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The world has come a long way from the days when every woman necessarily had to get married and have children for a stable life. Today, it is a matter of choice, a matter of priorities.
Most of us fondly remember our childhood days. Days where we had no responsibilities, no earning pressure and it was just playing and studying that mattered. Friends and cousins meant the world to us and the only pressure we felt was probably during our exams. That innocence, that free spirited attitude, that warmth in relationships with relatives, neighbours and especially cousins and friends takes a step back when we get busy in our own rat race of earning money and bringing up our family. Though I agree that a few relations do not change with time, it’s also true that one needs to give time to nurture those.
Just when I was thinking on these lines, I got a call from my college friend. She was in town and wanted to catch up. We decided to meet in the morning when my daughter goes to school. She came over in the morning and we had years of catching up to do and gossip to share. She was still the same. Same in looks, attitude, and in her spirit. I knew that she was not married, but didn’t know whether it was by choice or by chance. We were so engrossed in our gossip that it didn’t really matter, but some where it was still playing at the back of my mind. I was curious.
At last I gathered my courage and asked her about her plans for getting hitched. She mentioned that it was her conscious decision and she doesn’t intend to get married, rather she told me that she doesn’t feel the need to get married to anyone. This statement of hers was not a surprise for me, as there are many acquaintances and close friends who think on similar lines. She told me that she was doing extremely well for herself financially, she has loads of good friends who land up whenever she is in need, she roams around with like-minded single friends, can go for a holiday when stressed without checking anyone else’s schedule and many more such things. Her life sounded not less than a fairy tale to me.
I asked her if doesn’t she feel the need to have a special partner whom she can share her life with? To which she told me that she hardly finds time for herself and it would be an injustice to involve another person in her life and not give him the required time and attention. Also marriage is not about just one person. His parents also do come in the picture, their expectations, adjustments etc. and she thinks will take away her independence and dampen her spirit. Her aim is to ultimately be happy.
I was looking at a different angle of this marriage institute all together. It does bind you to some extent but if you get a good partner it makes it all worth it. Having someone to walk with you is far better that walking alone is what I told her. But yes it’s a gamble…it’s a risk…but it’s worth a chance. She obviously disagreed.
She told me about a scenario wherein the girl gave in to the parental pressure and got married. Now, both husband and wife are so busy that they have decided not to have a child consciously. Having a child is a big responsibility and they do not want to do injustice to the baby by having a maid as a substitute for the mother, or taking obligations from grandparents. A child is the primary responsibility of the parents, and if the parents are not in a position to do justice to this responsibility then there is no point in getting a child in this world. Help is very much needed to bring up a child but it should be just a help and not offloading the whole responsibility on others. I agreed to what she said. Having a child should not be the reason to get married.
In today’s world where mostly both husband and wife are working in a high pressure environment, taking care of a child is a challenge. Day care, full time maids, grandparents’ help (when they should enjoy their retired life) are just simple adjustments to bring up a child. But what about all the priceless moments and experiences of enjoying your baby, the new role and being with that small bundle of joy? Most moms who continue with their corporate job, carry the guilt of not being around for their child in the growing years.
The key point here is “your own happiness”. Taking an aware and conscious decision is very important, because if one just goes with the flow and follows the sequence of the traditional life of getting married, having children, along with being a part of that money earning rat race, then sooner or later the guilt, frustration, will set in and then there will be grim chances to reverse the decision.
After getting to know someone who had a different view point, I was convinced that there is nothing right or wrong. What is wrong is blindly following things, nor questioning them, staying in guilt, staying in a limbo. It’s for sure that our societal fiber is changing and for women, after being financially independent their need for marriage has been diminished. Even if someone gets married, there is a lot of thinking which goes in to planning for a baby, unlike in a traditional set up where it was expected to be so.
For sure, marriage as an institution would be challenged in the coming years and the definition of family will change. A few decades ago a family meant a joint family with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. Slowly the uncles and aunts and cousins found their way out and only grandparents remained. Over the last couple of years, a family now means a nuclear family with just a couple and their children. Over a period of time, in many cases the children will disappear and so will the spouse. Family will then just mean the individual!
In today’s world when everyone is running, adjusting, compromising, with another person leave alone his/her family, having a child will complicate matters further.
In my opinion one should not judge people who take a conscious and aware decision in life. They know themselves better and they know what they can or cannot handle. Divorce rates are increasing, kids are being raised by maids…..
Not travelling a path is better than ruining it by not enjoying the journey and living in guilt the whole life. What I concluded after talking with my friend is that ultimately it all boils down to how happy you are with your decision because getting stuck where you don’t belong causes you great pain. Take a well informed decision; after all it’s your life.
Our chain of discussion was interrupted by the door bell, and there she was… my world! She hugged and kissed me and said “you are the best mom, cause you gave my favorite food in my lunch box.” That moment I was very proud of myself to have taken a conscious decision 6 years ago:)
Image source: woman in hotel room with laptop and food by Shuttershock.
I am a simple person always in search of new things to write about. Complex human emotions and the study of various behaviors interests me. I am a non religious person, but believes in one read more...
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It is easy to give in to patriarchal expectations from a married woman and lose your self in a marriage, but the path to happiness is in keeping your independence.
Marriage is often described as the joining of two individuals’ bodies, minds, and souls. Upon getting married, you are expected to share everything with your partner, including time, money, and all other aspects of life. Your life should revolve around your spouse from beginning to end.
But is it necessary to spend every waking moment with the spouse? Are you not supposed to have a life apart from your spouse? And do these rules apply only to women or men as well?
Although both men and women may face this situation, women are generally expected to give up everything once they get married. Despite progress in several areas, expecting women to abandon their interests, passions, and friendships to align their lives with those of their spouses is still considered the norm.
The rising numbers of single women choosing this life shout out clear and loud that patriarchy and sexism will no longer break or chain us.
Another book on singlehood? It seems to be the season for books on the joys and freedom of being single. But Demystifying and Dignifying Singlehood: Life Journeys of Single Women Across the Globe by Uma Jain is different. The book does not glorify or glamourise the lives of single women in any way. These are real stories – with the good, the bad and the ugly, all there.
The book tells the stories of 15 single women across the world. A feeling of deep understanding and empathy fills you as you read the book and understand the challenges faced by the women who are single – by choice or chance. Some of the women chose to be single because they faced discrimination and even abuse as girl children. Some others had abusive marriages and sought divorce.
The tag line ‘Crafting pathways on rough terrains’ on the cover page is enough to tell you that this is a serious take on the issue of singlehood. If it focuses more on the rough than the smooth, that has been the reality for the 15 women.
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