I was always a career-oriented woman. I never imagined myself sitting at home and taking care of the children. My perspective towards motherhood changed, however, when my daughter was born. When the time came to leave my daughter with someone else…it was a terrible thought.
“She is so delicate; how can I leave her with anybody?” I said to myself. The guilt took over and I was in two minds. The dual perspective in my mind was not between right and wrong. It was not about morality or what the world would think, just the very thought of leaving my little one – whom I had nurtured so carefully for 9 months in my womb – with someone else, was dreadful.
That is when I decided to stay at home with my love. For 5 months life was smooth and I was simply enjoying my bundle of joy. But there were still moments when I missed my job and life tended to feel monotonous. I finally decided to hire a nanny to see if I could return to work. We planned everything to the T! I was trembling the first time I left my child with the nanny, and it was only for one hour. Gradually for the next 5 months, I trained myself to be strong. When she reached 11 months, I felt more confident to rejoin the office. But…I still longed to be with her at home. I started working for half a day as I was lucky enough to get things sorted out with my boss. I am very happy that I chose this decision as it let me enjoy both worlds; my love at home, and the love for my career. Although there had been many difficult moments away, her falling sick or any other problem, my daughter was always my first priority.
I now work for half of the day which allows me to spend quality time with my daughter. Everything comes with a cost, however. I don’t get to handle good projects, I am promoted less and often teased by my co-workers for the privilege of leaving office early. But then I forget everything and feel content when I come back home to my daughter. I am able to take her out for fun and educational activities that enrich her life. So, it is all worth it.
Traditional society expects women to devote her entire being to the child she has given birth to. Career-oriented women are often morally looked down upon. Social norms have indeed changed in recent history, but the pressure to push forward with a career as well as raising a child is a difficult dilemma for highly capable and ambitious women who want the best of both worlds.
Visualize yourself in both scenarios: if you’re working, you’ll have the benefit of your social circle, career, and respectability. Or, as a stay-at-home mom, you can take care of your most precious possession first-hand. In my opinion, there is often a conflict between guilt and regret. Guilt, for leaving the child with someone else to care, or the regret of losing your career.
Of course, your choice depends on many things. If you have a family to take care of your child, then the decision is perhaps not as difficult. List down your priorities. Sort out help from wherever possible because there are plenty of options available; daycare, nannies, grandparents, work from home, flexible hours, part-time jobs, or even monitor and talk your child using a smart device.
But believe me, in any decision you make, take everything into consideration in order to find what is perfect for you.
There is a difference between what will make you most happy, and what you think you should do in order to be a “good mother” in the eyes of society.
Let’s instead embrace the diverse choices mothers make and pay our respect for the challenging dilemma women face. Finding the right balance between work and home is no easy task and will be unique for every woman. What matters most is that your children grow up feeling loved and equipped with the tools to succeed.
If a mother is happy, the kid will also be happy and vice-versa. And just like my choice to work part-time, you don’t always need to make an all-or-nothing decision. Career is a priority but family is important. The choice is entirely yours.
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog originally for https://themomstore.in/blogs/blogs-for-moms/the-dilemma-of-a-stay-at-home-mom-vs-working-mom