Friday, 17 June 2016

Parenting: Motherhood and career?

When you can make it work well for you and your family, then by all means go for it! I know it can work out really well for some people. Some women have very supportive husbands or other family members and it just works very well.

This post is not for you. This post is for those women who feel pressured to go back into the work force for a variety of reasons. Some because of pressure of society. Some because of pressure of family.

The last few months I have heard quite a few women being quite upset because of the pressure put on them to go, as soon as possible, back to work and some get the pressure to go back to work full-time. Those who talked about it couldn't handle it. The pressure was too high. The stress was too high. The total workload was too high.

Taking care of a baby or young child isn't peanuts. It's time consuming and it requires a major adjustment, as life before and after kids is very, very different. This adjustment is huge with every new baby.  I think maternity leave is way too short. It's not just the physical recovery. It's also the adjustment to the new role, the nighttime care for the child and such. It's a major change.

What worries me is the disrespect towards women who do not feel up to being super woman. The way they are frowned upon and disrespected. It's quite a chance from when my mother got married in the 1963. She got laid off, because that is what happened. A woman who got married had a husband, and soon family, to take care of so she got fired. I certainly don't want to go back to that as it should be a choice and not forced down someone's throat whether or not to keep working. But back then taking care of house and family was valued. These days it's frowned upon and that really bothers me.

I recently spoke to a friend. Her baby is 4 months old. Her maternity leave is 6 months. She feels judged for taking the 6 months. It used to be 3 months and if she would want to go back earlier she could. She's been feeling a lot of pressure to go back after the 3 months were over, just like all her colleagues previously did. She was called a leach of society. Luckily her husband is supporting her in her choice and if it's not going to work out at her work she has the possibility to leave her current job and go look for another, more suitable one, or stay home for a while longer, whatever works.

Then recently a friend ended up being pressured by her husband to get a different job, as the one she currently has she is overqualified for and is only part time. She is the one taking care of their child, doing the household, the shopping and the cooking. He was terribly disrespectful to her. But the fact that she has a masters degree doesn't necessarily make her a career woman who is in dire need to go back into the rat race. This friend actually enjoys her work, which is 5 days a week, 7 hours a day. So it's not like she's not doing anything. She just doesn't want her child at a child minders for very long days and loves being with him. Her husband was raised in a family where both parents always worked full-time, so that's all he knows. And that's what he expects. But his wife was taken care of by her mum as her mum didn't work full-time and remembers it fondly and wants that for her child. Her husband is of the opinion it's a waste of her education. He seems to forget that a child is not forever. It's such a short time that they are small and it's crucial to not mess up that time as you'll never get it back, besides that it can cause lasting problem if they don't get a good trusting attachment to their main caregivers. This is actually what I think might be the issue for her husband. Mind you, I don't know him, so this is speculation, but I've seen it frequently. Chances are that he doesn't have a safe attachment to his parents due to having been taken care of by ever changing strangers in child care, while his parents were working. My friend ended up with another job and ended up working full-time soon after she told me about it. The pressure was too high. She was crying as she was telling me how she had no choice as he husband put an awful amount of pressure on her. Their child will be in a day care centre. I feel for her. After a while she was trying to convince herself that this was better. But I wonder how this will go in the long run. She was pretty clear about not having another child when it has to go this way as this is not what she has imagined it to be.