This has to be one of the most interesting and debated topics of all times. Should I stay at home or go to work after the arrival of baby? Women face many challenges in both the scenarios and are often caught in the dilemma of what to do post delivery. As all mothers know, it is not an easy decision to take.
Barring a few exceptions, the concept of working moms and working women was not very prevalent in the early ages. But as many women came out of the confines of their homes during the struggle for India’s freedom, they also started to look at opportunities to work.
In our country, before independence few women defied norms to join the workforce but most led a routine and domesticated life confined to their respective houses with minimal interaction with the outside world. But this entire scenario has witnessed a sea change in the last few decades with almost every sector now being represented by women. Moreover, with industrialisation and globalisation, India saw a drastic change in the workplace dynamics. Not only did it create employment and job opportunities, but it also helped in changing the mindset of the people. It had been a new ray of hope for women who wanted to showcase their skills and expertise, seeking financial independence in the process.
Lack of a support system
Though there has been a lot of change when it comes to working women, there are still some impediments when mothers want to go back to work, after giving birth to baby. A woman’s career inevitably takes a back seat the moment she steps into motherhood. This is not because the woman is less interested in pursuing her career but she lacks a support system that would allow her to go to work without worrying about her child and looking after the needs of the family. These include a dearth child care facilities and day care centres closer to her workplace, a scenario where she may not get enough help from the family, lack of reliable babysitters and so on.
Motherhood is a blessing but being a working mother has to be one of the toughest jobs -- due to many constraints, women prefer to be stay-at-home moms.
There are pros and cons in both scenarios and mothers should follow whatever is best for them, based on their specific situation.
For Stay- at-Home Moms
Pro -- Adequate time with your little one
One of the best things about being a stay-at-home mom is that you can devote your time entirely to your little one. Watch them grow, take care and comfort them. You have complete control of the household. Secondly, there is no unnecessary stress of meeting deadlines or attending late meetings which are quite prevalent in case of working women. The life of a stay-at-home mom is pretty much disciplined and routine. You can spend quality time with your near and dear ones.
Con -- Monotonous without the work camaraderie
The same regimented and monotonous life can become quite boring. Doing the same household chores every day and following the same lifestyle, missing the camaraderie with co-workers can get quite depressing at times.
Con -- Financial insecurity
The biggest disadvantage of staying at home is that you have to be With insecurities like financial independence, lack of self-confidence and social life, you start feeling trapped and constricted. Moreover, the wider your unemployment gap grows the rustier your skills and knowledge becomes.
For Working Moms
Pro -- Financial freedom
There are many positives to being a working mom, financial independence being one of them. This financial independence gives her the confidence to make important decisions for her family and allows her to enjoy a comfortable life. She does not have to be dependent on anyone for material needs for her and her children
Cons -- Stressful at both work and home
Many working mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children. This leads to women stretching themselves a little too much while maintaining a work-life balance. Though she might not face the other insecurities like financial independence, lack of self-confidence and so on, doing full-time work and then looking after the family can be very stressful and daunting. High level of stress both at work front and home can have an adverse effect on her health.
There are ways you could use your free-time by taking up work-from-home opportunities. But you have to strike a smart balance, to avoid a burn-out
Whether it is stay-at-home mom or working mom both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages hence a smarter and feasible option can be jobs that allow you to work from home. This is less daunting as compared to a regular office job and moreover, you can dedicate your time to take care of your child. If you decide to be a working mother, make sure you have a good support system in place, to avoid getting stressed. In both scenarios, allow yourself to enjoy once in a while and allocate some ‘me time’ to relax on your own.
The author is a mother, a communication consultant and blogger at The Champa Tree. Her blog is about motherhood, parenting, baby and child care and fun art and craft activities.