Recently I read an article on ‘Stay At Home Mothers’ written by a husband. Over a period of 3 years I have read many such articles and stories, where the writer has spoken for working moms or SAHMs. Some articles were well articulated, some compelling, some emotional, some potent but all thought provoking. I, personally admire both set of mothers, working or hands-on, as for me being a mother in itself is admirable, but I found myself wondering why is there such an incessant need to prove to the world what one chooses is correct, rather justified.
Why do we live in a society that makes us feel guilty for our decisions? It’s an informed decision after all, taken by you, who arguably is the best person to decide what’s good for you and your family; then why the pressure and guilt?
I have noticed that the pressure is more on educated women who have given up their established careers to raise their child or joined back their work after maternity leave. I wonder why. These women have proven their capability while studying, then again at their work space and the world trusts them when they take multitude of decisions at their work-place daily; yet people judge their ability to make a decision when it is about a thing most personal to these women. Can we not for once give them credit for making a sound decision based on factors known to these women and their partners?
People will never learn to accept that they are just that- people. They don’t live the life you do. Hence, they don’t get the right to judge you, let alone direct your life for you. It’s your choice, your decision. A choice means having the right to choose amongst options. As a mother, no one other than you and your partner, knows what’s best for your child. That gives you both the right to decide whether you :
1. Resume work and get paid help to manage house
2. Resume work and are helped by your family.
3. Resume work, you and your partner manage between yourselves.
4. Stay at home, spend your time with your child and manage the entire house by yourself (be a superhuman)
5. Stay at home to be around your baby. Get paid help for household chores.
6. Take a sabbatical and decide whether to join back work or not based on the need.
In neither of the 6 scenarios do I see a choice affecting anyone outside your family. If you choose any of the last three options, then your boss will crib and cry for sometime but will eventually find another person to do your job and you too will find what you like, once you are ready. But how will it affect the cynics who think they know better?
To those who feel it’s their ‘duty’ to tell these young mothers what’s best for them, I say “If you truly care then try and speak to them before deciding what’s best for them. You don’t need to understand their decision but at least respect it”.
To all such mothers who are bogged down by questions and indiscreet looks, I want to say “It’s alright if people judge you or you think you aren’t measuring up to their expectations. Frankly, you never will. As soon as you do one thing to their liking, other will spring up. It is an endless race if you make it your life’s mission to please everyone. Don’t bow down to societal pressure, don’t explain yourself to every other person out there frowning upon you and don’t be guilt ridden.”
Its your life and no one else will live it for you. If you want feedback then wait for your kids to grow up and tell you how bad you were :p
Till then, chill! Live your life! Enjoy your baby’s formative years. If you get spare time (you really are a superwoman in this case) then read a book, watch those movies you have always wanted to, pick up a hobby or go back to the ones you left.