As I write, my younger kid is bringing the house down because he’s hungry while the elder one can’t find his favourite toy. My husband’s calling out to me and the maid wants a new bar of soap. It feels like the house is revolving around me. How would a day at home be in my absence, I shudder to think…
Welcome to the world of a stay-at-home mom. Administrator, cook, waiter, self-appointed doctor, teacher and more rolled into one. As one who has seen both sides of the spectrum (I had been a working mom till my elder one was a toddler), I find it amusing to think of all the comments, or rather ‘good advice’, that I received in both roles.
Ending a maternity break of six months after my elder son was born, I nervously continued my journey into the corporate world. I was immediately met with comments like, “How can you resume working so soon?”
As every working mother would understand, resuming work after a maternity break does leave every young mother with a sense of guilt. I must say I was filled with self-doubt too. Anyway my answer to any uncomfortable question was just a smile. Later personal circumstances forced me to quit my lucrative job and I was a stay-at-home mom when my second son was born. During the course of this transformation, I faced questions like, “Why did you give up such a good job?” and, “How can you waste away your education?” And in extreme cases: “I cannot imagine myself sitting at home like you.” I was at my wit’s end listening to both types of arguments.
In a country like India, a woman is constantly judged for the choices she makes after marriage, right from when she should have kids to how she should bring up her child. Women who refuse to toe the line are deemed arrogant. The choice of whether she should continue her profession is not entirely her own even in educated households. Respect the choices a woman makes about whether she wants to work after child birth.
Regardless of her decision, she is going to be working — the only difference is the pay. Many moms who choose to be at home feel a sense of emptiness. Its feels like they are stuck to household chores alone and their sense of self- worth takes a beating. The same holds true for working women who feel the grass is greener on the other side and that they are not spending as much time as they should with their families.
If a woman chooses to stay at home, do not conclude she is any less ambitious. Remember, she is leaving a very important part of her life to take up another role that requires round the clock dedication. Bringing up kids and running the home full-time is no mean task. Such a woman hardly has time to herself for a relaxed cup of coffee. There is laundry to be done, lunches to be packed, shopping to be done... the list goes on. She does all this like a well-oiled machine, out of love for her family.
On the other hand, when a woman chooses to work she is doing it fully realising the enormity of responsibilities in front of her apart from housework. Both types of women have their hands full and it is time people stop being judgmental and instead appreciate the reason behind her decision. If you can’t support her at least leave her in peace to fulfil her duties.
Men, pause and appreciate the woman in your life for the contribution she makes towards running the home, financially or otherwise.