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The choice to work or to be a stay-at-home-mom, or to even work from home – it is your choice. Make your choice and stand by it, nourish it.
I recently met a few friends for lunch. Among the group, were working moms, stay-at-home moms and a working from home mom (like yours truly). After the initial chat-up about kids and family, the conversation naturally veered towards work-life-balance.
One of my friends, who is a stay-at-home mom mentioned that she was looking for a part-time job. She felt a little depressed, she said, and admitted that she was stuck in some kind of an identity crisis. A mother and a homemaker by choice, she couldn’t help the feeling that she was losing out on her identity as an individual.
We all knew her to be a very intelligent and successful person in her own right, although, she sometimes tends to think more with her heart…so, this friend of mine, felt she was losing herself somewhere between being a mother and a wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law.
Listening to her, another of my friends, who works full-time, said it was much better to be at home full time, as she suffered from the guilt of leaving her children with strangers all day as she went to work. And when she wasn’t guilty herself, she said, she was made to feel guilty by her friends, even in-laws. And then they all turned on me as I seemed to be enjoying the best of both worlds, which let me to tell them how, even though working from home, I do not have it any easier than them.
For some women, working and being away from their home and young ones is a matter of necessity. They don’t have an option. It’s a bitter pill they have to swallow, like it or not. But for some others, it’s a matter of choice. They have, as a family, decided to undergo whatever hardships and/or positives come their way because they want to pursue their careers. Their love for their children is no less than the love of those mothers who stay at home. It’s just that in their lives, they try make space for that ‘little more’; which is not an easy task for them either.
I have myself, at a point in time, worked full time. I was always told that this was good, for I was putting my education and experience to good use. Why waste all that good education that you’ve got, after all? Then, as a mother I was faced with a choice. Should I go back to work after my baby turns a few months old? After a few years, may be? Or should I stay at home and raise my child? What is the ideal time to go back to work? Should I even go back to work? A newborn needs her mother more than anything else in the world. This is an accepted fact… the very reason the concept of maternity leave exists; but what about a child who is independent enough to stay without the mother a few hours at a time? Should the mother then go back to work?
The thing is, a baby needs its mother not only for physical needs, but also for emotional needs. No matter how much anyone else can love a baby, a mother’s love is irreplaceable! So what about education then? What about all the experience gained by working hard for years? Is it suddenly not so important now that you have a baby?
This is where different women make different choices. Some get back to work as soon as their children become a little independent, while others choose to stay at home to raise their children. Some women also take up work from home so as to be close to their families and fulfill their creative needs at the same time.
We all know having a child changes your life forever. But it is an informed choice; a choice from where there is no going back. At the same time, children have tender minds, and no one can understand them and shape them better than the mothers. A three year old can stay a few hours away from the mother but she needs her mother when she needs her mother, there are no two ways about it.
So whether you can be there for your child despite being at work all day or you need to stick with your child at all times, is a choice a mother has to make. Ironically, as your child grows, you are possibly the one person your child hates the most, but you are also the person with whom your child can survive to the exclusion of all others.
So then the choice is very simple. Go out to work or stay at home or work from home; do what works for you; and that is good for you. What is most important in any situation is that you be happy.
What women, especially mothers, need to understand is that women have tremendous power. They are the ones chosen by nature to become mothers, to become the supporting poles for their families. They just need to channelize their energies in the right direction. A lot of women have made it big in their chosen fields. But the ones whom no one has heard of are no less, either. They are the ones who have practically shaped their children’s lives. They are the ones that have stood strong for their families come hell or high water.
No one can gauge a woman’s worth more than she herself. She has to be happy with the choices she has made. No one can force you to make a choice, and no one can teach you to be happy!
If you let yourself think that you are worth nothing, then you are bound to get depressed and frustrated and always bound to feel that the grass is greener on the other side. On the other hand, if you are happy with your choices, it reflects in content and happy children who are comfortable in their own skin.
So then why not water your own grass to make it greener? After all, the grass is greener where you water it!
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working mom with baby by Shutterstock.
Rashmi is a creative writer and a spirited mum. Previously a lawyer, she has always
Beautiful post! You have very realistically voiced the fears and doubts of both working and stay at home moms and their choice or lack of it that has led to what and why they are doing what they do. Life is a series of decisions made voluntarily or involuntarily based on circumstances facing us. As women we have to accept ourselves and our choices and make the most of them and enjoy them. Like you so brilliantly point out – “watering the grass to keep it greener”, may be the best way forward after all. Thank you for this motivating post.
Thank you Sonia for your lovely comment 🙂 All we have to do is assess, accept and plough on, right?
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