Mommy’s Not Done Yet!

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I recently read something that is quite frankly a debating point for most women. It talked about how men are actually responsible for a woman not having a career post marriage and kids.

Yes, like it or not, it put the blame squarely on a man’s shoulders talking about how they stress women more than children. So, today, at the age of 38 or 45 or 48, if you don’t have a career and are instead sitting a home twiddling your thumbs or wafting in and out of kitty parties, it’s really not your fault at all…it’s only your man’s!

So there you are. You can breathe a sigh of relief and say: I knew this all along and my worst fears have been justified. It’s because of the man I married that I don’t have a rocking career. As for my children, I’m sure they would have been very cooperative and maybe they wouldn’t fall sick so often or get into scrapes in school and I wouldn’t be tossed around like a yo-yo. No! Instead, I’d be having a career – a real career.

According to the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan American fact tank based in Washington DC, almost 10 per cent of highly educated mothers are stay at home mums. Indian mom’s are following suit. Now really, is the man to blame? As I said right in the beginning and it’s a personal view: few things about this premise are a bit off the radar. Because unless your man is from the Neanderthal age and is actively trying to stop you from getting a job or passively trying to stop you, by all kinds of excuses such as child care and kitchen work, there is nothing that justifies it.

A lot of women I meet tell me, not so convincingly that they don’t really miss having a career because they are so happy being homemakers. But for the lucky, unusual few who truly mean it, good luck to them. This is what their destiny entailed and they definitely do not want to change it. This is the best kinds–the one who is happy with her lot and feels a hundred per cent satisfied with giving all to her children and sometimes realising her dreams through her children. Now, the latter here will obviously not realise that though she’s peaceful; her children are not. Nobody likes to be pressurised to be their mom or dad. They’d rather be themselves! It’s not a perfect world at all and neither are you and I perfect. So don’t kill the kids!

And then, some women never feel undermined by offhand remarks from the partner about them doing nothing useful or maybe how housework isn’t such a big deal when there are three four maids in the house or how the kids are really easy to handle so she’s just a parasite. I know I’m being a bit too harsh here as most men I know would never dream of saying such things but that odd guy is always there, isn’t he? Never underestimate how mean ‘soul mates’ can be! So such women develop a hide that’s thicker than the wads of green paper that they regularly use to revenge shop the blistering blue barnacles off their men, read primary breadwinner. And will continue their policy of tolerance.

Now the ones like me, who thought their career has been the highlight of their lives, can find it quite difficult to adjust to the life of a full-time homemaker and child caretaker. Oh, I’m not alone and I know that. And if this current trend is anything to go by–we see men go through a midlife crisis and women go through a midlife upsurge, especially where their careers are concerned. It’s like they suddenly wake up to the lost years and reclaim all that talent back, to perform better in whatever they wish to do. It’s true and I have so many real-life examples to stand proof to that.

And as for the ones who can, the moment the children are grown up, they take up a job. After all, the logic is, you’ve got a brain so it needs to be used. Housework and chores can still be sidelined but your feelings and slowly sliding down self-esteem can’t. And the ones who can’t get into a fulltime job for whatever reason; taking up projects or going solo, working out from home is their salvation. Yes, it’s pressurising to have your fingers in all the pies you made. But what the hell, it’s one life, so use that brain, get some of that feel good factor when somebody praises your work and of course, that bit of financial independence that may one day stand you in good stead.

And then there’s that yet another type of woman who feels marriage is a mistake, children a lesser mistake. So the agenda is to get back to their career path, junk the partner and sometimes the kids too and feel all self-important again. Now this makes me feel it’s better to be that single woman who never married, never had kids, than be somebody who carries all that emotional baggage around.

Divorces happen. Affairs happen. And a hundred more things when one feels that crushing burden of regret. Forget the husband, for the time being, focus only on the kids. So, the children who you willingly and knowingly gave birth to, are not a responsibility for you—rather a burden? Parenting is not something that is a juggling act. If ever, kids need to have two non-warring parents, who, even if they live separately, at the end of the day, want to do the best for their kid and life somehow feels like its worth living.

Like someone once said: childhood is a short season. So no matter what your marriage is like, where your career is stuck, just be there for the kids in whatever way you can. It’s one experience you can’t regret. As for that dream partner, that soul mate pushing you towards your dream of a great career…stop dreaming. It’s bullshit. Only you can do what you want to do if you set your mind to. Your man can either be supportive or non-supportive because you make your choices, your decisions and in the end, your glory is yours. Despite all odds and in whatever way, you did it. That’s fulfilling, right?

And forget the people who pull you down, forget the ones who have only negative things to say as you doggedly try to get back to having some purpose in your midlife; remember this is what works for you and let yourself get seduced by that idea. Forget those naysayers: what comes from them is the stuff losers are made up of because they don’t have dreams or a vision or a purpose to achieve. Mediocre is as mediocre does. Nothing changes that.

Pursue your individual path of excellence and keep that balance between the kids and the husband, if he’s not exactly hateable:) Whatever that little or big dream is…do it, live it and encourage other women to do it too. One life is too short to have everything but if you can, do not retrace your steps. When you have an empty nest because the children are gone or you are partnerless, you’ll be glad you decided to have a purpose in life that passionately engulfs you and also pays some of your bills.

One of the world best tennis players and also a mom, Serena Williams, who was quizzed on why she was pursuing her career in sport despite all the issues she’s facing, namely raising kids, she chose to simply say: because I’m not done yet!

That, my dear womenfolk, definitely sounds more attractive to me. We can’t be done yet! I’m not.

Ends

Published by Tashneem Ali

Journalist. New writer of fiction. Blogger. Reader. Poet. Chef. Music lover. Photographer. Singer.

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