My mother was a homemaker (to use a modern terminology). I do not recall a time in my childhood when Ireturned to an empty home and made my own snacks or lunch/dinner. I grew up taking for granted that mothers are always at home to receive their children. The outside reality slowly sunk in and I realized that women who went to work also were mothers whose children bid them good bye each morning and waited for them to come back to relate the days adventures.
I recall one blog written by a TV Newsreader which is particularly fascinating. This is two years old blog, but timeless in terms of contents and I am giving below a link to it.
The comments in response mostly from women are equally interesting. They are worth reading.
In today’s context when female education is emphasized and they are equal or should be equal to male in terms of opportunities and abilities , it is not fair or correct to tell a woman that her main job is to be a “homemaker” rather than fulfill her personal and professional aspirations. At the same time, children in the early and formative years require close attention from at least one of the parent. This need not be on a 24/7 basis, but ideally should cover a significant portion of the children’s waking hours and their time spent in the house. As the children grow up, the degree and span of attention could vary and reduce.
I am seeing in some cases grand parents being substitute parents. Some grand parents are frequent flyers to gulf and USA to care the grand children. I always wonder whether the parents bond well with children brought up by others? Do grand parents have the same energy they had as parents? Is’nt it a a bit tiresome for grandparents to do once more what they had done over three decades back? Would they not be looking thru the prism of values and mores which may not be relevant three decades later when the children become adults?
“Quality time” seems to cover the nature of attention needed, but at the same time indicates cliché or an overused word. I tried to imagine myself to be a parent with two children of varying ages between 5 and 10, tending to them after a full day at office and traveling for nearly 3 hours a day. Besides this there would be domestic chores to attend. How much energy would a person have – whether the parent is a mother or father- is hard to estimate? Would they tell stories from Ramayana or Mahabharata or read Tintin comics before the children go to sleep? How much of their day at school would interest them? I realized that I would do much less than what a working parent does today.
Perhaps the issue is not working vs non working mothers. The real issue could be how much of a bonding exists between the children and parents. I have seen fathers substituting for mothers who are sometimes more busy due to the nature of their jobs.
Children need and demand attention. Some times the attention they seek disturb others who see some distortion in relationship without identifying what could be the cause. Whenever I see such distortion, I wonder what would they grow up to be as adults. Do children of working parents demand more attention and carry some level of unfulfilled emotional needs? I don’t know. But I have certainly seen some children seeking more than needed attention.
The bottom line could be that when we bring another human being into this world, as parents we have a responsibility and duty to ensure that the child grows up to be a good human being and be able to contribute to the society in a positive manner. So when our children become adults, we should be perhaps be able meet this standard, at least in our own hearts.