pregnant.  That was the last thing she wanted – her dreams, goals everything shattered before her. She considered termination against Jai. But her doctor discouraged her.

The thing that really got into her head was while there was virtually nothing in Jai’s career growth, where she was stuck with a baby, whom she never wanted in the first place.

Even before the Anna was born Sarah tried to get a divorce from Jai.In a studio flat with the help of a maid, her mom had sent, Sarah started building up her career, again. It was never easy. Her qualifications and work experience were excellent. But her single parenthood was always a cause of ‘errrr…’ among the interview board. She tried her best to convince she was ready to travel anywhere as she had a backup ‘mummy’ who functioned as her nanny.

When Ann was 6 months old, she had started in a small firm. She didn’t care. Just a foothold to start with – that’s all she wanted. She was so confident in her own skills.

She was absolutely right in that. While her daughter turned two, she was heading a company on her own with 300 employees.

As Jai had visiting rights, she knew that he got remarried to a girl, who reminded of her mom, in all ways.

“Good for him”. She thought. He never knew, my ambitions. And I never knew him.

But for the past few months, she was feeling something different. It was due to the puppy dog look in her daughter’s eyes, while she begs to her for a story, while she anticipatory waits for her cheers, showing her drawings.

Last day there was a note from her class teacher in her folder, that she is exceptionally creative in sculpting and drawing.

Only 3 years old, and she seemed gifted to her – but not to her mummy, who never got a chance to see her designs and drawings.

Sarah’s guilt had no boundaries. She was providing her daughter with the best life, that not even her dad cant.

But where did she made a mistake? As a parent, where did she fail?

Her throbbing thoughts always justified her.

But when she could n’t, she went to the fridge and reached for a bottle of wine, and calmed herself.

“I am the best mom. I still am..” – she was mumbling those words, while slipping slowly into sleep, with the laptop, open, still on her bed.

 – Swathi Sasidharan

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