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Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Meaningful Life- A letter from Stay at home mum(SAHM) to A working mum(WM).



Hello WM,

The day you stepped out of the house to work, that day my troubles doubled.

I am an educated uptown Indian mom living in the United States. I make a choice of staying at home and taking care of the family. You make a choice of continuing to work. Your stepping out has made people question why am I stay inside? Is that fair? You are adding to the family income has made people question my value and worth? Is that fair? Your laptop bag and handbag has made people wonder why I don't have one? Your 8-5 work schedule has made people question what is it that I do sitting at home? Your busy weekday and weekends have made people believe that I am a lazy person. Is that fair?And sometimes it's not the people. It’s your very own family and your very own child...each asking the same thing in a ‘family manner.' Isn't it unfair? I have a new found guilt of not being career oriented, financially independent and adding to the household income. Just because you chose to step out.

Dear WM-Apologies for that outrage. I am troubled. And I know that you are troubled too. You too have a story which I am aware of. You stepped out for a reason, go to work and manage home, shuttle like a cork between your personal and professional life, balancing to the point of being pushed to exhaustion and burn out. You have your guilt trips...I am aware. You are being torn...I know that. In that handbag of yours, there is a pediatric appointment note along with your daily list of 'to do's' and a long list of grocery while you are returning from work. You carry ‘home’ in your handbag and ‘work’ when you are busy cooking and putting the kids to sleep and putting dirty laundry for a wash. So unfair.

Will write more. My cooker is whistling, and I need to rush. Have to get kids from school.

See you soon.
SAHM


They both made a choice stemming out of personal preferences, and both want to be respected and accepted for those choices without the burden of guilt and the need to be answerable to everyone. But the respect shall never come unless THEY START RESPECTING THEIR CHOICES AND ACCEPTING THEM.

We all know that the honest answers are the ones that you give to yourself. This is about ‘Stay at Home Mom’s’ and their dilemma when people ask them “Don’t you work?”.
What do they answer?

·       Does that answer evoke doubt on themselves and their choice?
·       Can they help themselves here?
·       How do we do that?
·       Can they detach from the society’s question as if it doesn’t exist?
·       Can they be at ease when such a question is hurled at them?
·       How do they find peace?

Is there a way out? NO …because there is only a way in-The inward journey.


·      Whatever be the choice, get the family involved first. Whatever be the choice, the family needs to participate in it.It can’t be, and it shouldn’t be your decision. Your husband, your children, are important stakeholders who matter to you. A supportive and trusting family relationships is the biggest source of strength in any situation. This is no exception.

·  Your needs wants and desires- Know them and write it down for yourself and the family. Where you can adjust and where it would be difficult. Many times want or desire can evoke strong feelings of inadequacy. It’s like this- “Had I been working; we would have more money to afford this fancy dress.” Yes, it goes down to that detail in real life. Once caught in this web, it only gets messy as more thoughts associate making one's self-esteem hit rock bottom.

· Make well-informed decisions- The ones which you won't regret later that “Oh, had I known this, I wouldn't have taken this step.” For example- Many times I have been a witness to H4 visa spouses lamenting how they were not very sure of the fact that they cannot work or were irrationally optimistic that they would find a sponsor. Your decision should be based on your circumstances, and your family set up, your family financial requirements and your personal ambitions. No assumptions or hunches, please.

· Write it down- Trust, doing so is going to be very helpful in the long run. So that you know the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a decision and can always refer when in doubt-self created or society generated. You can go back and read, and you would know the answers well. Mind you, everybody’s journey is different. And you have the right to your journey and make choices which suit you and your family.

·  Keep yourself productively employed- Irrespective of income. Many at times it happens that SAHM’s tend to talk in a manner as if they don’t have anything to do. They say to each other- “C'mon, you can come for that ladies brunch out. What will you do at home all day?” This might be said in a casual passing way, but it has the potential to become a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY. The statement is conveying the ample time available to SAHM’s, the nonexistence of anything important that needs attention and the fact that ‘household work’ is not a big deal.
   If you are the one who feels like this, try to keep such conversation at bay and keep yourself productively engaged. Each one has her unique quality. Locate that for yourself and exploit it to your advantage. Enroll in a course. Develop a hobby. Immerse yourself in it. Develop a skill, get an online degree if that’s the obstacle in you becoming a WM. Adding will only help. You never know that by just baking more and more cakes, you would land up becoming a professional baker. Many people bake in the world but no one like you. Learn to write down your experiences. It's always therapeutic.  If you intend to work in future, prepare yourself by adding necessary technical skills. If you don’t plan to work even then, invest your time wisely in learning something that will help in your housekeeping, kitchen or the way you teach your child. It’s a big and a valuable investment.

