Surprisingly, this actually was a topic of a recent Facebook discussion I was part of.
People who follow me on Facebook know that I generally get involved in long debates on Facebook (Swear will cut down on that :P), but of all debates, this one stands out.
So let me set the context: A woman “blogger” who left her career to take care of her kids posted the following video of apparently a day care owner ( which later turned out to be the mother herself) mistreating a child, and made a statement that all women who leave their kids in day care should be ashamed of themselves and I pity such women.
and this was the start of a long drawn debate where I debated mainly on 2 points
1. There are enough support systems in place, just because you chose to sacrifice your career does not mean that others should .No point taking working mothers on a guilt trip
2. This reinforces the stereotype that raising the kid is only a women’s job primarily .
Nevertheless this debate brings forward some interesting points to ponder
Do working mothers really have a negative impact on child’s upbringing? :
Now the statement that is often quoted by supporters of this idea is that having a working mother negatively impacts the upbringing of a child as supposedly the child feels unloved etc etc etc, while the detractors say that this is an age old myth and on the contrary , it helps in overall growth of the child. So how do we solve this? Which belief system do we go with?
Well we can turn to research. Enough number of research on this area has conclusively proven that having a working mother does not harm the child’s development in any way . Not only that, some studies have even suggested that children who have been in out of home care homes(Creche) are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities .
Yes, during the initial months of a baby , a mother’s presence is very much required but the question is till when?Should that imply that until the child grows up to be 6-7 years old , the woman should sacrifice her career?
In my debate with the woman , she mentioned she is old school and wants to listen to her kids problems in school etc etc ,so I assume her point was that till the kid is about 7-8 maybe ,women should Stay at Home, or perhaps forever till the kid is married .
Am I making a case for working moms? No, I am saying it is your own choice, your choice does not make you morally superior to women who choose otherwise.
How does this mentality affect women?
Why was I against this status? Do I hate kids :P?
Well here it is how it affects women
- It makes women feel guilty for working, even if they are able to take care of their children
- Unless required financially , it basically strengthens the age old myth that women should stay home
- It absolves the father of almost any role in the upbringing of the child
- It assumes that women who work somehow do not know what is going on in the lives of their kids.As if only a stay at home mom is a good mom.
- It is a vicious circle You need to have kids anyways–>You will need to sacrifice your career–> why such long and expensive education –> why higher education–> Why education at all?
- It also affects the daughters to not be Career Oriented.
- It encourages stereotypes in workplace also : Eg: How can we call companies ,which do not want to hire women as they believe that they will not stick around long term.wrong?
- It takes focus away from the real solutions such as :
- Why can’t we encourage more offices to have baby care centers .
- Let men also take advantage of paternity leaves
- Increase paternity leave duration if required
- Encourage more companies to introduce flexi hours
- Better regularisation of creches .Eg: I heard of a few creches with CCTV which are continuous monitored .Parents can see their kids via Live feed from anywhere.You can literally stalk your kids :P.
So what happened to my discussion?
Well for starters, believe it or not : Because I was not agreeing to the point of view of a “Woman” I was labelled as a typical Male Chauvinist by a female friend of her , a comment which she agreed to . When I tried to defend saying this is perhaps misplaced feminism and I could argue that you are not able to take an opinion from a man, I was told That I was a sexist .
So Because I said that We should not use these arguments to discourage women from working, and because I said that working women are as good as stay at home moms and because I said that this is strengthening the stereotype that women are the only ones responsible for child care ..I was a typical Male Chauvinist .
That was not all, it was theorised that perhaps I had a bad childhood because of a working Mom or possibly my Wife/ sister were working and I was trying to satisfy my conscience by fighting for them….
To be fair, a few people expressed their silent support by liking some of my comments and another MAN(I suppose another typical Male Chauvinist ?) came forward and reiterated the point that there is no reason for working women to be ashamed .
Nevertheless, When I raised objections ,I was asked not to comment , my comments were selectively deleted and I was finally blocked so that I could not respond to the discussion where I was being called a typical Male Chauvinist ..What should I say, the lady wanted to have the last word ?
Not sure, should I be sad that a woman is trying to pull other women down or be happy that men actually are coming forward to at-least debate on this and that too from the other side.
Nevertheless , if interested in a women’s perspective read this brilliant article by MARINA ADSHADE.
Stay-at-home moms: Stop pretending you’re better. Signed, working moms
A quote from her article
Parenting for us is not a hobby that we pick up on the weekends to amuse ourselves. Just as you do not stop being a mother during the hours your child is at school, we do not stop being mothers when we are at work. There are no part-time opportunities in parenthood.