“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist,” so said Friedrich Nietzche. Sometimes I think what he said applies most to the eternal dilemma in a mother’s life – to work or not to work?
Opinions and counter opinions abound in this matter. And there never seems to be a solution or answer that satisfies all.
Traditionally, women had pre-defined roles in the society as well as in their respective families. Earning a degree, even working was fine to some extent. But, there were certain careers that were ear marked for them. Teaching, for instance, the timings corresponded to the kid’s schedule and more so to the husband’s. The wife was at home catering to his needs when he left in the morning and as he got back after a hard day on the office. There was no question of what to do with the kids during holidays. Mothers had the same holidays as them and in most cases there would be an extended family at close call anyway.
Things started changing as girls started charging into the male bastions. The arguments commenced as they got married and the first baby made her appearance. Eye brows were raised and lips twitched ‘tsk, tsk’ at anyone who dared to go against the norm of a mother who dared to leave her kid at home. As judgments were passed and customs quoted, no one really took the trouble to ask what the mother herself wanted. For, how could a mother not think about her baby, right?
Many a career was stalled and dream broken because the girl had to conform to societal restrictions. And I am not talking about some long ago stories. Nothing much has changed, girls cry over this even now. Sometimes you wonder whether mindsets have changed at all after all the so-called progress that we seem to have made in almost all areas of life. Is there a right answer to this question? I don’t know for sure, but can only speak from my experience.
My life was mostly different from what was expected from a girl who grew up in a small town. Straying away from the chosen careers of the times, I decided to enter into a profession that was mainly considered male. Cajoling my parents and even threatening them at times, I succeeded in getting my younger sister married off, something of a scandal in an orthodox Christian family in the nineties. Thinking that I would not be able to do justice to both career and family, decided to be a stay at home mother after our first baby. When they say that you realize the true value of something only after you have lost it, they are right. Even before the baby was six months old, I wanted to get back. To cut a long story short, I got through some emotional ups and downs before I started working again after about three years and has been continuing to do so, having another baby along the way.
Each person is different as would be their circumstances. All of us have choices, though not everyone is lucky enough to exercise it. The only way out for the concerned party, in this case, the mother, is to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed choice. You may change your mind later, but that is alright. Change is the only constant thing, after all. And in cases where you are left with no choice, it is best to accept what you cannot or will not change. As the MD & CEO of LICHFL, Ms. Sunita Sharma said,
“If you decide to take care of your home because it is not possible to manage both home and work, then be happy about it. If you are able to manage without being at home for long and are able to devote more time to office, be happy about that too. But if you are going to carry a guilt, that you neglected your home for office, then don’t work.”
Bindu Manoj dabbles in numbers for a living, dreaming of words all the while. A mother of two, wife to one, sister to four and friend to many, she hoards books by the score. An arm chair traveler who does some real life off roading now and then, she prefers the moves and shakes of jeeps and trucks to the cushy comfort of normal vehicles. Her wandering soul muses at http://ruminateatleisure.wordpress.com/ and she reminiscence her reads at http://wanderlustathome.wordpress.com/