· Plan your Future- Write it down. You can see your goal more clearly and be proactive in achieving that. If you intend to stay at home,  be sure how you want to invest your time. It’s the empty mind that brings the devil in. If the regular and mundane household is not working for you and you still want to be a SAHM for your child, take up a part-time activity which gives you meaning and a purpose.

·That brings us to PURPOSE- It’s the sense of purposelessness which is depressing, where you feel that you are merely existing, a cog in the wheel of life. Regular household chores are not meant to be creative and exciting pursuit. It has a tendency to throw you into a feeling of being ‘always cleaning and moping.' That is why having a larger, a bigger and a different purpose is important. The moment you start being proactive and actively engage in a purposeful activity, you will find more meaning out of your life. It’s for you to sit and think and write down what is it that you like doing, want to do, have time to do and can actively immerse yourself in doing that. It would be just one small step, but better than not taking a step at all.

· Actively engage in your Goal- The difference between I can and I will. Stemming from Steven Covey’s work -7 habits of highly effective people- He wrote this book way back in 1989, but the worth of his words is relevant even today. One has to focus one's energies, efforts actively, and power for the greatest effect. It’s called focus and committing well to the goal. It’s important to ‘concentrate sufficiently’ Covey writes. Daydreaming and merely writing down goals will not help. That’s just the first step.


·  Please please please get your breath of fresh air, and your daily dose of exercise- Studies have proven time and again how exercise is linked to our overall feeling of well-being. A study has estimated that by 2020 depression will surpass cancer and will become the second most cause of disability and death. When we exercise, our body releases a hormone called Endorphins which interact with the receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain. Studies show that they trigger a positive feeling much the same was Morphine would do.




·       Actively learn to focus on areas of influence more than areas of concern in your Life- It’s an active process, and you have to be in charge so that later it becomes your habit. Coming from Steven Covey and his book, I apply it to my life every day. Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work. They know that there are a thing outside their control and you cannot be investing your time and energy to these where you have little control.

·  Organize your home Life- I won't say make a trip to the parlor every week to pep yourself up. That is but just one teeny weeny part. But if you think it helps you, you must make a trip. Schedule your home life so that you don't find yourself in a nightgown until it's time for the kids to come. Organize your home, have a schedule, and that will give you more control and feeling of well-being.

· Your friends' Matters- Seek the right company and limit your time on Facebook and WhatsApp. Learn to say no to online or offline socialization which later makes you feel useless. Doesn’t it happen to us? We spend hours blinking at FB, and then it destroys our peace where we find comparing ourselves to all those who vacationed in Paris or Hawaii. We process it to the extent of feeling ‘worthless.'
“If you hang out with chickens, you're going to cluck, and if you hang out with eagles, you're going to fly.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience.


  Pray or Volunteer- For me both are one and the same. Gratitude is curative.Gratitude is invigorating. It makes you realize the importance of ‘now’ and all that you have and to value it. Trust, millions can only dream of what you have and spend entire life dreaming that and one day dies with that dream. It's  when you take things for granted that they lose their value.  The home that you have, your kids, your life partner, warm food at the table every day and a warm bed to sleep, shelter over your head and a loving family…it’s just enough.

AS I say to myself everyday-If it bothers me; I will do something about it.Either I will try to understand my decision in the right perspective and feel better, or I shall actively engage in doing something about it.

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like, follow and share. Drop in your feedback if any.

For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.
I do not promise that your life will change forever for good. But I can say that it will make you stop, think and smile with positivity and gratitude.




2 comments:

  1. Very well written👍🏻
    I agree with you that we should always respect our decisions and everyone has a unique perspective of life.

    ReplyDelete

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