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I have read several articles of the guilt that a working (office going) mom and the ones that emphasize on the need for women to continue at their careers to be good role models for their sons and daughters. Some may talk about it in the same breath as women’s empowerment and gender equality. But, in reality, I don’t think a lot of mothers who continue to work do so because they want to be great role models or because they want to prove a point to the world.
Some mothers work simply because it is a necessity. To live a comfortable life, one income may not be sufficient, there is a basic financial need and it’s not really about a choice. Some other mothers are able to effortlessly work in office since they have great family support and there are still others who are highly educated, ambitious, totally in love with their job and can’t imagine a life without work. Some are even lucky to have supportive employers who make it possible for new mothers to balance their priorities. I do wish and hope that more corporates understand and take steps towards this.
On the other end of the continuum are articles which talk about the utter pleasure of motherhood and the wonderful privileges of being a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom). I have even come across articles from dads who try to shame people who questioned his wife for being ‘just a mom’. I am sure he got angry because some ignorant person asked what his wife did all day or when she would join back when in fact she was already doing the ‘toughest job in the world’. But, guess what? Even the career driven mom is sometimes taunted for not being there for her kids. So, irrespective of whatever you do, you can never make the whole world happy. Most importantly, we don’t have to.
I have nothing against the Office going mom or the SAHM and these are just the personal choices people make to live their life in the best way possible, in accordance with their preferences and current circumstances. I myself have walked both these paths. I have been an Office going mom and also a SAHM and to be utterly honest, there are pros and cons of both…just like with any other choices you make in life. To marry or not to marry? To have a baby or not to have any? To have two kids or one? It is never a case of one size fits all and the shoe doesn’t fit all the time either.
Not to mention, we women tend to be always guilt ridden. If we work, we feel guilty for not spending enough time with our kids and if we don’t we still feel bad for not using our education & experience to contribute financially. The grass on the other side is always greener. However, probably just to stay sane, it’s best to make the best of where we stand and stop justifying to others whatever choice we make. Only if it makes us unhappy should we reconsider it.
More recently I have come across a third type of mom. The Work-From-Home Mom! There is an increasing tribe of women who are Mompreneurs, Freelancers or simply working from home with various organizations. These moms get the best and worst of both worlds. Of working, earning yet staying at home. Not that she doesn’t have her own set of challenges, but she gets to use her intellectual muscle, make money as well as be around for her kids. Gone are the days when one had to walk the beaten path. We need to see for ourselves what works best for us and create our own path if needed to suit our priorities. I am sure with time this trend is going to get a bigger fan following and more opportunities would emerge in the near future.
It is now time for moms who do not have to justify or defend the choices they make. It is now time for the I-Follow-My-Heart Mom!
Aditi Sarkar Dutta is a full time mother and part time writer. She holds a Master’s degree in Organisational Social Psychology from the London School of Economics. After working for over eight years at multinational consulting organizations, she quit her job to be able to enjoy motherhood and follow her passion for writing. Her posts, based on her personal experiences are available at her blog (http://mrsdutta.blogspot.in/) and her articles on parenting continue to be published in the White Print magazine. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband and two children. Your comments, compliments and suggestions are welcome.
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