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Many women might find themselves suffering from a lack of self esteem and a need to do more, if they had to be just stay at home moms. An honest confession.
Women have played many roles historically – homemaker, freedom fighter, activist, and many more. Yet, whether she is single, married or a mother, she is assumed to be the primary caregiver to the family. Women are now everywhere in the workforce, and honestly, I feel proud when I read their success stories. Managing a successful career and a family is not an easy task.
Over the years things have changed drastically, but in our society, working outside home is still taken as optional for a woman.
Once I met a very old friend after a long time. When he asked me what you are into (profession) other than parenting two kids, I was surprised by the subtext of his question: “Don’t say you are just a housewife?” I was taken aback that he took ‘homemakers’ for granted as thought they were good for nothing. Does that means that primary caregivers have no value?
The comparisons between working and stay-at-home-moms have always been done. Who is better? Whose children are better? How can a SAHM get her financial independence if she depends on her spouse? And how can a working mum leave her children to someone else?
There is no dearth of such questions, where the ultimate result is misconceptions and hatred!
I am sorry, I don’t endorse either extreme POV! I support each woman in whatever profession they are and whatever they love to do. It could be anything. They know how to manage things, they know their challenges, and we all know what’s best for us! So, it’s better we don’t question each other’s choices until they are affecting your own personal life.
Personally, I had gone through different phases in my life where I had worked, had been dependent, sometimes self-sufficient and independent, doing part-time work, and all sorts of things which a woman can go through. I remember that during my school or college days, I used to take some home tuitions so that I could take care of my expenses without burdening my parents. Later this habit of self-earning changed many perspectives in my life, and I realised that even if you earn a mere Rs 500, the joy of spending that money with freedom is always different.
This self-earning concept worked till I became a mother, and I had no choice but to quit my career. It was entirely my decision to take a break, and when you have a nuclear family set up, sometimes it is inevitable.
In the years that followed, it so happened that I got fully engrossed with my family and didn’t realise where I got lost. By the time I realised it, there had been a gap of 8 years in my professional life. There is nothing which I lost or gained as a family, but I lost to myself.
I lost my mental engagement and the financial independence of self-earned money. Though as a family it never happened that I had any kind of restriction to spend money as per my needs. In fact, I am the one who swipes the credit card more than my husband. I am a shopaholic, but I never enjoyed it as much as I had enjoyed spending peanuts which were self-earned. And I wanted now to shift from the tag of SAHM.
A few years back when my health was taking a toll due to this identity crises, I found a new light, the light of writing or blogging. I did not know if this was the right way for me, but I started writing, and found myself liberated through my words. I was in no race to earn money or to get fame. I knew I had to work, write and needed to engage myself on a creative level.
You can call it my hard work or perseverance, but it all worked out and soon I started earning through it. Again, the high of having self-earned money kicked in, and I was back to my happiness while spending it.
I am not against anyone who is completely happy with only managing home; I know this itself is a big task and there is no limit to the work. But if you think you are missing something in your life then please introspect; there is no harm in learning things and starting your life as new.
I realised that there were mainly 5 reasons why I wanted to shift away from the tag of SAHM:
There is a possibility that you might lose your identity. In fact, I‘ve always believed that being a homemaker is always a dignified position, but how many people really respect that? Being someone’s wife, someone’s mother might not be enough for some women, and they may feel the need to earn.
The work could be anything, like social work, singing, dancing, yoga and many other ways of using your creativity. Everyone is special in their own way, and the only thing you need to change is your outlook towards yourself.
I’ve suffered a lot while I was busy raising my two kids. I was probably over-occupied physically but there was no mental engagement at an adult level. I was not free to my own self. I hardly had any personal breaks.
If you are working or want to work, then you are engaging yourself mentally, which is very important for your mental health. Money has nothing to do with it!
The moment you step out of your house, you are much better connected to society. You make new friends, you discuss things which help you to navigate new ventures in your life. Whether you are connected virtually or not, it doesn’t matter. A social presence is enough.
You don’t need to earn a 5 or 6 figure salary for the satisfaction you get. You can feel the difference even if you earn a few hundreds or thousands. The feeling that it’s your own hard-earned money is priceless when you buy something for your loved ones. This surely gives you a different kind of peace!
It might sound strange if I say that you kill your creativity when you are at home. This is not applicable to everyone; there are many women who are equally creative even as homemakers managing everything single-handedly. But in my case, my creativity was zero; it got blocked in some way.
When I chose a different way to unwind myself, I realised that there are so many things which I could do. It is never too late to learn something new, and here I am today learning each day to write better!
Ultimately, nothing stops you if you are determined to bring about a change. You can always be a changemaker for yourself. Think over it and unlock your creativity!
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
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