Why Are Only Working Moms Asked At School Admissions ‘How Do You Manage Time For Your Child?’

What right does a Principal have of judging a working mother and her capabilities in taking care of her child, just because she has long work hours?

What right does a Principal have of judging a working mother and her capabilities in taking care of her child, just because she has long work hours?

A lady is seeking admission for her child in a highly sought-after nursery school in Delhi. The Principal asks her in the online interview (or interaction… or whatever they call it these days), “You have been working for *** firm for eight years. But they make their employees keep such long hours. How do you manage time for your daughter?” (not an actual quote, but the essence of it).

I have heard such statements earlier too, so this is certainly not an isolated case of judging and guilt-tripping a woman but they do give rise to many more questions about the actual status of women in Indian society.

How is this even a valid question to ask a working mother – if she is able to give enough time to her child? Is this even a criterion for giving or denying admission to a child?

Such questions used to be part of the questionnaire and interview for parents earlier, but last I heard they had been prohibited by the govt so how come the principal asked it in blatant contravention of guidelines and advisories?

Propagates stereotypical gender roles

Do such questions not insinuate and reiterate that a woman is the sole caregiver of her child and very conveniently exclude the father from any responsibility of childcare? Is this not how society perpetuates gender-specific roles for women and men?

More importantly, is this the mindset the school is going to inculcate in the children – regressive and sexist?

Guilting working moms

Does this not make the mother feel guilty about being a working woman (is this even a term because all mothers anyway work for long hours whether they have a paid job or not), especially if this negates the chances of her child getting admission in a particular school?

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Would the lady’s marital family (they are otherwise very supportive and encourage her to fully utilize her potential) not start telling her to switch to a less demanding job if the school denies the child admission?

Isn’t this how and why a majority of women are forced to relinquish their dreams and aspirations and take up a job (at times even for a lower position and lesser pay) just because it is more convenient for the family?

Principal of school modelling regressive mindset

Is the Principal herself not a working woman keeping long hours in running a school that famous? Are the majority of teachers and staff there not women? Then why stigmatize another working woman?

I know for a fact how some school managements put pressure on teachers to upgrade their computer skills, attend training sessions (sometimes at night too), make PowerPoint presentations, etc when Covid-19 hit and schools had to suddenly go online. Teachers were pulled up ruthlessly if they were lax in adapting to technology. In some cases, they were scolded if they failed to respond to their senior’s WhatsApp messages even though they were sent late at night. Do these teachers not have children and families, do they not have a life of their own?

Then what right does a Principal have of judging a working mother and her capabilities in taking care of her child just because she has long work hours?

Let’s do better than this

Being in the education sector, the Principals (or for that matter any organization head) should be aware of the power of words. They should know how to frame questions and statements in a way that they don’t offend and hurt anyone and don’t reduce her to tears out of a sense of guilt at neglecting her child.

Lastly, we would also agree that two wrongs don’t make one right. Neither the corporates nor the educational institutes or other employers are correct in forcing the employees to ignore their families, their own mental, emotional and physical health and keep slogging till late in the night, pandemic or no pandemic. Maintaining a work-life balance is a must in every sphere because a job is just the means to earn money and live life comfortably, it is not The Life.

Your thoughts?

Image source: shutterstock


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About the Author

Seema Taneja

Curious about anything and everything. Proud to be born a woman. Spiritual, not religious. Blogger, author, poet, educator, counselor. read more...

67 Posts | 230,460 Views

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