Although I am not a mommy right now, as is evident from my blogroll, I really enjoy reading mommy blogs. A mommy group blog that I regularly read, desimomzclub, recently had a series of posts on its theme of the month, the universal ‘stay at home versus work outside home’ mommy dilemma.
I was touched to see the passions this topic aroused among all the bloggers in the group. Each mommy had her own passionate take on the issue, some were for staying at home, others for working outside the home, while most agreed it was a personal choice, that different choices worked for different people.
Today, the same topic was discussed by the Indian gang in our office during the lunch hour. Not surprisingly, the only two people who spoke out passionately on the subject were the two girls in our group, my friend, a hassled mother of two, and a very-apprehensive-about-motherhood and glad-that-it-is-somewhere-on-the-distant-horizon me!
The guys mostly had a very casual approach to the issue. The most vocal among them made his opinions clear at the outset. He felt it was useless sitting at home, that all educated women should work and that taking care of babies was a piece of cake and not at all worth wasting one’s time over. His opinion, frankly, was so ridiculous and thoughtless that we didn’t even feel the need to dispute it!
Most of the other guys in the group couldn’t care less. It is a personal choice, they all said, let each woman make her own choice. Fine, I have no issues with that opinion. A lot of the mommy bloggers on desimomzclub felt the same too.
The glaring difference, though, is that each and every mommy blogger would have given a great deal of thought to the problem, carefully weighing every option before coming to an informed conclusion. And not surprisingly, despite the brave words, very few seemed completely comfortable with their choice. The very real fear of ‘Am I doing the right thing for my child? For me? For my family?’ lurked unseen in each and every post.
Are most men equally unconcerned about this dilemma? I would be curious to know what the husbands of the mommy bloggers feel about their choice. After all, it is something that has a direct impact on every aspect of their own lives – their kid’s upbringing, their wife’s career and sense of self-worth and wellbeing and of course, the family income.
The husband and I had this discussion sometime back, around the same time I was reading the blog posts on desimomzclub. I was of the firm opinion, and he did agree with me, that the choice to stay at home or work after kids should be left to me. (We believe in taking joint decisions in our marriage, but this is something that affects my life the most, so I felt I should have the final say in the matter.)
Nevertheless, I was glad that he had such strong views on the subject. (I won’t go into the nature of our discussions here, that’s food for an entirely new blog post altogether. Suffice to say, we managed to agree on our choice for once!) I would have been very unhappy if he was completely indifferent. I know, I want to have my cake and eat it too, that’s just the way we girls are!
On a side note, will a day ever come when both moms and dads agonize over this decision? Or when there will be a healthy debate, rather than a foregone conclusion, over who gets to stay at home with the kids? When will our society change? And how?
When I say, ‘I will not do something just because that’s the way it’s being done all this while’, I am cheekily labeled a radical, a rebel, a feminist and what not. Not just by the husband, by my own parents too. Think of your family’s happiness before all this feminist nonsense, I am advised. But if everybody thinks this way, will society ever change? But I know the answer to that one too, ‘It’s not up to us to change society, you see!’