It is heartbreaking how working women have to think twice before they embark on the beautiful journey of motherhood. They need to think about how motherhood is going to impact their careers. While many mothers have to give up on their career to look after their kid, here is an open letter from our community member as she shares why it’s not our kids but our society that destroys a woman’s career.
Recently when my friend told me that she was planning to start a family, I was thrilled for her.
But sadly, it turns out that she wasn’t as much thrilled as I was. After my constant pestering, she told me how she was surrounded by negative thoughts that her motherhood journey will either slow down or kill her career.
She broke down into tears as she shared how people around her were so excited about the news, especially her husband, but she wasn’t. She felt divided between being a mother and being a professional. And, when she shared her thoughts with her husband how having a baby means she has to bid goodbye to her due promotion. Her husband casually said – “S, It’s fine. Baby is much more important than a career.”
Knowing he was right, my friend felt heartbroken as she felt it was easier for her husband to say it when he isn’t the one making any compromise.
This call made me wonder – Do children really ruin the professional lives of their mothers?
While men and women both become parents, why is it only women who have to worry about her career? Why men don’t? Why we have never heard a man being told, “You’re having a baby? That will derail your career!”
So the same kids that impact a mother’s career, have no impact on their fathers? Why so?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was our patriarchal society that ruins the mother’s career and not kids.
Even in the 21st century, men and women are not equal partners when raising the kids are concerned. Women are still the primary caregivers. And, what is even more heartbreaking is the fact that we don’t even expect our men to be equal partners in parenting. We hail our men as heroes when they do the bare minimum like brushing their daughter’s hair or cooking Sunday breakfast for kids.
And, how we raise generations after generations of men and women, who also carry the same expectations that mother needs to stop whatever she is doing in her life to take care of the kids. Because in the end, taking care of kids is the mother’s primary responsibility.
But it’s not just our families but also our companies, who penalize women for embarking on the journey of motherhood.
Though Indian maternity leave policy is progressive as women can get up to 26 weeks of paid leave with certain conditions to be fulfilled. But, it is heartbreaking how our employers tend to use it as an excuse to not hire women in the first place. There are many instances where new moms either denied promotion or better increments just because they were embarking on the journey of motherhood.
While some get the required support from their parents, husbands, or in-laws but sadly most of us have to bear the burden of primary caregiver alone. There’s a reason why they say it takes a village to raise kids. Sadly many women in India are doing it as a one-woman army. To raise their kids well, many women have to give up on their professional dreams.
So, it is not the kids but our patriarchal society that kills women’s careers.
To all those husbands who believe in equal marriage:
You are the only hope that our women can fulfill their professional dreams even after embarking on the journey of motherhood. Please share the load and be her equal partner in raising kids. Don’t let our society’s regressive thought process trick you into believing that kids are the mother’s duty. It is your duty as much as hers.
She also deserves her dreams as much as you do!