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I’m going to hurt many around me if I say that as a young mother, going to work could be only if I want ‘social acceptance’. Isn’t it a fact that society will make me insecure if I don’t earn?
Being a mother of a 2-year-old, the last thing I would like is to get stuck in a 9 to 5 job. But I might still go for it because it makes me feel free. It makes me feel independent. If I don’t have an income of my own then I will have to be dependent on others. Even if I don’t feel, others will make me feel small.
But the question is, being a full-time hardworking mother, do I really deserve to feel small? Come on. Am I working less than you? I am surely not. I am working harder. I get up to work every morning just like you.
Having an been in senior positions at work, and being an IIM alumnus, it came as a shock that when I decided to take care of my baby for a while, what I heard from others was, “If you wanted to sit ‘idle’ then why have you wasted your time and effort?”
Really? First of all, I am not sitting idle. You don’t know how much effort it takes to be a full-time mom. Second, I am taking this decision because my baby needs me right now more than anything else. Now if you can please stop making me feel guilty? I am no less of a woman or a human being if I don’t step out to drive the country’s economy for a few days.
Just because I want to earn ‘respect’ from you, I should go on to live a double life? Makes me wonder how ‘nice’ it would have been if I was respected for the work I am doing right now. The world would have been better if I did not hear “just a mom”. Because you know what? I am not just a mom. I am THE MOM.
It is totally a choice of the mother to go out to work or not, and if I decide not to then it does not mean that I am vulnerable and depressed. On the contrary, you can think that I might be happy and content. I deserve the same respect as others.
But sadly I accept that whatever I said above is not easy. Such is our society that if I don’t earn my own bread then I am worthless. If I need some respect and understanding by others then I will have to make my own earning which in turn will give me freedom and acceptance. Maybe some oxygen to breathe.
The same holds good for mothers who start their work after a break. How much ever an organization shout that they are returnee women-friendly everyone knows what’s on the back of their minds. They might hire you (of course on a lower position) but they cannot stop doubting your ability.
So to conclude I am left with just this thought that work for me is not something I do that others like. Work is something which defines me. It is something I am totally in love with. Well, work for me is to see my baby growing up. It might be different for others but I know I am doing my job well.
Image source: shutterstock
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A Business Analyst and a homemaker. Main motto of her life is to keep herself
I quite agree with the main point you make- that work is not just what happens in an office. care-giving, mothering, houseWORK- they are all work. But the value attached to the monied work is something else. Sadly, it counts to have money in the world, and so I feel the next level of feminism has to be about treating all work as having value in same terms, not this separation of house and outside work, as being spheres of women and men. If more and more men worked at home, at these care-giving roles full time things would change! There would be monetary benefits and safety nets. I have children old enough to have homes and families of their own in a few years. What should I tell them? I think of it from that angle, and think of my life, and those of people around me and I can only say that right now, when a woman stops working outside the home, she does become more vulnerable , not because of the silly things like image or perception of others, but in a very tangible real sense of a future risk to her having financial security, career setbacks, fall in income etc, which later impact how she thinks of her choices. The same does not happen with men regarding home work. Look at how seriously a career threat or a lay of for even a job change is taken in men’s careers. Tells us a lot. I feel women , when they take a break form outside work, should also treat it as a job change and treat it with same seriousness have similar discussions about perks, benefits, previous salary and new expectations etc. It is a whole lot of new kind of conversations.
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