Why Does Society Force Women To Choose Between Motherhood and Career

Being a mother is tough. Being a working mother even more so. What can we do for women juggling motherhood and career?

Women have always been put into specific roles, judged in a certain way and are assumed to do things that are best suited for everyone.

Being a woman myself, I sometimes feel how do we get that superpower of juggling things and doing all without even complaining.

And they say, women can’t get it all!

Women across the world are achieving every possible thing they want to, it’s just that they need support, and motivation to handle it. In a country where family values and culture are given priority, education and career of a woman is sidelined, post her wedding.

Every household wants a well-educated daughter-in-law but they don’t want her to work because then who will take care of the house, kids, and daily chores. With time, society has evolved into a more modern one but still it has immense expectations on women. There is a continuous struggle in a woman’s mind to get her career back on track, take care of the child, and look after the house and the family it often leads to guilt and self-doubt.

Women always suffer from the dilemma of prioritising their careers or being stay-at-home moms (SAHM), which affects their both mental and physical well-being.

Motherhood, on the one hand, gives a lot of joy but on another gives a lot of pressure. Why do mothers have to choose between their child and a career is the most common question asked today, but there isn’t any perfect answer to it. It is said that a woman herself makes the choice of being a mother, staying at home, and taking a break from her career. Everyone in the society appreciates this about her but when the same woman decides to get back on her career path post the child birth no one supports her. This may not be a situation in every house but it surely is in most of the houses across India.

The Supreme Court of India recently came up with a handbook of rules that would help women gain a better position at work, creating more gender equality roles, and empowering women no matter what. All this is said and printed in books but the reality isn’t this.

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In a corporate scenario, there are several companies who are unwilling to hire women with career breaks as they think that these women won’t be able to fulfill their roles properly. They believe that women after a break of 2 years won’t be able to focus on their work as they would be more inclined toward their child. There are so many women who are willing to work but they haven’t found suitable roles for them or are getting rejected for unnecessary reasons.

Although this is one group, there is also another group of companies that have started some wonderful programs for women to restart their careers.

In her book Forget Having It All’, Amy Westervelt sums up the working mom dilemma as: “We expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work.” This one sentence speaks tonnes about the pressure a woman handles on a daily basis.

The label of a bad mom hits you hard, not being with your children, missing their milestones, not being present in school meetings and the list doesn’t end. Similarly, the SAHMs are feeling depressed as their career is on a halt. These moms are often in mixed feelings about how to restart their careers, how to manage their homes, and how to take care of their child while working.

Here is a small conversation that happened between me and my fellow friend who also is a mom, and who was working earlier in an IT Job. We meet every evening with our kids so that the kids can play for some time and so that they have good development. Meanwhile, we also get to discuss our lives apart from the four walls we stay in. I casually asked her what does she when she is not looking after her child (which technically is not possible) but still, she said, she has been sending job applications to various companies for the last 4-5 months. Out of those only 2 companies approached her and one called for an interview. Later, she shared her experience of the interview day. With it having been 2 years since her last job, she just forgot how to explain what she used to do.

When I heard this it just struck that how as a mother we are so engrossed in looking after our children that we actually forget what our lives used to be like before the child was born. It becomes so difficult for a woman to re-focus, restart, and re-work her skills, her memory, her job, and overall herself.

The same is with me, a mother of a 3-year-old, having 12+ years of experience in writing and digital marketing but may be unfit for a corporate set-up.

Another incident I would like to share. In one of the previous companies where I worked, a new mom rejoined after a break of 6 months postpartum and she had so much self-doubt, mom guilt, and the pressure of work that she had to quit in a month. The scenario was when she rejoined she wasn’t given much work to do saying that she had come after a break she wasn’t capable of handling huge tasks. She wasn’t part of meetings because she could get calls and anytime she could leave. In a way, she wasn’t allowed to do anything concrete and she started feeling ignored and decided to quit.

The whole point is when companies decide to give women opportunities, then give them the full freedom to accept the opportunity and work on it. When they say they are open to career breaks, then they should create such an environment where a woman should be able to work without being ignored.

Respect her career break and her decisions.

Create roles wherein they can fit in.

Handover tasks and responsibilities that challenge them.

Let them make mistakes, let them learn.

Because if companies (that involve the men in the community as well) aren’t open and encouraging enough then we will never have equal opportunities.

Image Source: Canva Pro

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About the Author

V Rashmi Rao

V Rashmi Rao is a Creative Content Writer and Digital Marketing expert who excels at creating exceptional content across various platforms both Print and Digital. 12+ years in the industry, she has gained immense knowledge read more...

13 Posts | 3,110 Views

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