In the dreamy world with not-so-dreamy people, it is hard to find a person whom you can share all your happy and sad moments. People are always pre-occupied with their own problems and mostly so because of their demanding schedules and lack of ‘enough’ time.
I don’t like running behind the clock and take ‘friend’ breaks in between work to avoid being stressed out. In this attempt, I opened my door one day to see the source of noise that was disturbing my daughter. She was already peeking outside the window to see and I wanted a better view.
Apparently, we had new neighbours coming in. I saw a slim, neatly dressed lady coming towards me, smiling all the way and introduced herself and her small family – a tall husband, a 9-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son! We briefly talked about the society and I gave her a few leads on the basic household stuff like milk, paper, groceries, nearby schools and so on.
After few conversations, I got to know that her husband is an engineer who is mostly busy with work and they came here because of his new work. She has a PhD and seemed like a strong career-oriented woman. She wanted to quickly settle in the new home and get a job to get rid of (as she says) – “boredom and negative thinking!”
I was a working woman myself and had to quit because I had to take care of my kids and dint have the necessary backup for them. She is well educated and has great inclination to work – as eager as she was to get a job, the major question was – who will take care of her 2-year-old son?
It was amazing how she sorted things in the first week itself, with little help. She got her daughter into a good school and applied for teaching jobs in college. She went to different places for interview and got selected every time. She was very clear about putting her child in a day care which was conveniently located within our society and was all set to join a nearby college.
However, within a few days she realised he wasn’t being given any special attention, stopped eating food and started falling sick very often. This was a huge disappointment. Everyone who knew her, including the small group of friends she had made by then, started backbiting and judging her for leaving the child ‘in such state’ and going for work. There were dozens of questions like “is it that important for her to earn money?”, “is going for work more important than taking care of her own child?” and even “what kind of a mother is she?”
I could resonate with her feelings. I myself had fought at home to continue going for work, but in vain. I did feel bad, but had no choice. Seeing her go through the same dilemma, I suggested her to keep a full-time maid. This would keep her mind at peace as the kid would always be at the convenience of home and taken care.
She struggled to find a good maid and had to constantly change them for different reasons. One would take lot of leaves, the other one would ask for more payment – all this was driving her crazy. While she was already going through a lot of emotional stress and unrest, obviously people were criticising and judged her for leaving the child with a maid.
At one point, she broke down and actually felt guilty. But she had signed a bond and couldn’t leave the job as well! After a struggle of a good 4 months, she found a good nanny to take care of her child.
I always asked her if she felt bad about people saying such things and she would shrug and say, “no matter what you do, people will still say – so I’d rather do what I like!”
Her struggle still reminds me of the non-acceptance our society has towards working moms. They are being constantly judged and made to feel guilty. This happens with most women of current generation. They are well-educated, have good jobs and all the freedom – all of this has to be sacrificed. But, why only by one person?
Sometimes I ponder, “Should she have quit her job to look after her son? Would the society be happy then?”, “Why do the people around make mothers feel ‘guilty’ for leave their kids with someone else?”, “Should these women actually care about what these people think or say?”, “Should a husband be supportive of her wife’s job after having kids?”
No matter what a mother does, how much she works to keep a balance between work and home, there are always people who find faults, criticising and accusing her of being selfish and not being able to give enough time to family.
Today’s strong women need to be emotionally independent, and if not for the money, they need to work just to get out of this crazy motherhood and stupid gossips. Respect the mother who cares for the family and earns for the family – all this with a smile – even when it is a long day for her. If we think from a mother’s point of view, the emotional turmoil she has to go through, the moral support she needs, the carefree life that she misses – the least one can do is to support her and give her a shoulder to cry on!