Women’s struggle between career and family is a problem on a global scale, in fact ‘compromising career for family’ has been searched over 2 million times on the internet. There is an incredible shortage of women in the workforce and it all comes down to the fact that women have to give up their professional ambitions because of family pressures and looking after the kids.
It’s a constant taunt women have to hear, every time they bring up the idea of getting back to work after marriage: women and career don’t go hand-in hand, it’s the responsibility of a wife to look after the house and not meddle in business affairs.
Why Women Have To Choose Between Career And Family
Have you ever wondered why women can’t have it all? Why it is they who have to choose between a career or family? It’s the societal norms we grow up with and reinforce in our children — our grandmothers did it to our mothers, and now our mothers are doing it to us.
There’s only one way to fix this issue: break this chain. Women’s struggle between career and family needs to disintegrate, eventually allowing every woman to have the satisfaction of knowing she has a choice like every human deserves. Whether she decides to stay home, strike a work-life balance, or totally delegate household duties to an external source, the choice must be hers completely.
My background was progressive
My mother is a gynaecologist and my father a computer science graduate who went on to do exceptionally well in his career. My sister and I were brought up to believe that one should always have a good education and career to fall back on, whatever course life takes.
So, equipped with my degree in BA English Honors from a reputed university in the country and an MBA as an add-on, I joined the workforce. I had stars in my eyes about carving a niche for myself at work and making my parents proud. But Cupid struck and at 24 I was married, with no clue of where life was headed.
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My marriage was not without its differences
Thanks to my whirlwind romance, I had no clue about what my husband’s expectations of me were as a wife, daughter-in-law and a future mother. Did he expect me to change my name after marriage? Would we settle in the country or go abroad? What would happen to my career after our kids were born?
No prizes then for guessing that major discord was waiting to happen in our marriage. Trivial issues gradually started leading to differences in interest and attitudes. And then my daughter was born. My parents were working in Dubai and my in-laws weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping me bring my daughter up.
The double standards were almost laughable
All that my upbringing taught me about education and a career were brushed aside and I quit my job. I succumbed to my in-law’s pressures and assumed the role of a full-time homemaker. The entire family cheered my sacrifice at the altar of marital happiness, because it’s considered noble for the woman of the house put aside her dreams for her child, house and husband.
The irony, however, is that I am being pushed by the same family into raising my now 8-year-old daughter to study hard so that she has a stable future to look forward to. It certainly has me wondering if all the hard work and education is worth it, if she has to eventually prioritize her in-laws, husband, family and child when she gets married.
A woman’s success is only measured in the house
In our society, a professionally successful woman isn’t considered a success if her husband hasn’t given her a certificate of appreciation, if her house is not spick and span, if her kids are not top performers and if her in-laws are not happy with her. Then wouldn’t it be better if I train my daughter in the art of housekeeping?
Shouldn’t I let her enjoy her childhood rather than have academic aspirations for her? As I watched my daughter grow older, I witnessed everyone around her support her dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer in the future, all the while wondering, why did I have to choose between being a stay-at-home mom vs a career woman.
After having given up my true identity in my 11 years of marriage, I now wonder if I was right in wasting my time, energy and mind in supporting my husband’s professional career. I managed to get back to flexi-time work after my daughter turned 2, to revive my dreams.
But it’s still a job where I have to juggle work, home and my daughter in equal measure. I was a school topper, extremely good in extracurricular activities and even if I had made half the effort in resurrecting myself and living my dreams unconditionally, I believe I would have outshone my husband.
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Having gone through it personally, I know all about women’s struggle between career and family, and pride myself (if only a little bit) about the fact that I chose to take a stand for myself and get back to work. As modern women, we don’t give this issue the attention that it needs, so unless we speak about it a lot more and stand for what we believe, we’re going to be stuck in this endless loop of misery and dissatisfaction. And these will be the values we will pass down to our kids.
Women have a list of expectations to fulfil after marriage. They are expected to choose between career and family, and are judged for choosing the former.
They’re both important and require a lot of of your time and attention. But if you are really passionate about both, you can balance your work and home life and excel in both.