Sunday, 12 January 2014

Why should Indian working mothers feel guilty?

Heylos to all smart momz out there, hope you all had wonderful weekend. My weekend went for full toss as I was busy taking care of Erishka who is down with cold and fever, also am suffering from chronic sinusitis.

Anyways today am going to write about something of which I get opinionated about.

I receive lot of anonymous grievance mails and calls from my friends who mom as well as working too. They often feel guilty that they are working and are also stuck in between work and family, in-spite of giving 200 per cent in both the field equally.

What makes Indian working mother feel guilty? And why always women are victim of guilt for working? Does ever Indian men feel guilty going to office? It's all in the mindset of people, and society at large, men are suppose to be the bread -winner and women are suppose to sit at home, these are their priorities pre-decided even before they are born. 

Yes that question kept lingering in my mind for more than 15 days or so. After doing a much of interaction with working momz within my family, my close friends and virtual friends from social media (WatsApp group and Facebook group) and my blog readers, I came to conclusion that it's not that they feel guilty just for no valid reason. They are made to feel guilty by the people around them at work and their support system i.e family members at home. At work, people are eager waiting to put you down by throwing more challenges like asking pinchy questions at work like, "Awe, you aren't with your unwell son today, he must be missing you."

Oh! for God sake, it's but obvious that the working mom who is also sensitive enough to understand her child, would have definitely made some reliable arrangements (baby sitter, day-care or grandparents) for him so that she can focus at work with no qualms. And one could be also made feel guilty by making remarks like. "Oh dear! your performance is not as expected in this quarter, could be because of your household responsibility." 

And sometime things get so worst at both the ends that the loyal hard-working employ and a sincere mother is stretched emotionally so much that she ends up feeling guilty and starts feeling that feel they are good for nothing niether work or family responsibilites, inspite of doing so  much and so I should quit either of them.

One fine afternoon I happen to attend a baking session by one of my friend 'Saziya) and was glad to meet this very young adult student. Yes, I know you would be surprised to know, about whom am talking. 

This lady came to attend the baking class along with her 10 yr old daughter Purvi. Her name is Kavita and she has been working for more than 15 years and a dotting mom too. After the baking session I spoke to her about how does she manages everything like work-life-family. 

She replied calmly, "I plan things ahead and I always keep back up plan on-hand". Then she told me that she makes are Indian masala (dhanya powder, chilli, turmeric ) at home. When I asked her about why does she do that and how is she managing time, "I am doing it for my child's health as there is so much adulteration in packed masala. I want to serve everything healthy adn organic and a big no to junk." She further informed me that she is attending these baking session only to serve home-made cakes and other bakery savories to her daughter. 

How thoughtful she is , just like me. Though she would be of 40 plus age, but had a calm posture, dedication in learning new things, cheerful enough to crack jokes and what not, we really had good time together.
While parting away, I tempted to ask her a personal question (Though I was not that close to her), "Do you sometime feel guilty or sometime do feel like just throwing your vent out?"

She just laughed and calmly replied, "I am doing good as mother and as a employ too. And I am my best judge to rank my scores in both, as I am the only person who knows what challenges I face at home front and at work field. And so I always try to be happy and keep my family happy and score my brownie points." She further added, "Yes, I use to feel guilty, and I think that it was a phase in my life, that I used to feel guilty in every sphere of my life. Once I was on business trip to Japan, and due to some unavoidable circumstances, my trip was extended. I wasn't not able to attend my daughter's Parents Term Meet at school. i sent my father on my behalf. And when I returned from my trip I asked my father to share the meeting details or any remarks or feedback given by teachers or school staff. I was shocked to know that teachers at school refuse to share anything with my father, stating that he is not the right person to communicate. I felt bad and guilty that i should have been there and also there was a second thought running in my mind that may there was nothing to share." 

She paused for a while, and further said, " And when there was the next meeting held, I was very much in the town, so I did not miss to attend Parents Meeting. Everything went well, my daughter was doing good in academics and other activities. I was happy to go back home with good remarks, but her teacher asked me to wait for a while. 
I waited for her and then she asked me that I should focus more on my child than office work and should have not missed the previous meet.

I simply nodded with the sign of guilt on my face. While going back to my home, her words kept haunting me and it lingered for more than a week. Fortunately, there was a session 'Know your child' was conducted by my office.

 At work we all were laughing our lungs out saying what is there to know my child, I definitely know my child very well, why a session for such a simple thing?"

