Working Women and Parenting


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.

http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/suhasinihaidar/218/1034/the-mommy-mahabharata.html

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.

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2 Responses to Working Women and Parenting

  1. subharaman says:

    Women who work and also take care of families are epitome of sacrifice. My wife has not taken a single promotion in her career in Bank as she thought that her family requires her attention. Yes my son was also brought up in creches till he was 6 or 7. My wife took a branch close by so that she can come home before my son comes back from his school. In fact, she would after he left for school and come back before he reaches home to prepare his tiffin and coffee. She would have earned a lot had she concentrated on her career. But she sacrificed for the family. Not only this I am really blessed that I never had to enter the kitchen to even make a tea!!. Although I know how to cook, I need not have to. Of course, I chip in some times and also take care of all purchases and outside work. I am only grateful for the sacrifices she has made to my family. Recently I had attended a program where I met a lady from the neareby locality and we were returning from a place near to Mumbai. She was narrating how here marriage was coming to an end as her husband was not willing to take any responsibility. When I explained what sacrifice mean and what gratefulness mean, she was unwilling to accept the term sacrifice. She said why the woman needs to sacrifice all the time. The men can also sacrifice. Good thought.

  2. gayatri says:

    I am a homemaker.The 20s to 30s age group people have been brought up in a different anvironment from urs.They have more privileges n oppurtunities inlife right from childhood which was unavailable before.They work out of choice n pleasure than the necessity to for monetary reasons.So it is not right to say that educated girls should not work.But in our society men r not brought up to learn household chores.So most of them dont know what chores r to be done or how difficult it is.This is wrong.Such people expect their wives to be working partners but never help them to run the house.

    Also the outlook towards woman as only housewife is not existent.We r seen as a special category.The job of a homemaker is seen as not much important work or something which does not require the woman`s presence at home.But the role of a mother is not so trivial or a tedious taks that can be substituted by any maid or grandparent.Grandparents can never take a role of a parent.If it was so trivial or unimportant task then we neednot have kids at all!!!!!!!!!!!After all they r also human beings.The happiness of watching a baby grow each day, their first steps,their blabberring,their curiousity to explore the world,their first words…cannot be obtained or bought with any money.It is diificult to leave a months old baby n go to work..

    But the child in today`s time is not seen as a child.Parents assume that the child will understand wen it grows up why does mother go to office everyday.I doubt if the child can ever fill up that vaccuum created at such a young age?’?It will surely understand 1 day but the vaccuum of longing for its parents will always be there.The taking care of child always brings the expression”Oh!!It is boring n tedious job!!thank god I am working!!”..Many People look at having babies as another goal or object to be fulfilled in life n not as a fulfillment of emotional need or the love of creating another human being n showing the world to it from our eyes.Today eyes r of strangers n relatives.So the views n habits n behaviour also becomes like them.But parents expect the child to behave the way they want n not as it has been learning from its caretakers..that expectation should not be there from the child.

    But this doesn`n mean that woman should sit at home.But either parent should be there in the initial 2 to 3years of child`s life.They r the best time to invest our energies in the child.After that they would have acquired a certain habit,attitude,behaviour,thinking which will be difficult to change later on.

    If looking after a child is seen a job or task to be done then the bond between the parent n child is not created.Only if one enjoys having achild around them n raising them, should they have children.And not just forthe sake of it.

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