Yesterday night, I got a message from my neighbor’s daughter. She is a young and smart woman in her mid-20s working in the hospitality industry. She informed that her marriage is being arranged soon. But her mother-in-law wants her to quit the hospitality job after marriage as it requires late night work shifts. Her ‘urbane’ and ‘modern’ mother in law suggested that she could take up a teaching job or some daytime job of her interest. But these so-called progressive mothers in-laws who are all for their daughter’s career conveniently forget that there is something called ‘necessary qualification’ and ‘interest area.’ The women just can’t randomly shift professions according to the tastes and liking of their mother in laws.
Her would-be husband has no opinion on this matter. In the Indian society, sons usually don’t have an opinion of their own. They are like caged parrots in their mother’s garden.
Even if the son is not staying with his mother after marriage, the tentacles of possessiveness will go across cities and countries. Well, this is a topic for separate discussion and will write about it some other time.
She had to choose between a job she loved and enjoyed and a professional path which she wasn’t very sure about.
We all have heard and seen similar instances. Our mothers and aunts have all gone through this. Our cousins, friends, and colleagues go through this every day.
Women of all ages and sections of the society face this dilemma. When the husband decides to relocate to a new city, state or across the country for work, its the wife who has to struggle the most during the transition. The husband may get a better job, but for the wife, the future is very uncertain. If she is working, then beginning a career in midlife and quitting the old comfortable job is probably not easy. Relocating to an area with insufficient opportunities in her area of interest or qualification is like closing the door to her dreams.
But she is expected to sacrifice everything because she is that holy cow ready to be slaughtered all the time.
Even the most successful career woman would display some amount of guilt about not spending enough time with husband or children. Your husband is not a baby; you don’t have to babysit him all the time.
Moreover, today having children is a question of choice, not a duty or obligation. Motherhood is a job. If you are not ready for it, don’t go for it. Having children will not make you feel less complete. If you turn out to be a bad parent, it will make you feel more horrible and will lead you into another guilt trap.
Years ago, having children after marriage was a natural corollary. But now, you can decide and choose.
I know of women, who are asked not to work outside after marriage because their husbands are wealthy enough to support their lifestyles. Is job only about money and paycheck? What about talent, ability, and aspirations?
And I also know, of women who work to help the family needs.
And there are some women, who feel too ashamed to ask their husband for anything.
They argue that when both men and women should jointly share the burden of the everyday necessities in the households, why shouldn’t they share the responsibility of finances.
Why should one be exclusively responsible for something?
I am not trying to devalue the role of the housewife/ homemaker and glorifying the career women. I have nothing in favor of or against any role women chooses. But it’s essential that she chooses.
Women should choose what they want to do. It doesn’t matter if she decides to work within the house or outside the home or both. It’s crucial that she chooses and she is allowed to choose freely without any guilt and pressure.