This blog post has been contributed by Parenting Matters (http://parentingmatters.in/), a Chennai-based organisation which partners with parents to build skills for deeper connection in families. It provides platforms for parents to learn together with input from trained facilitators. It conducts programs, workshops and also aims at spreading awareness on parenting through articles for magazines, talks with experts and its blog.
We live in a society where the majority of women are forced into stereotypical roles and barely given choices about what they would like to do with their lives. But yet there is the emerging middle class which is empowering its girls to go ahead and achieve whatever they would wish for. These girls are doing well academically (and on average far better than boys) and surging into careers like engineering, management etc. I come from such a family as well, where I was brought up to believe that truly the sky is the limit for my ambitions. I spent my teen years only thinking about what career I wanted and dreaming about all that I would achieve. And then I got married and had a baby… all of my own choice.
What happens when you become a mom? Hard choices!
But nothing in my upbringing had prepared me for the wrenching dilemma I faced then. I had thought that like every modern middle-class woman, I would have a maid to look after the house and a day-care for my child, and I could happily carry on with my career. But when the time came I could not go back to work. I think every new mother can identify with the trauma of this choice and whatever decision you take, it’s hard to feel completely at peace.
I chose to take a long break (a few years?? Would I ever be able to get back?). My peers who were surging ahead in their careers wondered at my decision. Most of my friends and relatives said, “We never expected you to become a housewife. What was the point of studying so much?” As my daily routine became more mundane, I found my self-esteem plummeting. And when I looked around, I found many others like me – angry, frustrated or depressed moms who had chosen to stay at home for the sake of their children but were feeling resentful about it. A friend said to me “My husband and I met at business school. We were equals. Now look where he is today and where I am.”