People ask me this question ‘Are you working? ‘
I tell them ‘No, I am not’.
The image of myself as a career woman in my mind forces me to habitually elaborate further that I used to work before Dhruv was born untill the time he turned 2. Then I resigned to become a stay-at-home mom since we were moving to UK for a brief period.
Another question pours out soon after ‘Do I have plans of going back to work sometime later?’
My answer follows ‘Yes, may be after Dhruv starts school full time.’
But the ‘may be‘ in my answer lefts me thinking about many many more questions with the only difference being that here I am the one asking questions and I am the one who has to seek answers to all those questions.
I repeatedly ask myself ‘Do I want to go back to work? Will I? Can I?
The reason for my leaving the job was not entirely that I was crossing continents in order to live in another country but it was because my trust in my support system had collapsed. A working mother requires a support system which provides both physical and emotional support. And what happens when that same system strips you off your emotional stability adding to your vulnerability and you have a baby and a full time job to deal with in such a situation. You have to exercise your options.
Going back to work in my home country will again bring me face to face with the same so called support system which is rather more instructive than anything else, where any attempts at discussions for seeking co-operation for the sake of the child is met with heightened opinions and walk-out demonstrations.
Its not even easier when you live separately as a nuclear family. You will have to hire nannies or full time maids or creches to look after your small child while you are away at work. The high costs of making such arrangements gets clubbed with the constant worry of leaving your little one in the hands of a stranger when the media pours news after news of the gruesome atrocities committed by the maids and others. This does not give me any peace of mind.
And what about the work place? The industry is very dynamic. Even if I keep myself abreast with all the changes happening in the world of accounting, which is where my whole work experience lies, what kind of opportunity will I get after taking a break of a couple of years? Wouldn’t I be required to start afresh at the lower end of the ladder? How would I feel when all those people who used to work with me would have moved much ahead? And the most important question – Would I be able to put in the same level of effort in my professional space now with a child as I used to put in previously? Will I be satisfied with this? I know there a lots of women and mothers who handle both and most of them do it beautifully. I understand managing both children and a profession is not easy. It requires a lot of compromises to be made. I have read multi-tasking is the key. Surely.
But isn’t it true too that unless you dedicate all your energies in one direction you can never be sure of achieving your goals in life. Prioritization is the word.
So moving from the external factors to the more internal ones, I realize that somewhere down the line, somewhere during the last one and a half year that I have stayed at home full time taking care of Dhruv, raising him in a conflict free environment and inculcating certain good habits in him, my priorities have changed. I have realized that staying at home and not going back to work might not be a bad thing after all. I would like to be around him. I would like to be a part of each and every activity of his. I would like to relive my childhood again with him and to grow up along with him. I would like to start schooling with him all over again. I would like to be there for him helping him in managing difficult emotions. I would like to endure ‘Gentle Parenting’ with him which requires oodles of patience, positive energy and commitment. I would not want the frustrations and pressures of having a full time professional career to rob me off my internal peace again. I would not like to follow the age old philosophy which my parents followed too – Spare the rod and spoil the child. I would consider myself lucky that i can take such a decision for myself without having to reflect about the financial contribution in the family. All this while, I will continue to write if at all there is something that I can write about.
And at the same time all things said and written, the spirit of a working woman in me assures me that it will not get nailed to death and everytime it will see a working woman, a working mother achieving laurels and adding feathers to her professional and personal cap it will silently cheer for her and wish her good luck.