Monday, June 2, 2014

Let Breastmilk Be A Boon And Not A Curse

This picture is going viral. A young baby is being manhandled by a housekeeper/ maid. Heart wrenching isn’t it? My heart too went out for this small kid and I did mutter a few choicest of  words for the parents. How dare they leave their kids like that? They had put up CCtv camera’s and they could have monitored it better. Is the child safe now? If so, are the parents still considered monsters?

According to some posts going viral in the Facebook- of course they are. Specially the Mom. How dare she go to work and not take care of the kids? Is her ambition more than her child’s life. She is berated, morally slandered and in the process all the working women have been pointed out as selfish and uncaring.

Are they? Of course they are ….

I am a stay at home mom. Damn proud of it too. I sacrificed my career and stayed at home to see my little ones grow. Thier first smile, their first walk and those first baby talks. Which mom would like to have missed it? None of us.

I boasted to every mother what a sacrificing mom I was. Looked down prudely at every working mom and declared to all who would listen. Ten years from now her daughter will be a bad student or her son will be a drug addict.  How could a righteous mom be wrong?

Ten years have passed. All the kids have grown up. I have lovely kids. So do they! 

Thier kids have a confident mom. My kids have a mom who still preens at her sacrifices, curbs her temper tantrums with great difficulty and if need be can really scream like a banshee. Oh no. I am not unhappy with my life. I am just damn jealous about the fact that they could bring up their kids in the same way as I did and have a career along with that. That was an abomination. Or so my elders in my family told me. I must leave my job to bring up my kids. That is my moral duty and I, the MOM has to forget about herself and bring up the kids. Period.

A girl who loved her studies, a girl who always wanted to come first in the class, a woman who at her career’s peak was told to give up her job because her husband was earning more than her just because she was the Mom. I have no regrets. Maybe a little bit, especially when I see my friends doing a fab job with their kids. 

I also wonder when my daughter is busy with her studies, burning the midnight oil, should I stop and make her do her pelvic exercises? For isn’t her life’s sole duty is to be a mom, produce kids, create few more sacrificing mom in the process? So why should she bother with her career and marks?

And then the burning rage starts. I do have a burning anger towards those people who told me to give up my career because that is what the society demanded. I am angry at the company which could only give maternity leave to permanent employees and not contractors. I am furious with the whole social set up which takes away my choice to decide whether I want a career or not. 

When today I saw the social statuses of young moms screaming that if you have a choice then give up your career for your kids because she did it, that burning anger revisited me. How dare one person tell another person what a Mom should do ? Tomorrow you will become the Mother in law of your son’s bride and I already pity her. Is this what the cycle is all about? One woman stopping another woman from doing what she wants just because she had made the choice?
Yes we have to look after our kids but please don’t make it a fight where a woman has to lose again. Let us fight together to find a solution. 

Maybe our fight will make the companies realise the need for maternity and paternity leaves. Maybe they will open a kids section inside the company where you can monitor your child every second. Nobody is asking you to replace breast milk, It cannot be replaced. But please let it be our boon and not our curse. 

I love being a mom but I love being an independent woman too. 

I see in that post men jumping in and talking about how important breast milk is. No one is denying that. Like you love your kids we love ours too. But may I ask the same men, why can’t they demand paternity leave too and expect mothers only to do the same thing?

Yes I feel the pride when I see my kids growing, my friend is a single mom, feels the same pride. So to be a working mom I have to be divorced, widowed or frustrated? I cannot think and love my family and career together?  Sadly this is a post written by a mom, a woman, a mother of a daughter. Let us not carry this heritage further. As a woman - Stay at home mom. I respect myself and I rest every mom who has a career too. 

Reactions:

18 comments:

  1. Ultimately its all about respecting others' choices and as someone said "Not villainizing" the people who have chosen to live a life different from the one you have chosen for yourself.

    And my heart does indeed go to the child as it goes out to the parents. What a trauma they might have gone through.

    Thought provoking post Rubes . Hugs <3

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    1. Thanks Sri, When will be realise that our choice should be our choice not enforced by others or the society.

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  2. And there are ways to continue breast feding while continuing to work. Feeding mothers get 2-3 hours break in the middle to feed their babies. There are always means to seek that balance.

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    1. I sincerely feel the whole family has to come together to find a solution. Not turn and look at the ma's face as soon as a child is born.

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  3. Rubina,

    As you so eloquently pointed out, there is no reason why you can't find pride in your motherhood AS WELL AS YOUR PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE. Why does society make it an either/ or choice for us? It is true that a mother is needed by an infant- for the obvious reasons. It is true that the bond a child shares with her mother is irreplaceable by any other. A child certainly needs his mother in a vitally essential way.

