“Oh, I know you are so qualified, worked for 10 years! It’s okay, kids have grown up now, don’t worry, you can work again, you can get a job, at least you could work in a school.”
This dart gets thrown on me in many forms, tones, shapes and with a variety of intentions. Some throw it out of pity, some out of concern, some ignoring my identity as a writer, some just do it like a “Salaah” as in India, and each one of us is a self-certified life coach.
I wish to put this in a loop like a recording tape to put on woofers that I chose to stay at home. Nobody forced me then to sit at home since I have twin daughters. I decided as I chose to become a mom.
Then that tone irks me, “Oh you had to sacrifice your career” and that look of triumph at the other side. What sacrifice? I am a mom and not a martyr. As if I gave up my life if I chose to leave one type of occupation and get occupied elsewhere. I want to remind them that I didn’t give up myself instead I increased my love expanse, literally and figuratively.
Let me share with you that prior to being a mom, I had no interest in cooking and not much experience. Having worked in IT industry had delivered many projects but being a mom is so empowering. Now I feel powerful enough to handle any crisis and yet smile at the top of any situation. I raised myself in cooking and all other departments along with my children. I have equal respect for moms, at home or office. Moms are moms, always working their minds for the wellbeing of their family. How does location of a mom can limit her being?
The other consolation comes like this;
If you had worked now then you must have been somewhere up in the ladder.I took it personally. Appointing myself as CHO- Chief Happiness Officer at home and you could see it getting published as my designation. Right at the top.
Isn’t happiness a measure of success? If staying at home gives me fulfillment and I have no aspirations to be somewhere else then ladders are insignificant.
The other consolation I have received about which it has taken me years to get pacified and write about it.
When my twins were around 6 months old, one of the old ladies saw the pram with two babies and asked, “Congratulations, they are twins?”
“A Boy and a girl!”
One of my daughters had less hair and extra chubby at that time.
“No aunty, both girls”.
“Oh!”….she paused. Her spark fizzled out. “Anyways beta, both are Lakshmi”, She said in a tone consoling me.
I was quiet, dumbfounded and extremely angry.Another day, there was another old lady in neighbor, she just grabbed my hand one day and insistingly said,” I wanted to say something to you. You are like my daughter.”
Yes, aunty, I answered with a whole heart.
“Beta, you are young, not working now. You must go for a son. After all the sisters would need a brother to tie their rakhis.” She gave me her golden advice.I lost it then. I told that aunty specifically that we wanted daughters only and it’s a celebration and not a consolation.”
And Rakhi. As a mother, I took a decision when they turned four. I feel so good to share that every year onwards, my daughters tie Rakhi to each other with complete rituals defying the need of a gender to follow a tradition of love.
I am happy to break this stereotype, this pattern defined by the patriarchal society that only a boy, the brother is meant to be tied Rakhi. Now a sister will become the strength of another. And it feels so empowering.
Rakhi is a festival of sibling love beyond gender. We can build a culture afresh beginning at home. Mihikaa and Maansi have been celebrating Rakhi from many years with love. Even two brothers could do the same. It all begins from home.
Let the system get stunned.
I chose to be with my daughters and this decision is not for them but for my own happiness. I love staying at home. I could join office if I chose to. Occupation or location can’t lessen any mom’s reputation in the society. I chose to break a stereotype and define the culture of my home. And mom always knows the best.
So my dear Gurgaon mom, next time you get consoled and get that “Slice of Salah”, do share your experience. I am all ears.