It makes me feel just awesome to tell all of you that Mother Digest now, has its physical roof and space, in addition to its virtual presence on Facebook and www.motherdigest.com. It shares co-working space @ 91springboard Business Hub Pvt Ltd, Kavuri Hills, Hyderabad. So, rush to check out the facility @ www.91springboard.com
It all has been possible due to your love, warmth, and unshaken trust in ‘SHARING is CARING’ value of this family.
Let me tell you, till date, I have not spent a single penny in creating and running this platform from last 3+years, since January’2013, except very little on domain buying and maintenance. It has been born and raised with our energy, love, and conviction to empower urban mothers with right and timely information, to work towards a value added parenting.
But now to take it forward, it asks for lot of resources, in many forms, for which I am trying to design a business model, which churns out quality content ‘Always Free’ for its members and the needy, but also can monetize to sustain the efforts of the team. So, I am on a look out for co-founder and team, who is passionate about helping/sharing/caring about oneself and others. Any and every idea is welcome to be brainstormed, without any rule/ geographical boundary.
Please feel free to write to me, in case you are interested to come on board or share your ideas to take this family to next level.
I feel no job is small or big, it’s the passion and intent drives it.
So, Mother Digest has a long way to go.
Let’s ensure to make the journey worthy, destinations will take care of themselves !
And lastly, a bear hug to this growing family of ‘1300’ members!
Love & Regards
Founder- Mother Digest
Quite often, after the emotionally high phase of congratulatory messages for the birth of your child, females (mothers) are hit indecently (yes, you read it right, indecently) with question-cum-judgemental statements like:
– When are you getting back to Work?
– Are you at all planning to get back to work?
– It will be really nice, if you strike a balance between your work and family!
– Financial independence will be something, you will miss, but that’s okay.
– You will, now have a lot of time to pamper yourself.
– Oh! Its so easy to be a mother these days! Diapers and day cares have taken care of everything
– Oh wow! You don’t have to stress yourself with any responsibility. You just have to take care of child and yourself.
– How blessed you are, you don’t have to worry about credit cards etc
– Lovely yaar! Now, you will have your ‘ME’ time.
Side 1: Salaried Mother
Few people are genuinely concerned and few are ready to pass a judgment, the moment you reply them back with your decision. If you say, you are going to get back to work- instantly many think-
– How ruthless, she is? She will leave her infant and shed off her all responsibilities on others.
– How mean she is, she is using her parents or in-laws as caretakers.
– She is just after money and her personal materialistic goals, family ain’t her priority.
– How awful, she wants to give a miss to her child milestones.
– She prefers her foreign holiday over her family.
Side 2: Salary-less Mother
And if she says, she will leave her salaried work, again few will definitely appreciate and few again wonder like-
– How backward/ stupid she is? In a moment, she is ready to put all her education and experience in a corner.
– How insensitive of her to let her husband shoulder all the responsibilities alone?
– How lazy ass she is, she has just found another reason to rest her butts.
– Why does she need maids now? She is at home all the day.
Why to Take Sides
In all this, madness created by volley of judgements thrown directly or indirectly at newly turned parents, specifically at the mother, many succumb to societal pressures. Either of the decision one takes, it gives way to immense physical, mental or social stress in many newly turned parents’ lives. I will be partial if I say only because of this societal pressure such decisions are taken. There are tons of factors, which makes the swing go heavy on either of the side, while taking this crucial decision.
Very few are able to chaff out a clear priority list and take a decision.
Many times I wonder, when I was taking this crucial decision of not getting back to work, was it really as per my own priorities or indirectly was imposed by someone or many unknown. Most of the times, I feel and get relaxed – primarily it was my own decision. But many a times, I am hit upon by my salary-less status , screwed up daily schedule or when have nothing to motivate me or to look forward each morning, I assess the secondary factors minutely.
In an attempt to find out who that unknown face(s) is/are? And then on deep introspection, many faces appear in my mind who are hardly (not always) of any relevance to me at all. Still, I kept them in my this decision-influencer list knowingly or unknowingly.
Blame Game Dust Settles
And after so much time, staying away from salaried work and being myself most of the time, I realised – to some it looks as a blame game- someone said so or implied so. But in reality, we, female salaried/salary-less workforce (not every mother thinks alike. But as per my understanding, I am assuming so) look for validation of themselves, their decisions and their actions.
