Dear Working Mom,
Do you ever fall asleep wondering if your child is happy? Do you ever wake up tired and anxious with a list of to-dos that increase by the minute? Do you spend the day wondering if you’re doing right by your child and most importantly, by yourself? Do you ever wonder if you’re doing too much, too little or even just enough?
I know I do. And something tells me, you do too.
But I am teaching myself to rise above my self-doubt and be confident about the choices I have made for myself and my baby. And I hope you do the same too.
You see, we may seem to be different – you went back to work after you gave birth to your child, whereas I didn’t. But no matter what we do, we are likely to be judged. You, for putting our baby in Childcare so that you can resume your career, building a corpus for your child’s future. And me, because I was a Stay At Home Mom, who chose to put my child in ChildCare because I did not wish to burden my elderly family members with the task of handling an energetic tot.
But you know what, it should not really matter. No matter how they want us to label and box us, there is only one kind of mom in this world – the very best kind.
I must admit, it hurts when someone asks me why a stay-at-home mom like me needs to put her child in Childcare? Well, because I do not want live-in house help. Neither do I want to worry about leaving my baby with a nanny who is more interested in watching the TV, than checking whether my baby needs a nappy change!. And I strongly believe it is unfair to expect your parents or in-laws to baby sit because it is convenient for us.
If I ever get complimented for the way I dress, there is a rider – of course, I have all the time in the world to hit the gym, get in shape, and shop. I often get asked; what is it that I do all day?
Sometimes, I meet women who say they are envious of my lifestyle. Of all the free time I must have while my little one is in Childcare. Of all the spa appointments I must get to make. Of all the coffee I must drink before movies with my fellow stay-at-home-mom friends.
And I know that it hurts you when someone asks you: Why do you need to put your child in a creche, why not quit your job instead? Why is your career more important than your child’s wellbeing? I am sure, like me, you meet women who say, they envy you because you are financially independent. That you are free to focus on your career, while the baby is taken care of. No questions asked about why reclaiming your personal and professional space after motherhood is important to your self-esteem. Also how it is necessary for the family finances too.
You know, in some ways they are right. I do have more time on my hands than I did when my child was at home. It helps me run my errands, find a little time for myself, to simply take a breather, read a book, go for long-due therapy so that I am recharged and refreshed to run after the little bundle of boundless energy.
Your child at a ChildCare also means you have the flexibility to attend an important meeting after 5 pm, or prep for an important presentation, while keeping an eye on the live stream of your tot at the ChildCare facility. I am sure it also helps you make that quick day trip to a different city, knowing your child is in a safe, secure environment.
Childcare for me isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. Just like it is for you. In your case it serves a different purpose because for a working mother, it’s a means to keep her child safe, social and stimulated while you do amazing things with your career. For me, it’s a means to being a better, more productive stay-at-home mother because at the end of the day, what I do is work too.
In the journey of motherhood, there is no me and you really. Because you and me, the working mom and the other who chooses to be at home, know what is best for our children. Just as we know, both of us deserve a partner in parenting, who can hold our hands and tell us, go grab your coffee, finish that call, meet that doctor – we’ve got your back.
So here’s looking at us mommies – at work, at home, at play – no matter how hard they try to label us, box us and judge us, we are the best things that could happen to our babies and should never be apologetic for our choices.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.