Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SAHM v/s Working Mothers - My Take

Jumping right into the SAHM(Stay At Home Mothers) v/s Working Mothers discussion. I am a working mother and my mom looks after my daughter. MM's post about SAHM and working Mother did get into quite an interesting discussion and made me re-think. Here is Rohini's take on it. Here is mine.

In my opinion, a Mother needs to be happy & content to raise happy kids. Whatever makes a mother happy should be done, be it stay-at-home or working. Never try either if you are not convinced.

To narrate my personal experience, I & P had taken 2 weeks leave for Christmas to be at home with Joyce. We did not plan to go out anywhere, just at home, her granny had gone visiting her daughter meanwhile. I went through the daily routines, cooking, cleaning, washing, folding & the 100 jobs that come along. After 2 days, I called my sister and told her it was so much fun. I baked cakes for my daughter's first Christmas, not 1 or 2, but 6 cakes in all. That tells you about my excitement. But after a week, I was bored. I was bored with the household chores. Cleaning, cooking, washing .. the never ending ordeal. It could have been the extra enthu of cooking 3-course meals too but I knew then, I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. My Hats off to SAHMs. My work keeps me happy. I go home all eager to see my baby. The moment we ring the bell, we hear her bangles on the floor as she crawls towards the door, these days its the tinklets. It refreshes & re-energizes us to live the second part of the day. So far have managed with no commitments beyond 6.

From the time when she was 4 months, when I joined work uptill 7months(then it got cold in the mornings), I used to bathe her in the morning. Not to discipline her or sort but because it was very special ritual between me and my baby. I would massage her, sing to her, bathe her on my legs, wipe her dry, apply the moisturizer, the powder, she would smell like morning dew(actually Johnson's dew:) ) and then would feed her and put her to sleep. It was important to me. In all probably 45-50 mins. then in the next 15 mins I would rush thru my chores and leave. I love to see her sleep after her bath, all clean and happy.

Any amount of time that we spend with our baby, if we are happy, I think the baby is happy. That is quality time to me. When I & P start arguing, she would start crying. Its just the tone and the vibes probably, the moment we shift gears from normal chit-chats to arguing, she gets affected. The point I am trying to make is, our mood, our spirits affect the child more than anybody else's. So its us, who needs to be happy with the choices we make.

MM raised the point about Grandparents being done with their parenting, I completely agree. But I want to believe I am not taxing my mom with my daughter. The days I feel mom isn't well or my baby isn't, or if my mom needs to go out, I make sure I am there. I do not want my mom or in-laws to feel constrained because of my daughter. The truth is I did rather leave my daughter with them than in anyone else's care. I am willing to go that extra mile to accommodate their plans. My mother once told me, as grand parents its very easy to love & take care of your grand children because you see your child grow up once again but this time you have no responsibility and do not have to worry about savings, the job, studies or the future. Also I do not deny that I cannot totally get-away with parenting my style. I live with the ones I can handle and I try my best to explain and reason the ones I cannot totally handle.

And finally, I am very clear I am doing all this for my own happiness. I hope never in the future I will loose my reasoning to tell my daughter, oh I slogged away for you.


Risha said...

reshma stands up and applauds :-)

Minal said...

This seems to be such a difficult decision.
would cross the bridge when I come to it. Liked the post, though

upsilamba said...

Came to visit you, Sunita, and when I saw the SAHM vs. WM, I went "not again"! But read it nonetheless.
And I am glad I did. You resonate my reasonings, my 'whys' on being a working mother.

That said, I was also catching up with your older posts and boy oh boy! I relate.

And hey, about blogrolling Upsi -- sure, sure. The feeling is great. Thank you!

Sunita said...

@risha: Thank you!
@minal: You certainly need not worry now.
@upsilamba:Thanks for the visit. Will blogroll you soon.

Orchid said...

hey sunitha,
I am having a hard time catching up with all the post..but you said it all int he first few lines and i guess the key word really is "happiness"

The Mad Momma said...

absolutely sunita.. its all about being at peace with yourself.. it was never to point fingers at anyone...

what i really like is that you havent referred to me at every stage of the post!!!

i got quite a shock when people made it a point to reply to me !!! I dont know any one of you personally and as is done on a blog, was voicing my thoughts....

keep the posts flowing and enjoy the tinkle of trinkets each evening!

Rohini said...

Nice post. Agree with all you say. A few hours happily spent are worth a lot more than a frustrated, unhappy data.

Sunita said...

@orchid: And I am catching up on your marathon :)
@MadMomma: That is a small price for being popular :)
@Rohini: Thanks.

naperville mom said...

Absolutely wonderful to read your blog. You're obviously a very gifted person. Couldn't help commenting on this one...if you can bear with me.

True liberation is, I believe, the freedom to choose what you wanna do. The stories of the peapod're so heart- warming that I'm quite sure that you wanna be a part of her growing years. Tucking her to bed in the night and giving her a bath in the morning is fine... but then, are u really contributing? Are u really having it all, as a mom? The workforce'll do just fine without young moms. The babies might not, though...I know it sounds a lot personal, but hey, it's a very personal issue, right? I know there's enormous amount of pressure from society for women to continue to work in the name of so- called 'freedom'... It's almost embarassing to say 'no' to external pressures. It's like the nun who leaves the convent because she fell in love albeit, with a real man, no pun intended. Okay, so you fell in love with your babies? How unnatural!

And let's not make everything about money here...I read something about stretching your hands in front of your husband... Well, if the husband was to pay for all the services that a wife provides (a little bit of housekeeping, cooking, tutoring, thinking of new ways to entertain the kids, not to talk about carrying a baby to full- term... think abt the strain that the woman's body endures), then he might be in the negative when it comes to assets, I don't care how much he earns...Well, I still have a belly which'd put any desi cop to shame...Can you put a price to that? I wish time was as tangible as money, something you can hold in your hand, and spend it as you wish... Unfortunately, time cannot be made later...And with all due respect to the grandparents who're taking care of the kids, they're not doing a swell job. I cannot imagine taking care of toddlers when I'm 65... Can you? It's back- breaking even now...I'm not gonna choose to be a babysitter when it's time for me to relax...This is my turn (to work for my kids) and I'll do the best I can.