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?