“Did you know that the child has a working mother? This is what you get when your children are raised by maid-servants. They are grossly neglected.” How many times has a working mom heard this statement and felt its sting?
The prejudicial assumption made by a parent about the upbringing of another’s child only proves that ill-informed people not only judge a book by the cover, but they also comment on its contents by looking at the section it is filed in.
Mothers are blessed with protective instincts that kick in as soon they feel the baby move in the womb. While some mothers may want to be home with their child 24/7, others may balance work/career with motherhood. In certain societies, the working mother is unfairly perceived as neglectful and the blame for any real or imagined problems is laid at her door.
“Oh! His project looks like it was hastily put together! Did you not find the time to ‘guide’ him?” was another.
Or, “Doesn’t your child watch a lot of television or surf the net?”
You get the drift! Comments in a similar vein; some helpful, some critical.
My son is nearly twenty years old now and looking back, I wonder what the fuss was all about, but when in the thick of things, I had bouts of guilt after hearing such comments.
You have chosen to work after motherhood, and although your reasons are sound, the decision was not an easy one. Every mother makes sure that her kid is in good hands, is well-fed, feeling safe and that she is just a phone-call away.
Does she miss her child every single time she walks out of her home? Definitely yes!
There were days that I wished I could be at home with my child. I am sure he wished that I could be at home with him, but I hardly think it harmed him or made him anti-social.
On the contrary, working parents spend every available minute with their child, with the fathers actively pitching in as well resulting in gender-conscious, mature children.
Before I get mowed down by an avalanche of criticism by home-maker moms, let me absolutely clarify that choosing to be a mom 24/7 is no easy task. My own mom was a home-maker and so are many of my own friends. Both were a Godsend during my active mothering years, forming a great support system. Any important announcement in PTA, any coaching schedule, school pick-up that I may have missed and they would fill in for me.
I recently came across a blog by a working mom who compares her day with a triathlon. The early-morning alarm, the lunch-box packing, rush to the school-bus, the mad whirl at work followed by the return home, evening snack, playtime, study-time and preparation for the next day. All the while planning ahead, staying calm, hoping nothing untoward pops up such as an emergency at work, the maid taking a few days off, missing keys, a misplaced project, missing the school-bus, a forgotten PTA meeting, an empty refrigerator, unscheduled school tests, surprise guests. The list is endless.
If working moms are running the triathlon, then home-makers are surely running the full Marathon everyday, day after day. They are expected to do all this and more with monotonous regularity. The demands for favourite foods, the project work for school, guests expecting royal treatment, are all a permanent feature of their lives. Admittedly, they do not have office deadlines, but there are more expectations from them on the home-front. Moreover, these are intelligent, educated women who may sometimes yearn for the zing of using their talents in a work-place.
I know that my mom wistfully longed at times to be ‘working in some office’ bringing in some extra income. I know that she would have felt less lonely when we left home for good and her nest was empty, had she been a working mother.
Respect for every mom!
Let us have respect for the maid-servant who helps run our home as she is a mother who has made the choice to work in order to put her children through school.
Let us respect the teacher, who deals with forty temperamental brats before heading home to pamper her own.
Let’s respect the nurse who puts in a dedicated eight hours assisting doctors with a smile, while ignoring her own aching feet and back.
Let us respect the home-maker mom who has dedicated herself to making sure her family is looked after her personally.
Let us respect the mom who rushes to work every day, and dedicates her time to her kids at home.
I guess we need to lose the adjective – working or home-maker and try to be just moms. We may have OUR own child’s best interests at heart, but that also means that every other mom does – for her own.
Every mother is special and she knows what is best for her own child. She feeds, nurtures, protects, teaches, rewards, reprimands and disciplines her child in an instinctive way no one else can. The rest of us cannot be judgmental about her or her choices. After all, we set the example for fair play and non-judgmental behavior for our children to follow!
Pic credit: Nishant (Used under a Creative Commons license)
Hi. I am an anaesthetist by profession living and working in Mumbai.
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