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You are here : home > Raising Children > Parental Dilemmas > Working mother's dilemma

Working mother's dilemma

Working mothers have always a guilty feeling for leaving their children behind. A woman who wants to work after her motherhood is in a dilemma whether to work or be a stay at home mum. Read on to know the dilemma of a working mother.

Gender equality

I am a bit of a feminist, have always been. My friends at college used to tease me that if I ever had a baby boy, I would send him shopping for vegetables when he's still in the pram!!!

Jokes apart, I do feel strongly about treating sons and daughters equally, giving them equal opportunities for growth and development, training them both in domestic chores and making them self-sufficient. The freedom of choice is all-important to me, though I do realise that  'choice' in the adult world is a very complicated issue, affecting all those whom you love and care for. My only grouse is that it just gets that much more complicated if you are a girl.

And no, I did not have a boy. I have a beautiful baby girl who I absolutely dote on. Every parent knows how labour-intensive it is to take care of infants and yet every baby makes it worthwhile with her innocent smiles, inimitable babble and all the mischief she gets into (otherwise none of us would have siblings!).

To work or not to work

Well, the issue I have been pondering over is about going to work leaving your  'precious'  in  another  person's  care. I am a doctor by profession though I am at present staying at  home  taking  care  of my  little  one. But I will soon be returning to work and would  then have  to  trust  my  little princess  with  a  caretaker. Every mother knows how  hard  it  is  to  do  just that  and  I  too  am  dreading  the  day  I'll have  to  drop  my  baby  girl  at  the  nursery.

Though people say that you get used to it and that children settle down, etc., I wonder if   any  mother  is  REALLY  ever  free  of  the guilt. Research does say that children,  whose  mothers  started  working after  they  were 1year old , show  greater  problem-solving  ability. I also believe in the concept of  'quality time' which is any day better than  nagging  or  fussing  over  children  or  just  letting  them  be (on their  own) ! I do not  mean  this  as  a  generalisation  for  all  'stay  at home  mums ( SAHMs). I have the  greatest  respect  for  them  and  am  fully  aware  that  cooking, cleaning  and  keeping  house  is  an  endless  and thankless  job. It's just that some individuals do not cope really  well  with  staying  at  home  all  day. They need the stimulation and distraction that  work  brings,  otherwise  the  frustration  gets  the  better of  them. And I belong to this  category.

The decision

That brings me back to my dilemma. In fact, I am surprised that I am feeling so diffident  at  all for  two  reasons. First, I obviously do not want to be a SAHM and second, my  mum  has  always been  a  working woman. I have always felt secure that my brother  and  I  were the  focus  of  my  parents'  lives. My mother has boundless energy and there  is no  way  she  could  have  been  a  SAHM. I am inordinately proud of her achievements.   
So I guess I too will cope in my own way, in my own time and make a successful   combination  of  home  and  career. And I'll always keep in mind the most powerful words on motherhood that I have ever come across which say that  "a mother is a person  not  to  lean on, but  one  who  makes  leaning  unnecessary". So if we are able to achieve  this  we  would  have  done  our  duties  well , irrespective  of  how many  hours  we  spent  sitting next  to  the  little  ones.


