Monday, December 6, 2010

The age old debate...

...has been brough to focus again by this post. And I agree with all of Ro's observations - the smugness, the superiority, the feigned pity at the plight of the poor hapless kids who have the misfortune of being born to these power-crazy, money-crazy women. But, having been quite equally present on both sides of the fence, I have seen the other side of it too....the working women who give subtle pitying looks, the condescension, the raised eyebrows and the inevitable question 'Oh, but what do you do at home all day?'.

And it's not only the women. It's the society on the whole. The husbands, the other men in the family, men who think women who work in the world outside know what they are talking about and the ones at home have it easy....The truth is, the world may love pulling down the 'working moms' (I hate all tags but this one definitely takes the cake!) but secretly many, many people envy them and are threatened by them and, most importantly, respect them. For the SAHM on the other hand, to be considered as a person with half a brain is entirely another challenge in itself. I work from home full-time and am seen around the house feeding the kids, playing with them and so on. And then someone comes along and says, 'hey cute kids...so you are a SAHM?'. And I say, 'well, I work from home and I work with #%$%^'. And I visibly see the new light entering their eyes. I have seen it happen so many times, when, in fact, it should'nt matter at all, should it?

I wonder why women on both sides of the fence have it so tough. If this feels wrong and that feels wrong as well, what is right? I think there are no right answers and each one just follows his or her own compulsions, taking into consideration family, money and other factors. But I also wonder if all the judging and bitterness comes from people who are not entirely secure with the choices they have made themselves and just dont have the guts to admit it or do anything about it. The ones who are happy and confident about their place in the shade will surely understand other people's needs and compulsions and, if not supportive, will at least be peacably accepting about it.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to this. Is there a single working woman who, deep down, has not ONCE felt, 'I wish I could have an easier life!' when she has to drag herself to work leaving behind a sick child, or miss a recital or play in school or has to steel herself against those soft eyes and small hands tugging at her hand and heart saying, 'mamma, dont go!'? Is there ONE exhausted SAHM who has never wistfully looked at her friends and colleagues from an earlier life whose lives suddenly look super glamorous now and thought for one fleeting second, 'what if?'? With so many unspoken desires and pressing needs, should'nt we be sympathetic with each other and go the extra mile to understand and support? Will it happen? What do you think?

11 comments:

Sumana said...

Hey BM,
It takes one to be on both sides of the fence to understand this. I have also gone thru both phases of this and i thank god for each day it is. But really i know i am missing things somewhere. My MIL being home herself asks such questions and it really puts off. The same old, what do you do all day? to a friend who was visiting from US. But then it is tough to change people's attitudes.

BangaloreMom said...

Hi Sumana

Exactly my point. You are always conflicted about what you might be missing in the 'other' world....and people's attitudes take forever to change, dont they? :)

Aparna said...

AAH...the voice of reason....seldom heard :)) Totally agree with you. I've been on both sides of the fence and would find it hard to say which side was easier and better to be on! Wrote a similar post just a few days ago: http://advaithandyukta.blogspot.com/2010/12/why-full-time-motherhood-is.html

Poornima said...

Hi BM,

I do not have kids, but i recently quit my job to move to Bangalore along with my husband. Ever since, I have been given a 'once-over' each time I talk to people. Everyone thinks that I am bored to death, and most people do not understand the concept of freelance writing. I am taking a much deserved break after 5 years of working really really hard. Come to think of it, its not even a break - it is just that I am working from home. Most people make statements that I have sacrificed my career for my husband. Well! Sorry for ranting it out on your blog!

P.N. Subramanian said...

Hey BM, Now it is more than year that I became a full time house husband. Its really a very hard job. I could imagine the plight of a working women. A beautiful post indeed!

BangaloreMom said...

Aparna: Luuuurved your piece....written much more engagingly than mine, you make very valid arguments!

Poornima: Welcome...and dont worry about the ranting. Its very difficult to make people understand unconventional choices but hey, as long as you are happy, who cares?

Mama: hee hee...how is mami doing now?

Paahee said...

Hi BangaloreMom,I am on this side of the fence who is a busybody at home and needed all the time by family members and couriers, postmen and different people at the door at different times of the day, besides cooking, cleaning and managing the house. I also sit on the net during periods of rest and never have time to spare or feel bored.

At first glance people presume I'm a working woman and treat me with respect, but once they know I am a housewife, all of a sudden, with a thud I fall in their eyes.

I know of women who have climbed the corporate ladder and reached heights of success, who think of the housewife as an inconsequential piece of furniture with no intellect or mind of her own.

But the irony I found was, despite all this success they are the ones cribbing about having to pay EMI for the few cars and houses they possess and having to work till the age of 80 to pay off the debts. If this is what success is all about, I'd rather be unsuccessful but at peace with no care about several debts to clear. I don't know who should be sympathizing with who!

crabbymommy said...

Gosh. I now know what you mean (reference to the comment you left on my blog about COMPLETELY understanding my point!).

You say it so well, so articulately. And I know EXACTLY what you mean. You know what side of the fence I am on. I am going to share this one post I wrote, not sure if you've read ti, but it's related and I think you'll enjoy it:

http://mommyrage.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/down-the-leafy-path/

So much for now. Have to run, the twin seem to have found a bone of contention. Again. Only the 20th time this day!!

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Who says India lives in villages ? said...

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Akshayakalpa

SAGARIKA BHATTACHARYA said...

Hi BM,

Looking forward to getting in touch with you for an upcoming event on Women's Day.

Please let me know your coordinates.

Alternately, you can get in touch with me on sagarika@blr.madisonindia.com. 09740194631