Dearly beloved daughter,
On the eve of your wedding, if there’s one learning that I would want you to carry from me, it is this: Even when you become wife and mother, you mustn’t forget how imperative professional employment is for your personal growth and satisfaction.
You’re surprised that I am prescribing to you the option that I myself didn’t take. However, having been a working professional who gave up her job to bring up her wonderful children, I am in the position to counsel you to balance your work-life responsibilities, juggle family, kids, work and society as best you can. There’s no reason why you can’t have it all.
Being a stay-at-home mom and being available for you and your brother has been beautifully fulfilling, but has it been enough for me? When I was expecting you, I resigned from my job to take care of you and a couple of years later, your brother came along, so, that was that. I made peace with my homely life and dedicated myself to making our home warm and secure for the family, but many times, I wish I’d done more with my life. It is this regret that I never want you to feel.
Being a housewife was great (mostly) but sometimes I’d feel trapped in my own spotless house. I couldn’t get out for a drink with the girls at work because there was no ‘work’ and, therefore, no ‘girls’. Sometimes I’d want to hang out with my friends so bad, but they were mostly too busy. The conversation of people available for an occasional cup of coffee was limited to maid-talk or potty-training schedules. I’d feel left out at parties and get togethers because I couldn’t talk ‘shop’. I felt intellectually under-stimulated.
I consciously fought against brooding over the irony that with a Masters’ degree from Harvard, I had chosen to be a housewife. We didn’t lack for money (your father was earning enough) but it wasn’t ‘my’ money. It was ‘ours’ and I felt that since I wasn’t earning it, I had no right to splurge it. I never felt that way when I worked.
Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. You might think that you have plenty of time to pursue your interests, but I could not even manage a walk in the morning because I had to get you kids ready, feed you or take you for your various classes and appointments. I can tell you, being a homemaker is tough. Weekends have no meaning. It’s a 24X7 job. I gained weight and since there was no need to dress up for work, I became careless about my appearance.
So, my darling bright and beautiful girl, aim for a life that engages every part of your being. Use technology for effective housework solutions; multi-task efficiently and delegate household and kids’-related chores to your husband. Don’t shortchange yourself by cheating yourself of the money, confidence and self-esteem you have the capability to earn.
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