Firstly, sorry for using the term ‘working moms’! As if, other moms don’t work at home. Or, a person taking care of a home doesn’t contribute to work. I used it for lack of a better term. Tell me, if you come across any.
Coming to the point, the transition from a woman to a parent is overwhelming and to add to that the responsibilities of work outside of home. As a new mother, your long days (and nights!) with your new-born are short-lived as you get yourself ready to face the life outside your four walls. Being a mum in itself is challenge-ridden and if you are a working mum, then it means a magnum shift in your balancing act.
- I read somewhere that India has the lowest contribution to working professionals among females (about 27%). This is so because they are fighting so many battles everyday. It may be juggling home, work and baby or it may be dealing with expectations of in-laws and the social structure they find themselves in. The companies they work for also do not make sufficient amends. Few provide flexible work hours, work from home or day care facilities. This leads to many of the capable women leaving the work force. The working mum is often labelled as a liability for they have to devote their energy emotionally and physically somewhere else. This is in dark contrast to what a man does. Free from major homely duties, he can pursue work and pleasure outside of home. If he does a chore at home, he is ‘helping’ out! If he looks after the baby, he is ‘baby-sitting’. It is ridiculous that someone has to baby sit their own baby!
- This mental responsibility of being the sole person who has to take care of everything related to home and hearth and baby, takes an emotional toll on the Indian women too. Talking of emotions, if you leave work to take care of your baby, you are being a selfish person who is enjoying at home while husband toils away. And, if you continue to work and keep your child in someone else’s care, then you are a self-centered, unfit mother.
- Another aspect is far more personal. As a new mother, it takes a huge amount of courage to leave your child with some stranger. The most popular way of child caring these days is a day care or a nanny at home. Most people wire up their homes and go to work, leaving their little ones with a lady who most often comes from an agency. There are of course safety and quality child care issues to think of.
- Moreover, it is extremely exhausting! A day with just 24 hours in it is hardly enough to go through the grind day after day while you get little help. Even with a responsible and mature husband, things are difficult for most moms as they do not have the required facilities to do both things.
Recently, India government has implemented a 6 month maternity leave policy in place which is a God send for all new parents. This is a good step in this direction, but we also need to have a solid support system and emotional guidance to rear a responsible future citizen.