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Rajender.7 years ago
u should work
Samantha.9 years ago
its very important that a woman prepares herself mentally as well as physically and keeps herself fit so that she can handle both home and work efficiently.
another mom in uk.9 years ago
hi. while i mostly agree with the author, i think raising kids in india is easier for a working mom than in the west. in inida you have strong support systems - parents, hired help and the like - which greatly helps reduce stress levels.
another mom in uk.9 years ago
the other issue of course is what kind of work you do - a teacher in a school experiences relatively lower stress than say a management consultant..
anna.9 years ago
i feel that a working mom is much different than a career mom. when you have children and a career, you are most likely to have a nanny take care of your child... this raises the question: whats the point of having a kid, if your not going to be the one to raise it? this, i feel, is why many children are not being raised the proper way, because they are not being properly raised by their biological mothers. also, the whole "guilt free" aspect can be touched upon. if a mother does not spend all the time she would like to with her children, she will feel guilty. therefore allowing, in the long run, for her child to have anything he/she wants. maybe that is why children are so spoiled and have no values these days. my mother was also a working mother, but she did not have a career. a career needs to be a priority, and my mothers priority was her children, do in essence her career was a mother and her work gave her a break from that; where as a career woman would have her priority a career and her children to get a break from that.
nina.9 years ago
hi! sudha happy new year . i read yr article with great interest . i too am a mother of a 10 month old daughter . she is simply adorable .i strongly beleive that if the mother decides to get back to work the father should be equally supportive of her decision and spend quality time with his child . also since the mother has to look after the house too after she is back from work hiring a full time maid / nanny to look after the kid would work wonders . i do not agree that bringing up kids in india is better even if one has inlaws / relatives . after all everyone may not readily take on the responsibility of looking after a kid day in and day out .and also why take others for granted when one can afford a domestic helper / nanny . i too am planning to get back to work once my daughter is a year old .
Lady C.9 years ago
i am a mother of four children. i have worked 6 weeks after each of them were born.
i do deal with the dilema of working and being a stay at home mother. i feel that i
would be able to be a lot less distracted if i were able to work from home.

i have been working in my job currently over 15 years and am a divorcee. my family depends
solely on me. i liked the comment in your article that said a mother is one who can teach
their children how to be independent and if i am able to do that no matter how many hours i
have with them than i am doing well.

ithat is a comfort and i will continue to do my best at instilling values and necessay
knowledge in my children in the time i have until i am able to support them
as an entreprenaur which i will be some day.
there are actually many good articles on the internet giving the negative side of "part-time" mothering - because in reality that's what you become when you pay others to do your mothering on your behalf if your "choice" is career over parenting, even if only for a few days a week. besides, is it really ok to take advantage of a helpless infant just because he cannot tell you that he really wants his mummy? many governments encourage women to return to work/careers to generate more taxes - babies and little children are of no consequence - so silencing the child-experts becomes necessary and many many women have fallen prey to government propaganda. professionals such as dr penelope leach, maintain that a child should be cared for by it's mother for the first three years at least and this is also the opinion of nursery workers in london where in a government survey of 4000, most said exactly the same thing and surely they should know better than anyone! (naturally, these findings were kept pretty quiet!) if doubts still linger, try looking at the complete article on the internet "the problem with daycare" by karl zinsmeister. we never know what the future may bring for our little ones or how long we may have them and infancy is very fleeting and then gone for ever. mothers should treasure this time and be able to look back with no regrets.
tonya.9 years ago
i am a teacher. i work long hours, including some weekends. there are always papers to grade, functions to attend, progress reports due, etc. we have 2 children, ages 8 and 14. my problem is that i feel so torn constantly between my job and my home life. if i give 100% to either place, one of them has to suffer. i mean, i have tried for years to make this work. i always end up feeling burnout from the stress. i don't get to see my children enough and when i do see them, i'm tired and irritable from a long day at work dealing with everyone else's kids. my husband has a great job, but for some reason he wants me to work. this has come up in heated arguements many times. we eat out everyday, pay someone else to clean the house, and live in a constant state of stress. my husband like to spend money, so do i.
but i would rather live simply and not look back on this time in my life and not be happy with our choices. at the end of the day, i'm so tired...6:30-5:00 days are long. i don't get a real "break" until 1:10 in the afternoon. i have nothing left for my family.
hi, i am working mom. i have a 2 yaer old kid. i had to leave him at day care when he has completed 5 months. it wasnt easy. i had several sleepless and crying nights, wondering if my little one will be taken care of. after this one and half years, i have learnt a lot. first, trust in your care taker. very important. if not, you will have the worst time. trust that they will take care of your baby very well and make sure you select the good one. second, i agree babies should be with their mother in the early ages. but, i feel after 1 year, they should be with other kids, this gives them a lot of opportunity to learn! recently i have seen many articles talking about "quality time" with your kids. its true, it gives you also a good satisfaction. finally, stress. try your best to manage it before it starts to manage you. whenever you feel stressed up, take a break, from all you do. it works. you will be relaxed and have more energy to deal with everything. mothers who are working either for their ambition or for the need of the family, are doing a great job. feel proud of yourself and get rid of the guilt. we will always be the proud mom to our kids!
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