To work or not to – the million dollar question in the minds of all the new moms. Most of today’s urban women have never seen discrimination at home.
Our blood brothers have never been favoured because of their sex. We were given every opportunity to pursue the education and career that we had wanted. Not working has never entered our minds. Be a home maker? Nay, not my cup of tea!
I remember a casual conversation with my now-husband-then-boyfriend 10 years back – I had completely trashed his suggestion that I look after kids when they were babies. I was never going to put my career at the back burner. I was a jet-setting (ok.. economy class flying) project manager handling a million dollar account!! I had confidently said that we would get our mother/mother-in-law’s help, enlist a nurse and that I would be off to work as soon as I could.
But something changed, when I really did have a baby. Truly melodramatic, but my heart did melt when my baby first smiled at me. Going back to work after the maternity leave never entered my mind. Somewhere deep down, I had decided I was not going to office leaving my bundle of joy (besides being a bundle of smelly poo, fountain of curdled milk, radio of high-pitched cry..) – Applying for the 1 year loss-of-pay was the most logical decision. My husband didn’t have to say word of persuasion.
Time did fly really quickly, I was being there videotaping the first time my baby rolled over, stood up, walked. My Project milestones had now become the first-teeth, 3rd immunisation, introducing solids and potty training!
With the Loss-of-pay maternity break over, do I join back work or not? The decision did become really tough this time. I was not ready to sacrifice my career forever nor was I ready to be away from my kiddo for 10 hours of her waking time.
Then there were the important points of financial loss and EMIs to be paid. But then at 1.5 years she seemed to be too fragile to be left alone without me. By this time our support system was non-existent too. We were living away from parents/in-laws. I braved the decision to quit and it was with a heavy heart.
I know friends who have tried to work it out – day cares, live-in helpers, grand-moms… it did click for some lucky ones. For many of them, it was struggling for a couple of years and then deciding to quit and be with our kids. If someone told our friends gang in our early twenties that we would be at home tending to babies and managing a household without working – we would have laughed at them.
But we are doing just that – most of the time without regrets. But we do lament our lost careers, truly appreciating the ones who still juggle career and home, but secretively happy that we spend more time shaping our kid’s character.
Now that kids have started school, we get a couple of hours for ourselves. We look at freelancing opportunity, part-time jobs (which give as much work as full time), kindling our entrepreneurial spirit… The couple of hundreds earned in a stray assignment does so much morale boosting that has us on a high for a month.
Oh how much we crave for the magic job that would let us spend time with our kids and still let us earn! But yeah, we still lament our lost careers and hope to resurrect it sometime soon!