If you are a mother, expectations from you are set very high. Not many of you, especially mothers will disagree to that statement. All these expectations overwhelm us and we get pulled in the tug of war of being a good mother and an individual that we want to be – an individual who is carefree (not careless!), ambitious, career oriented, a traveler and much more. And there comes a time when we have to make choices and set priorities.
I am a new mother, and I chose to continue to work while I am raising my child. I resumed work exactly after 6 months of maternity leave were over and yes, since then I am leaving my baby home every day. My job is very demanding. There are days when I leave for work at 5.30 am and return around midnight which also means my baby doesn’t get to see me for a couple of days. There are days when my baby is cranky and wants me to be home but still I must go to office. And no, I AM NOT GUILTY ABOUT IT!)
I often get a soft hint from people, especially the aquantainces who quit their jobs to raise children, locality people who never had a job, and many more random people that I am selfish and too harsh to leave such a small baby at home but it doesn’t deter mination to stay put on my choice and flourish in my career, because I believe, be it motherhood or career, it is only a subset of your being, its not the whole.
Having said that, I must admit the strong support that I have from my family. My MIL never complains about having to look after baby for longer hours. My husband never taunts me for not being at home to serve him dinner or breakfast and my little baby is learning to adjust too. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Let’s talk more about guilt. I have seen many mothers, some are my batchmates, some are my relatives and other few are acquaintances who have fallen prey to mommy guilt. Mommy guilt is killing, isn’t it? We mothers often look down upon our-self because we may not be the best cook or we may not handle toddler’s tantrums in a best way (at times!), or we just feel we aren’t giving our best. And the queen of guilt for a working mother is “you don’t give time to your child.” Do you feel that? I don’t! Yes, you heard it right, I don’t feel like that. Let me tell you why.
First, we are learning. We are as young a mother as our child is. So like them, we have a learning curve too. We stumble, we fall but we get up and stand tall, don’t we? If you retrospect yourself, you will notice that you have never made the same “mommy-mistake” twice. So, a pat on your back for that! Kudos.
Second, whatever choice we make arises from the circumstances around us. If your friend could choose to be a SAHM and give her everything to her kids, it in no way makes you a bad mother, just because you are working! Your circumstances and her’s could be very different. Trust in your choice and keep going. You chose to work because it was a need or perhaps there was a bigger goal to achieve.
Third, our purpose in life is bigger than just being a mother. We need to do something else. We need to add value to our life and to others too. And for that you need to do what you need to do. I need to work for that! Even a SAHM needs to work for that. The clean laundry, 4 meals a day, managing kid’s tantrums single-handedly, grocery shopping, and being in the role of cook, maid, mother, teacher all at the same time and yet welcoming you home with a smile every day is a BIG job which no one can do better than a SAHM. Ever thought, what a great value it adds to your life? Likewise, we working mothers add value too, in a different way though. So be proud of yourself, not guilty.
Fourth, people around you will always have an opinion. In their eyes, a working mother is always selfish and self centered and a SAHM is lazy and good for nothing. So don’t bother what they have to say. Be confident about your choice and keep going. Do what it takes to achieve your goal. Don’t let it make you feel guilty even for a second.
Let me tell you very candidly. It’s not that I never feel guilty. There are days when mom guilt takes the best of me. But this exactly when I clear my mind and throw the clutter out and fill it with all the points above. Hope you resonate with me.
Before being a mother, we are a WOMAN. We are strong, fierce, sensitive, caring, emotional yet practical, tenacious and much more. We can multitask yet excel at every role we play. So why we should be guilty of the choices we make?
This Woman’s Day, let’s pledge to be guilt free mothers. Are you all with me?
This Post is a part of the #MomsSpeakUp Blog Train Hosted by Prisha and Nayantara. I would like to thank Gunavathy for introducing me. Read her take on the Prompt here. I would like to Introduce Romila. I’m sure you will enjoy reading her take on the prompt. Also Read her humourous take on parenthood while solo parenting her two year old.
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