Stay at home Vs Working Moms
First of all, let me tweak the topic a bit; let me make it Stay at home moms and Working moms; let’s talk about the lives they lead, the challenges they face, the sacrifices they make and the rewards they take; for once let us NOT compare them.
Versus often written as vs. is a Latin word meaning 'against' or it may mean to have a comparison or a competition between two teams/parties.
Mothers do what they feel is best for their off-springs; whether they stay at home or work outside their homes, I would never wish to question their choices.
When I was younger, studying and working, I couldn’t ever imagine myself not working or staying at home, changing diapers, feeding the baby and worrying about the piles of laundry and what to cook next. I could not visualize it because I have been brought up in a family where everyone worked and earned. My father has always insisted that women be financially independent. He has helped distant relatives, people in our village, He would counsel the girls and their families to pursue professional courses and help them further, getting a job.
But here I am today, changing diapers, feeding, cooking and doing everything I thought I wouldn’t be doing. Such is life! Do I regret it? Hell no, I don’t regret it because I find being close to my baby rewarding, I think I am blessed to be able to be with him, to be able to give him the time I can; to hold him close while he is still little and can’t run away from me.
Every household, every family has their own circumstances, what works for me may not work for others and hence, all mothers choose what works best for them and their kids.
While a working mom would be overwhelmed and heartbroken while leaving a sleeping or crying baby home; a stay at home mom too has her own meltdown moments; when she would literally wish someone adopted her baby for an hour or two, well I sometimes do wish that. There are challenges that both have to face, while one has to dabble between work and home, the other has to live with the guilt of not being financially independent and monotony of everyday life.
Let us get united in motherhood, let’s talk about the lives they lead, the challenges they face, the sacrifices they make and the rewards they take; for once let us NOT compare them.
What challenges do SAH mommies face?
· The guilt of not being able to work outside home or not being able to earn tops the list of all the challenges.
· SAHMs are often taken for granted at home, feel unappreciated by their very own family members.
· Being with the child all the time is gratifying, but one does need a break; which is difficult for a SAHM to come by (Ask me, pheww)
· Being highly qualified and working until you had a baby, suddenly makes it difficult to assimilate the fact that you are not working, mentally it does get taxing.
· Seeing your colleagues, batchmates climb up their career ladder may also give a lot of complex to many SAH moms.
· Finding a job after you have been a SAHM for long again gets difficult.
I still remember my mother-in-law often lament the fact that everyone in the house earned, except her. In reality, she was the one who had put everything together so beautifully and tirelessly year after year.
What challenges do Working mommies face?
· With most families going the nuclear way, it is becoming difficult for a working woman to leave the child home, which earlier wouldn’t have been difficult with grandparents looking after the kids.
· Working mothers have difficulty balancing both home and work. In patriarchal society like ours, the onus to manage the house is on a woman; though times are changing, but it will still take a while before men take equal responsibilities in daily household chores.
· Leaving behind few months old baby; expressing milk or making arrangements for baby to be fed in the absence is not an easy task.
· Being a working mother is a perpetual struggle with PTMs and boardroom meetings.
· It is still going to take a while for that glass ceiling to break for our women in the working world.
· Finding reliable day-care or help is again a big issue in our country where house-helps fall under unorganised sector and only few day-cares are reliable.
According to a study conducted by Timesjobs this year (2017), 70% of working-women in India rated “flexibility” at their workplaces as Poor. This clearly shows why women tend to quit their jobs once they have babies.
I would also like to talk about the society, how it perceives a working woman; not too long back, there was an incident where a 10mo baby was beaten up by a caretaker at a popular Navi-Mumbai day care. Instead of questioning the Day-care authorities and empathising with the parents, the mother was talked off (on social media and otherwise) as careless and ambitious; well, was she really careless, I don’t think so, and if she was being questioned, why not the father, are parents not equally responsible for their babies. Women are often judged whether they choose to stay at home or pursue their career aspirations; and more often than not, it is the other woman who judges another woman’s choice.
The only advice I have for all my fellow mommies is to seek help whenever they need; we may multi-task and be supermoms, but we do have our own limitations; let us accept the reality and take each day as it comes. For all my SAHM mommies, ours is the time when we have plethora of activities and prospects. Pursue your hobbies, travel if you can, indulge in activities that will enrich you and your child together and use this time, if you can, for honing your professional skills; so that it is easier for you to find a job,(if you wish to) later in life.
There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family -Elder M. Russell Ballard
Please share your views on pros and cons of being a SAHM and a Working mom.