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The choice to be..

There is a common phenomenon to put a label/tag to everything one (especially women I think) does. Working or non-working, full-time mother, SAHM, …? full-time mother? This one stumps me; as though one can be a part-time mother. You are either a mother or not. Period. As I said, these tags seem to haunt women more than men. we have to somehow squeeze ourselves into one of the recognized labels. Any ambiguity, and a new tag is coined. For instance, being a mother is not sufficient enough for people, so, viola! a new term- SAHM is coined to emphasize that you also stay at home.

People have certain expectations, strangely not from themselves but from others. Women's liberation fanatics have sadly taken this battle to the other extreme-you HAVE to be working to qualify yourself to be called liberated-else you are the cow slaving for the man. If you do not hold a job, you are probably dull enough or lack the confidence to manage home and work. The concept of choice just escapes the cranium of these nutcases. Liberation for me would mean the freedom of CHOICE that a woman should have in life.

So, what do you do at home? Even if I am just hatching eggs and day-dreaming all day, how should it matter to anyone? After all the pay-packet that I might have earned otherwise will anyway not flow into the other’s house. It is so annoying when an innocuous question such as “so, what do you do?” has to be answered carefully so as to justify your being at home and not working outside of home. The “working” tag is so narrow that it just cannot be extended to the home. For some reasons, the grass is never green on this side.

A is a friend who worked far away from home even before marriage; so in that sense very independently managed herself, got married to the person of her choice, lived apart from her hubby for some years due to career compulsions and then worked into having a co-existing career and marital life. Peers may probably envy her life and wished it were them. The parent-generation is a proud clan.

I have no issues with this. I would have felt the same.

However, consider this scenario: A studies hard to get into engineering, studies and gets placed in a prestigious company. She quits realizing it is not her cup of tea and decides to pursue arts instead. Further, she does not have a regular job but freelances as a hobby. Will anyone say they are proud of her? Will anyone want to trade places? Someone who is not successful in the conventional manner is not a bright person. Someone who probably wants and works towards having a well-kept house, a happy-married life, be a SAHM by choice is a non-ambitious person-a loser who probably lacks the skills to have a career.

Why does a job/career HAVE to be a choice for modern day women? Why can’t she just have a choice to do what she wants and still be respected for that?


  1. i agree fully. somehow, ppl enjoy giving tags and assuming SAHM are dumb women sitting home twiddling their thumbs.Time to ask such dumbos to take a walk..I am a SAHM and proud to be one.

  2. Hi P, I am a SAHM too..thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your views.

  3. Hi Uma,

    Especially loved the statement about being free to make a choice - that's what it's all about isn't it? People around you accepting you and your choices, and not being judgmental about it.

    I've been quite lucky in this regard, worked for 7 years, then did some working from home, and have been a SAHM for a long time now. Everyone around me has been very supportive, and except for the odd person I come across who feels I'm "wasting" my education, have never needed to justify my choice :).

  4. @ Aparna- it is great to have supportive people around you-at least the people who matter in your life. I've been lucky too in this regard..
    thanks for your comments..

  5. hey...great one. needless to say it echoes all that i feel too. keep writing....

  6. I agree with you completely, Uma. I'm not a mom yet and although I'm working now I would like to pursue my other dreams in the years to come. When I tell that to some of my friends they are shocked and start to give me tips on how to manage work n home life. Duh.

  7. Namratha: welcome here and thanks for reading..:-)
    yes, there are people who have no clue where their life is going but have ample advice for others as to how they should be leading theirs!!..Happy to know that you place importance to other dreams of yours as best wishes to you to pursue them..
    keep visiting..:-)

  8. You are right, it does echo the same feelings ! :)

  9. Navina: :-) thanks for reading..

  10. You've put it across so well, Uma! Why does one need to justify to others choices one makes. I also don't quite understand the approval/appreciation from someone when I tell them I am doing/planning such a course of action to put my time to 'good' use! They can keep their 2 cents :)

    1. even choice needs to conform to others' perceived notions. How annoying!

  11. Well said Uma.. Though you have written this 3 years ago the circumstances are still the same. 2 days back I have expressed my views on similar regard. If you would like to read here it is..
    Still going through your old posts.. Your views strikes a chord with mine on several notes. I haven't commented on all though.. Just know that I'm liking it.. :)

    1. Vinitha, hopping over to read your post and it makes me so happy to know that you are spending your valuable time reading and liking my old stuff..thanks a bunch for that :-)

  12. Hi Uma, I have shared your post here, Do take a look and let me know your suggestions to improve the series. :)

  13. I am an SAHM now though I used to have a career.
    I do agree with the valid points you have made,
    Truth is SAHMs don't command that kind of respect reserved for career-women :)


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