To work or not to work? None of your damn business ;)

So, in the few years that I've been a mother, I have been a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom and a work-out-of home mom (not using acronyms here in case non-tech-savvy mamas come across this). Under all circumstances, the decision to change my role was mostly, if not fully, mine. And each time, all things considered, it was the right thing to do.

However, you'd be surprised by how much flak I got from all sides each time I changed my role!!!

When I decided to stay at home to care for my children, people were quick to point out that:
  • "Rugi" (translated: what a waste! --I'm assuming they mean it's a waste because I have a degree from overseas)
  • I was not contributing to society (nevermind that I was trying to raise two men)
  • I was freeloading off my now-ex-husband (could not be FURTHER from the truth...'nuff said)

After my kids were bigger, I decided to try my hand at being a work-at-home mother. I was a freelance writer for some time, and did some graphic design for friends and family. Some of the things some people felt the need to point out were:
  • I spent so much time on the computer, and yet earned so little (yes, it's true, but money wasn't the main reason for me working at this point - I enjoyed the compromise of being able to raise my kids myself, and earning a little pocket money.)
  • There are no long-term prospects or career development (uh...except that writing is always great for career development, especially when one plans on pursuing a doctorate and eventually teaching full-time!)

Then, due to circumstances that were out of my control, I had to find employment outside the home. It was not a happy time in my life, but knowing that I was to soon become a single mother, I knew I had to do it. But those who did not know the whole story, said things like:
  • See, we told you being a full-time stay-at-home mother was no good - it's not stimulating enough/you get bored/your boys would be fine/you're better off having a career for yourself (this was hurtful regardless of the justification - anyone who knows me well would know that I LOVE being a stay-at-home mother!!!)
  • Your kids need you, and your parents/husband can support you financially. Why work?? (I am aware that my kids need me, and I would love to be at home full-time, but at that time, I had no choice but to work...also, I am not the type to freeload off my parents, regardless of how "loaded" they are. Anyone who assumes otherwise clearly does NOT know me at all!)

As you can see, nothing one ever does can make everyone happy. All one can do is to follow their instincts and do what they feel is right for themselves and their chilren, and be happy with that. If I were to give a damn what other people think, I would never be able to find peace in my decisions. But I refuse to live a life riddled with regret just because I am trying to fulfill other people's expectations. "Those who matter don't care, and those who care don't matter" -- Dr. Seuss.

Another thing I would like to point out is: true feminism is the ability for women to have FREEDOM OF CHOICE in making decisions in regard to their career and family. Those who have the extreme view that "feminism = domesticity" or "feminism = career" need to analyze their reasoning, and their motivations.

Did any of you notice, though, that one thing remains constant regardless of one's status as a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom and a work-out-of home mom? The word MOM. No matter what a mother decides to do with her time,  she is still a MOTHER. And, as women, I think now's the time to be fully tolerant, empathic, and respectful of other mother's decisions. Why not try this new idea? "Feminism = support, respect and tolerance". Feels better, no?

29 comments:

  1. well said adrin...:) i like !

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  2. I saw your transition of being SAHM to WAHM and now FTWM. I thought you planned your journey well enough. You were there when your kids need you the most and when they are a little big enough its time for yourself! Isnt it great how things fall into places? I am still nervous and really dont know how it would be once the newborn is out considering nuha is still small and FTWM??? SAHM seems a better situation.

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  3. Well said dear, I am a SAHM myself, got that all the time. If anything, this situation we are in teaches us to be nice to others, cos we understand that no matter how unpopular someone's decision is, we know that it must be suitable for that someone. We don't go and judge them unnecessarily.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
    story of my life after baby,
    unwelcomed verbal judgments

    "true feminism is the ability for women to have FREEDOM OF CHOICE in making decisions in regard to their career and family."
    >>AGREED!

    "I think now's the time to be fully tolerant, empathic, and respectful of other mother's decisions. Why not try this new idea? "Feminism = support, respect and tolerance" "
    >>AGREED! i thought it was ridiculous or overambitious to want that idea to be widespread among us mothers. but to see you put that in writing, so convincingly, i'm starting to believe we can!

    thanks Adriana :)

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  6. Dear Adriana,
    I do agree with you though I'm a FTWM. I tried to "train" my husband how to look after our children, but I conclude husbands are lacking in mothers instinct. Next, if we regard our children as are our most precious asset, we wouldn't want to leave them in the care of any maids. Actually, I've witnessed a successful story of SAHM raising 5 sons who have their own eccentricity. And a child actually needs his mother to differentiate right from wrong, all throughout his lifetime, for he has not only physical needs but also emotional needs, and intelectual needs. You see Adriana, it takes at least half a ifetime to prove to others that SAHM and WAHM have made the right decision. I salute you for the courage to be one. Yes, just ignore those unwarranted remarks.

    Anna.

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  7. Hi Adriana, I'm a new reader to your blog and I am in absolute agreement with your views.

    I'm a SAHM to a 15 month old boy and I quit work even before I got pregnant, as I knew that I would want to raise my child myself, not hand him/ her off to a nanny or daycare and rush back to work (I think being sick of work and its politics helped!).

    I've got comments ranging from "Oh how nice to be able to stay home with your baby" (positive), to "What do you do all day?" (ignorant) to "You should be careful you keep your 'edge'" (negative: your mind will turn to mush looking after a kid 24/7). So that just goes to show how little people know about SAHMs.

    Having said that, I do not judge mothers who work. I understand some need to, be it for financial reasons, or simply for their sanity.

    At the end of the day, all mothers want to nurture and raise their children the best way they can. Hats off to you, not only do you have the toughest (and best) job in the world, you are slinging it out on your own. You seem to know what you're doing so all power to you!!

    I'll be following your adventures from now on :-)

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  8. HI Adri,

    I think u've got so much strong and admirable traits and you should go on being head-strong with whatever you choose to do. The world has so much to say about other ppl's decisions not realizing they will also be judged someday for their own. No one's life is perfect nor should it be. It's part and parcel of the adventure.

    I'm not even close to being a mama yet but i do understand when it comes to making big choices in ur life and handling all the scrutiny.

    No matter what happens, God always have something better to bless us with and its just waiting in the wings.

    Just know that ur loved and there are many other women out there who understands. ;)

    Btw, Dr Seuss rocks!

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  9. You are an extremely strong person to handle all that life has thrown out there this year. I think whatever decission you decide will be the right one. You put your children above all else and do what is best for you as a family, and that's all that matters.

    I don't even know what I am... a FTWMWBHKTW? (full time working mom who brings her kids to work) LOL But it works, for us anyways, and thats how I like it! :)

    ~ Julie

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  10. Thanks for all the lovely comments! It's always nice to know I'm not on this boat alone :)

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  11. oh well you can't please everybody. glam mamas don't need to explain why they're glam. they just are :)

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