Working Moms>> Can we ever be Guilt-Free Moms?
With the more cheerfulness increasing on her face and confidence in her body language, she further shared the most valuable tip for nay working mom, "When we entered the auditorium for the the session 'Know your Child', we all were curious to know what is going to happen. The orator there said, there is no need to feel guilty for working mothers, as they are far more particular and specific on discipline, routine, health and hygiene than any Stay at home mom. Not all moms who stay at home gives so much dedicated attention to thier child, most of them are busy in kitty parties, daily saans bahu soap opera or just yappin yapping on phone and overlooking thier child's requirement. And the mothers/mother in laws who claims we were much better mother than what you are now, just reply them that today's modern working women or mother leaves no stone unturned for the right up-bringing of a child. During those time 15-20 yrs back, where kids were born in dozens rate, which mother gave so attention to hygienic parenting style or organic eating habits. They would just tie a swing and keep the kid swinging and doesn't even bother to check pee n poop so often as you or she use not so bothered/educated to know/do clean child's spoons and cups in high sterilizing method like you. Despite of being at home they are also not aware what kind of notorious acts are indulging into. So there is no chance for you as working women to feel guilty."

There would have been times when you are irritated by doing multi-tasking with a conference call on right ear touched with support of your shoulder and neck, child lingering around you and crying now and then and also you are cooking simultaneously. 

Working Moms>> Can we ever be Guilt-Free Moms?
And in such situation you feel helpless, irritated and annoyed at self and all others. So what one can do to overcome such challenges. Again she replies with a beaming smile, "The orator in the session 'Know your child' gave us working mother a simple 3 step solution, First put phone on hold ask the person that can I call you in sometime, then second switch off your gas stove cover the food, carry your child spend 5-10 mins, then third give her some activity or ask someone responsible in family to take care of her or sit with her a till you make one office call. 

And done, your problem is solved. The point is give the much meed to attention to your child when it's needed o daily basis, avoid calls after work if possible. And for unavoidable circumstances follow above 3 simple step solution. This way I got away to feel guilty and started managing my family and work accordingly"

After having such an informative conversation with, while going back in rick towards my home, I just raised a query with my social media friends (smart momz WatsApp) stating super momz (working mother) please share your top tips for working moms on work-life balance. So in my next post you will find top 10 tips for super momz aka working mother.

Am sure snippets from my conversation with highly inspiring working mother (Supper mom), must be very helpfull to all my readers who are struggling to find daily solutions in work as well as at home. 

For me stay at home mom is a smart mom, whereas working mom is Super mom as they try to give their 100 per cent be it home or at work. Really hats off to all my Super Momz (working mother).

So to all my super momz no more guilt, no more qualms, just be yourself and spend quality time with loved ones and stay updated at work. 
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Nidhi @Moms' Space
Also read;
Working Moms>> Can we ever be Guilt-Free Moms?
Defining an 'Uber Cool Mom' in my way

Goodbye 2013>> Embracing 2014
Christmas Calling>> Bienvenue à Pondy
10 Things Motherhood taught me


Anonymous said...

very eye opening post for who doesn't understand what working mothers go thru, adn and reall encouraging conversation btw yu and kavita... very inspiring... i am now eagerly awaiting for you next post on tips for us working mother to make better life at home and at work both.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, though the thing mentioned about stay at home moms are busy kitty parties seems to be incorrect, working or not working a mom is always a mom and will try to give 100% to her child, i personally feel a women should be respected in both roles, if she is working it definately is a difficult task, managing both responsibilities, but if she has given up job for raising her kids due to any reason (no support, some other issue) that deosnot mean she is incapable of handling her professional life, it takes a lot of determination to give up career to just stay at home

manasa said...

awesome post.. very inspiring and educating for working moms on managing work and family.. loved the spirit of kavitha..

Nidhi Pathak said...

@anonymous: Yes i agree, I myself quit my corporate career and now taking care of lo, she is my priority now. And so i even hate using term called stay at home, coz we just don't stay at home, we make home better and nurture future for our kids.... I also coin it smart mom at home... but the momz i metioned inpost are those typical segment where they are just busy gossiping outside the play school, irrespective to how her lo is standing under hot hot sun, they discuss jewellry and all, i understand momz space is requried but then plz don let your little one suffer... Yes i agree it takes real guts to say no to jobs and be a home-maker and loving mom at home...For me if stay at home mom is smart momz then Working momz are 'Super moms' with wings of added responsibilty. Poin is it nobody goes to stay at home mom and question her parenting style or upbringing, but hte moment one ccomes to know oh you are wokrin mom, every tom, dick and harry starts questioning forms opinions... Kudos to smart momz and hats off to super momz

I love recieving comments...

Amruta Ram said...

You have covered this sensitive topic so well! Great post :)

I am a work from home home who needs to attend office once in a while. I chose to take a major cut in my salary and opt for this option as right now my tiny tot needs me more than anything in this world! But i 100% respect full time working moms...i agree they are indeed super moms! That said, stay-at-home moms are no less. A mother is a mother, be it SAHM or Working Mom! :)

sangeeta said...

Very well expressed. I know many women who stay at home don't actually contribute much in a child's growing up process. Moreover' each one is different in her capability and general attitude towards parenting.