Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
Mothers who stay at home, are not just ‘stay-at-home-moms’. They too have their own share of work to do. Here is one such mother, with her work from home story.
It wasn’t very long ago, when I was stuck with my 9 to indefinite time corporate job – 5 days a week (no Work From Home) and a howling kid. Add to this, complaining in-laws and an ever dissatisfied full-time maid.
In short, my life was full of stress. One weekend, it made me wonder why my job wasn’t the source of joy that it was, before the arrival of my baby. Maybe my priorities were changing or maybe I was unable to successfully juggle between my house and my job.
Hovering over the same thought, I woke up a little early the next day. It was a Monday. Sipping my morning ginger tea from the balcony, I couldn’t help noticing my neighbours.
One mother was already in the driver seat of her car. The car was packed with skates, tennis rackets and several boxes of home made snacks especially made for her daughter. So that they could manage their entire day outside, without any hassle.
The 7 year old, dressed in her school uniform, seemed to have just woken up. She reluctantly sat inside the car only to sleep again. But for the mother, the day had begun few hours earlier. And here she began her almost 80 km journey to and fro. She would be on wheels entire day. That’s a typical weekday for her.
Another neighbour was watering her plants. It made me think, no wonder she gets so many compliments for her beautiful garden adorned with colourful flowers of astounding varieties. It, probably, was her hobby, I thought, why else would someone spend so much time in garden. This, inspite of having a common society gardener. Whatever it was, the results spoke for themselves.
Saw another mother, running back after dropping her kids at the main gate to catch the school bus. She ran inside the kitchen to assume the chef’s role next. Few minutes later, I could see her handing over a tiffin filled with dishes made with love, affectionately to her husband. They both exchanged a cordial smile and husband took off for work. While, she shut the door to complete the rest of her chores.
All these women stay at home all day, yet are constantly on their toes, I chuckled at the irony of the situation. It also made me realise, that I too, was getting late for work, and rushed inside.
Six months passed like that, full of stress, and one fine day when I couldn’t take it anymore, I just resigned.
Everyone was shocked and surprised, a few were dismayed, given my education background. Why couldn’t I take charge of my own career, my own life, and most importantly – my own happiness, I protested strongly.
The full time maid had already left a month ago. The in-laws were surprised yet happy as they could go and visit their married daughter whenever they wanted. But more importantly they could attend all weddings and other gatherings of our extended family back at the hometown. Needless to mention, my baby was happiest in this situation. Now the baby could have mumma all to herself.
The unsolicited advice from friends and family tried to warn me, that all this happiness will end soon. And that I will end up frustrated without going to office. I didn’t retaliate and calmly told them may be they are right and I will resume office work once again, if need be. But this decision had reduced my stress level drastically, at least for now.
Six more months passed, since I started ‘staying’ at home with my baby, the house was much more organised. The dependency on maids was reduced (although not completely gone). I could take care of my baby and raise her the way I want to rather than how the mother-in-law wanted.
My husband was happy as he did not need to help me with forced trips to grocery and vegetable stores amongst many other daily chores (which we used to leave for weekends). I could make healthy yet simple meals for my family rather than easy fix ups or compromising with maid’s or home delivered oily and spicy food. In short, it won’t be wrong or an overstatement to say that several lives changed, including mine, with that one decision.
After all, it is rightly said that one can buy a house but it takes efforts to make it a home. And given my luck with maids so far in Bengaluru, my involvement was inevitable on this front.
Of course, a week doesn’t pass when no one would ask me a question like “What do you do sitting at home, the entire day?” or “Don’t you miss going to office, mingling with other equally educated people?” I simply answer “No” and wonder about the reason for my new found happiness.
Maybe it’s because I am never free. There is so much to do at home as well that you never sit free. It’s that feeling of self satisfaction looking at my home and the smiling faces of my hubby and kid that keeps me guilt free.
It’s the realisation that my education doesn’t limit me to an office work space but empowers me on other fronts as well. As far as social life is concerned, I still have friends to go out with, neighbours to share a cup of coffee. And my bestie in another town (Pune) who is always ready to hear me out. So I never feel alone despite not going to work, as I do take out time for myself and my hobbies too.
I also realised at that very moment that no mother is actually a ‘stay at home mother (SAHM)’ and that SAHM is a misnomer. Rather she is ‘working for home’.
Yes my dear fellas, I dare you to underestimate a woman not going to office and designate her with tags like “not working” or SAHM. Kindly broaden your horizon and start looking at these ladies with some respect.
These women are also constantly working for the betterment of their own families, nurturing the future generation, behaving like an educated responsible, rule abiding citizens – just like any of you.
They are also never free or always available at home, unlike the popular assumptions. The mothers are busy with things that they value more.
We don’t judge you for your decision to work at office, simply because we have chosen a different work space for ourselves. Everyone’s situations, nature of work, needs and priorities may be different, and there is nothing wrong in coming in terms with them.
So dear society, you are no one to judge them if they have chosen to work for their homes out of choice, instead of sitting in a cubicle.
Their life, their choice – simple.
It’s their time and they deserves equal respect, just like any of you. Period.
Picture credits: Screenshot from the movie English Vinglish
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