There are many misconceptions about mothers who choose to stay at home; what they do all day, how much free time they have and what their ambitions are. We throw light on the facts
By Shashwathi Sandeep
“When in doubt choose the kids. There will be plenty of time later to choose work..." – Anna Marie Quindlen, American author.
“Are you a stay-at-home mom? How lucky are you!” How many times have you heard this from your friends and relatives?
It is a stereotype that is repeated every now and then. Mothers who have chosen to stay at home and look after their children are often taken for granted. A survey done by Pew Research a couple of years ago found that 29 per cent of mothers now stay home with children, a sharp increase from 23 per cent in 1999. The role of the mother, who chooses home over working outside has evolved drastically over the years, the perception of people about stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) has not changed much though and it’s time to break some of the myths surrounding this ‘unpaid’ job. And who better to do that than the SAHMs themselves. So, here goes:
Fact: “Majority of people think we watch serials all day long. All we watch is some cartoon channel, that too while our children are watching in their free time. In between running behind them and keeping them engaged, where do you think we can find the time to even groom ourselves or watch TV?” says Namrata Rohan.
Fact: Priyanka Rajwar says, “Nobody asks you before planning trips, and when friends and relatives come visiting, you are expected to take them around. I have friends who complain that I don’t answer their calls or go out with them. I have a child to take care of and cannot be available all the time. But, most people seem to take stay-at-home moms for granted.”
Fact: Megha Shaktawat Chauhan says, “People ask us what is the point of studying so much if we are not working. But what they fail to understand is that it is a choice we have made, and we do not have to explain ourselves. Moreover, the education comes in handy while teaching our children.”
Fact: Lopa Shah says, “Many people assume that if a mom chooses to stay home, she is lazy. The truth is that children become their priority and they have to stay back for their children or maybe to take care of an elder in the family.”
Fact: “We had to put in a lot of thought to decide whether it is logical for me to stay at home. Considering the cost of hiring a nanny or even putting my child in a day care centre, we felt it was the best solution. Sure, we had to tighten our budget, but it still works out better,” says Sneha Rai.
Fact: “We do have a lot of stress. But, we have learnt to manage it better. So, when people tell me that I have no stress just because I don’t have to deal with office politics or horrible bosses, I tell them that mine is a never-ending job. There is no fixed timing for mothers. Being with a child the whole day and managing her may not be as easy as it seems,” says Bhavana Naik.
Fact: “What most people don’t consider is that there are these little humans called ‘children’ who have their own agenda – to make the house as messy as possible. I don’t really blame them; that is their job. So, a clean home, is easier said than done,” says Revathi Sangani.
Fact: “All we need from our husbands is emotional support. And after all, it is the responsibility of both the parents and not just one. So, he too must pitch in. It’s not one being dependent on another but both working together,” says Hema Chandrashekar.
Fact: “I take time out and do things that I love to do. I go watch a movie, go for short walks, read books – basically, I make sure I get a little ‘me time’ occasionally. Being a mother is a wonderful thing, but I don’t need to lose my individuality to give my best as a mother,” explains Roopa Madhusudhan.
Fact: “Being a stay-at-home mother is a choice I have made for various reasons. That does not mean I love doing the chores at home every day. It is a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled. I also spend time doing the things I love to do,” says Akshata Deepak.
All said and done, being a mom is not an easy task. As Angela Kinsey, the American actress says, “I think it's a tough road if you're a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, if you have a partner, if you don't. It's the best job in the world, and the toughest job in the world all at the same time.”
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