    But what is also true is that women bring a very unique skill set to the work place too. Women are intuitively equipped to foster nurturing and long range survival. With their ability to patiently wait for things to fall into place, they bring the very essential check- points in a world skidding speedily along in a tearing rush.

    To deprive the workplace of women's skills is a very poor choice for the world. As a mother, the woman is needed at home, but she is also needed at the workplace. Why can't we find a better solution to this?

    Why make it an either/ or choice? In the long run, this curtailment is not helping anyone- neither women, nor society.

    But of course, there will be those who don't understand- and are obnoxiously self- righteous to boot!

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    1. Well said Dagny. And instead of finding a solution, we so easily accept a woman to sacrifice. It is almost funny, when a single mom does it, we call her brave and when a married woman does it we call her selfish.

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  4. i echo everyone else who has written before me!!! fabulously put ...

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  5. Rubina...many a times mothers cannot feed breast milk for various reasons. Is she not a mom then? What about parents who adopt kids? How much ever we convince ourselves that we are progressive and modern...we aim at pulling down others. We women are not sacrificial lambs. It is high time women understand that themselves.
    Wonderfully written.

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    1. True Janaki, Under any circustances I do not encourage not giving breast milk but to demand that you give up your life just because you are blessed with the nectar is not fair. A family has to come together and the office environment has to be made such. For this maybe our government has to intervene at some level,

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  6. Bas? Nikal di bhadaas? Ab Thande dimaag se socho. We are products of the 1960s & 1970s. We were brought up to obey our elders. Our elders were products of 1940s & 1950s, when our society was totally, completely under the influence of orthodox religious influences. We must not blame ourselves as we did what we thought was best at the time and it is no use blaming the elders because they did what they thought was best at the time. However frustrated we may be today, we cannot undo the past. All we can do is make sure we do not impose on children what was imposed upon us. Believe me even today many parents refuse to believe that times have changed. Aren't we and our children better off than those families?

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    1. Bhadaas? :D Thank God they are not in the FB or the blogging world :D But no it is not a bhadaas, It is the plain truth. The beautiful ladies you see above this post, are either working mom or stay at home mom. I am just saying I respect both for the the choices they made. Ultimately this is about your CHOICE not a forced decision dictated either by family members or the norms of the society. We all love our kids. But when we see a young 30 year old screaming in the net that mothers should leave their jobs because of this video, we react. This is an unfortunate incident. So was 9/11. But we have stopped sitting on a plane. And the twin tower is arising again. Lager and more majestic.

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  7. Aahhh I have not seen the video you talk about. I rather noticed a tinge of regret in your post and my comments pertain to that. I am aware of the pressure under which you ladies are and admire you for your fortitude, patience and the love you shower on your families. I for one have seen my mother working 24/7 and then my wife doing the same. So are all you ladies. But I think what I said about all of is equally true - we've been brought up to respect our elders, which that 30-year old screaming woman hasn't. There's no use ranting against anyone, let alone her. I completely agree with you that we are what we are because of our choices.

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    1. Not a tinge of regret Neelesh. Anger. For the process will again and again be repeated. Now as a mom I too have to step back one day. Maybe my daughter will choose to be a stay at home mom. Hopefully I will be old as a bat by then, not to create a runkus. Problem is fighting for a cause does blind you sometimes.. :) And thankyou :)

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  8. Whew! That was a long vent! I was brought up to be a housewife and mom. I got married at 23 and my daughter was born when I was 24. I decided right then and there that I would restart my work life after my second child completed Std. 10. Luckily for me, I didn't have to wait that long when I landed a job in my kids' school when my son was in Std. 2. Later, I gave up my job when my daughter went to Std. 10. I again took up a job with Mumbai Mirror when my son finished his tenth. After working for 8 years, I am on my own - a full time writer with no earnings (ok pittance). I think the most important thing here is to be allowed to choose.
    It's not necessary that the kids of working mothers become drug addicts or otherwise. Everyone is an individual and we can't apply the same rule to all.
    You chose to be a stay-at-home mom, Rubina. Hats off to you! That has not stopped you from doing so much. Okay, you aren't earning money, but that does not mean you don't work. :D HUGS! Your kids are lucky to have you!

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  9. If women go out to work, they are terrible and careless mothers and wives, if they dont then they are unsupportive leeches who only blow what their husband's ear. So there is no pleasing anyone. Unfortunately the flak they face come mostly from none other than women themselves. We know what we are doing and we should be proud of it, be it home maker or a working woman, dont let anyone bring you down or tell you that you are not doing enough, dont let yourself be judged by anyone. Reminds me of that song "kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna, chorro bekaar ki baaton ko kahin beet na jaayen raina."

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