Reason for this feeling of validation crops up from a simple fact that we are educated, skilled, experienced, and exposed. While taking (many do not even take themselves) up this crucial decision of having a family or leaving/joining back the work, many are already are under so much similar pressures that combination of current and upcoming pressures creates a mystery and confusion similar to the mystery of Bermuda Triangle.
My three piece conclusion from my own sheer experience-
– Nothing is perfect. This notion takes time to sink in. I strongly feel words like ‘ideal, balance and perfect’ should be thrown out of dictionary. And everyone comes to this conclusion in their own good way. – Try to be more aware and sensitive, before being judgemental especially about others, you will never know when you can take flight/landing in such confusion. – Everyone’s opinion is not worth considering. No one can be correct all the times. So, try to be a better filter as per current situation. P.S. Writing is an amazing offloading exercise for me these days. I also prefer verbal ‘gyaan’ for instant gratification.
If I ask you, how a child is conceived? Your answer would be automatically – due to the union of a male and a female, whom we refer as husband and wife. Okay, now, how a child is born? You will say, with the help and under the supervision of doctors, and nurses. And lastly, if I ask you – how a child is raised. You will pause and will look for a politically correct answer. And most probably one may answer – with the joint effort of mother, father, extended family, and helpers.
But, you know, its the mother who wears many many hats, without any acknowledgement.
How? Lets assess each one’s role–
Father-in 90% of the cases, role of father is limited to being a provider of financial resources. And that too these days is changing, with the increasing numbers of working mothers.
Extended Family– A big ‘Yes’ !t They do play a very crucial role. Their mere presence as supervisors (apart from ushering their love and being a beautiful company to children) to helpers in the house, is noteworthy. Especially, mother can make a comeback to her work comparatively easily, if either of the grandparents or aunts or uncles stay together or stay nearby.
Helpers/ Maids – Their role is also very important as they ease down the household work load of the mothers considerably. But their trust worthiness, quality of work, and especially handling of kids is definitely dependent on person to person. Family can not afford to let their guards off with them around or should not let them go unsupervised.
Day Cares– Their advent has been a boom to families, especially mothers. They can leave their child in safe, and professionally trained hands for quite a part of the day, while keeping a virtual eye on their kids activities- thanks to technology. In metro cities, especially in India, day cares definitely will be the prime reason for many urban middle class mothers to get back to work, if any survey being done diligently.
Work Environment– Even if she manages to get back to work, she is expected to compete with male counterparts, who have been working uninterrupted all the while. And if she demands flexibility, either she has to accept lower roles or lesser pay packet. She is made to feel that organization has done big favor by granting her paid maternity break (3 Months in case of private organizations and 6 months upto 2 years of paid child care leave) and allowing her to continue her work.
Axe Actually Falls On The Mother
All the while, we kept on discussing about easing down the responsibility share of mothers, which in a way sums beautifully, yet realistically that its the ultimate responsibility of the mothers to raise kids, with lots of unacknowledged ‘compromises’ (Yes, you read it right compromises, not adjustments) to her being on many fronts. Role of every supporting link has to be either paid or handled ‘with’ diligence and due acknowledgement. But a female has to wear so many hats ‘without’ due acknowledgment of her interest, priorities and acquired skills (either through education or work experience).
In most of the case, from an in-charge of her own life, she all of a sudden becomes dependent on supporting links. Father’s career generally takes an uninterrupted flight, especially during this period. And people give credit to child’s luck and his sincerity and hard work.
Very few acknowledge, female of the house, now a mother takes a back seat to ensure his smooth movement from letting him travel anywhere, anytime and for any duration, without worrying about child’s changing needs with its growing age.
A female undergoes physical, social, mental sea change with motherhood. But very little respect, attention, acknowledgment and attention she gets in return, to play her new multiple roles. She anyways works, difference is that she does not get paid. And biggest irony is, when she brings a pay packet, then only she is considered as a ‘Working Mother’.
P.S.I was asked to get back to work ‘immediately’ after my maternity break by my organization. And with special mention of the fact that I have to travel across the cities a lot, in addition to the KRA’s I had as an employee, before going on maternity break. And during my whole term of pregnancy, my then boss (she herself, was a mother of 10 yr old child) not just made me feel, but openly harassed me for asking for flexibility in working hours as I had a very complicated pregnancy.
