When I write this post I am only referring to the Indian working mother. In this country a working woman has to manage her home and her office with efficiency. She really has no choice but to manage both or she is bound to be on a guilt trip.
Once upon a time, ummmm, really this is an apt start ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’ it was the man who was the provider in the family and the woman the homemaker. Times have changed and women too. We see large numbers of women in the work force firstly due to economic necessity and secondly because they have discovered that there exists something called ‘the world’ outside of their kitchen.
Unfortunately as in the case of every social change, there is a lag between actions and attitudes. People are finally accepting the idea of a career woman. There seems to be no objection to availing of their talents and abilities outside the home. What doesn’t change is the fact that they are not to be excused from their duties as wives and mothers. In India things are a step worse with duties as a daughter in law too.
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Let me tell you of one woman I knew personally. She worked to support the family. She had two kids. Her routine was as follows:
- Wake up at 5 am
- Get breakfast and lunch ready for 4 persons. That included 25 rotis.
- Wake the kids
- Tea and milk for 4
- Preparing the kids for school and sending them off
- Serving the husband breakfast
- Ironing his clothes
- Giving him his tiffin
- Then having a shower
- Off to work – 9 30 am.
- Back at 6.
- Tea and snacks for 4
- Studies of 2 children
- Dinner and 15 rotis
- Bathing and putting the kids to bed
- Hand washing a bucket full of clothes and putting them to dry
- 10 am off to bed….before sometimes providing another essential service to you know who!
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She once told me that when she fell sick her husband gave her so many pills that in one hour she was back on her feet doing what she had to do. Periods? What periods? Rest? What rest?
Somehow I feel a lot of working mothers will identify with this. Give and take here and there if the economic situation is good. Being a working mother is not an easy job. Some women excel at it and some don’t have a choice. No matter what the situation the glue that holds it all together is family support.
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Ideally a working mother should only return to work when her baby is at least one year old to avoid separation anxiety. For women who have no choice, it all depends on the amount of maternity leave they can get.Often working mothers give in to their childs demands because they feel guilty about leaving the child to pursue a career or work to make ends meet. They often think that this absence can be compensated by giving their children material things and money. What a child needs is warmth and emotional security. They know that too but cannot provide it all the time.
They know that when their children are left in the care of nannies and baby sitter only the child’s basic needs can be met. Care takers cannot be responsible for the child’s intellectual, social and emotional development. Their next worry is if their children are being beaten, if they are fed, if they are dealt with hygenically or worst of all if they are being molested in anyway. This is the worst thought a mother can have and it eats them up every single day. Guilt often times turns into anxiousness and doesn’t benefit anyone. It hampers the mothers performance both at work and at home.
The best thing for a woman to do is to work part-time or get a job that has flexi-hours or to work freelance. However not everyone is that fortunate. I want to tell you right here and right now to stop feeling guilty.
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