Though senior management was quite considerate for my situation.
Ever since, I got married 6 years back, I always exercised my freedom to work or not work. I took almost 6-7 months of break when I got married. This freedom to take/make my decisions was definitely acknowledged by me happily in contrast to the shock factor it created in my fellow colleagues mind. Many were getting married around same time, but they had so many said n unsaid apprehensions of not getting job again. Therefore, they just took 10 – 15 days break. And this thing shocked me- how can one treat such once in lifetime event so casually. Anyway, it was purely my perspective.
Deciding to start the family after three years was also a consensus between me n my husband. We both had differnt reasons for taking this decision, my husband wanted to soak in the married life and I wanted to do the same along with the using my acquired skills appropriately.
Like any other Indian middle class set up, we too had immense pressure to start our family.Thankfully, again I was able to breathe as per my choice.
Break II- Phase
Then came my pregnancy phase, and again that time, quite a few colleagues were expecting. And then again I decided to continue working throughout the term as I wanted to share huge upcoming expenses with my husband. I did face mental stress all through at my workplace. My working environment really suffocated me to breathe. somehow, I sailed through with help from many other quarters. And I had decided somewhere, that I will take a long break after my child is born, because I absolutely loved the idea of being a mother and wanted to enjoy his milestones. Somehow, me and my husband without actually talking about this issue, we both happily agreed that I will take a break. Though again both of us had different reasons, for me not going back to work.
And, then I valued my freedom to make decisions, like never before. Every other day, innumerable articles on internet, blogs, social and family discussions about working vs stay-at-home mother across different platforms, really made me ponder about the freedom to make my own decisions.
Then, came many phases and situations during my initial period of motherhood, wherein I too felt very low, unacknowledged, taken for granted and worthless. Not just because some one was not validating my efforts. But more because I was feeling that my acquired skills, knowledge and energy levels over a period of time may not fade, but I may lose confidence to use them optimally. I felt the urgent need to at least air them once in a while, if not completely in a go.
The options I found after some research, were not really encouraging or satisfying as per my skills, and were not worth the efforts they demanded. Working from home really did not excite me for long periods. I felt the need to meet people, contribute meaningfully somewhere, and value in eyes of people for my contribution. And also a sense to be financially independent.
When I looked around, corporates or organizations value and pay on the basis of demonstrated abilities rather than in-hand skills. Flexibility, training for such employees and value addition to abridge need-skills-gap are just non-existent. Resultingly, due to limited choices available in the market, scores of females after their break have to opt and compete on terms and conditions which have been designed for males. To me, it looked like a situation, in which fish, horse, monkey, elephant and squirrel are asked to stand in a line and have to run a race. So, whoever manages to reach the finishing line is taken into account.
No one takes into account their individual strengths and medium for them to excel.
And that creates a challenge and need for females to wear many hats, without compromising on any front. In this whole chaos of balancing her house, family, work place responsibilities and effort to air their skills from time to time, many invisible problems crop up initially, which may take an unpleasant (not necessarily) shape. And acknowledgment of these invisible problems like health issues, mental stress, suffocating environment at home and with family, ‘generally’ demands sacrifice from female. Many are able to cope with such challenges and many just give up.
The Action Stroke
Reasons for giving up for many, can be many- but primarily sensitivity of the environment/ecosystem comprising of family members kind of work place and role she is playing there, affects her grit and determination to take up work or leave her work. P.S. – I am on a self-exploration journey, which I feel is lifelong.
The Mother is the baby’s first school. And this very school lays down the physical, mental, social, and environmental pillars of his/her growth.
So, I will be sharing my experiences, my mistakes, my learnings, my happy moments, my sad moments, practically everything , which I went through and will go through as a mother.
I firmly believe that each mother is unique, each child is unique and so the experiences too are unique. But alot of things/situations/phases are not so different- their handling brings out uniqueness and variety for many to benefit.
And I also strongly believe ‘Sharing is Caring’.
This space will be a peace corner for mothers, wherein they can read, discuss, argue and share the stuff they feel like reading and sharing.
One question must be popping up in your mind, – “Oh, Why another parenting/mother blog/forum?”
So, I would say, the more the merrier! And being a mother will never go out fashion!