Long, long ago, long before Meera was born, long before Meera could be born, when me and my little sister were kids, we had talked about this question and sort of decided among ourselves (nope, our respective DH's didn't have ANY choice!) that we'll be home for our kids, at least for some time. Me, 2 years and my sister a little longer.. That was the plan. This was not influenced by our mom's work. This was influenced by mom's decision to take up work only after the youngest was at least 2 yrs old. We loved mom working... We were very proud of that. Though we had to eat our breakfast at 7.15 am everyday and wait outside for our auto till 8.30 am, so she could catch her 7.30 am bus; though we had to wait, eat tiffin, play at grandma's place after we came from school till she came back at 6.30 in the evening... we were still very proud of her going to work. You see, She was the only woman in our family circle to go to work. She had double masters degree and I don't think there were even any males in our family, with double graduation, at that time. She is a teacher by profession and one of the very best. We've seen her students come and visit her even after they had kids. Even with her soft voice and soft nature, She brought out and continues to bring out the best in each student. She is such an inspiration for us and her kids at school.
Dad was away most of the time - busy with his business. If we were lucky, we saw him twice/thrice a month, else it will be just once. So, She was almost like a single mom managing home, us and her children at school(that's what she called them, even though they were in XIIth). Since mom worked and did a damn good job managing her work and home, there was not a single question in our minds to go to work. We instinctively knew that we were going to work when we grew up. Amma had rejected many topnotch positions in the field of marine biology and fisheries department, she had rejected an offer to do Phd in her college with full aid from her university. All to be at home with her kids - till they were ready to goto school. Then She picked up the profession of teaching so that it wouldn't interfere/affect with her family and children. She gave up a lot, not because she had to, but because she wanted to. She made a conscious choice and took everything in her stride without any complaints.
Being Amma's daughter, I knew better to put family first. I'm not a very ambitious person. Though my colleagues might differ on that from the way I'm passionate about my work. I LOVE working outside home. And I like to do it really well. I don't care about becoming the next CEO or Director; I just like a job well done. Mine was an arranged marriage - arranged as in Appa found the 'varan' and was happy with the family and left it to me to decide. (Sometimes I think arranged marriage, these days and love marriages aren't very different, but that's totally another post!) I am of the opinion that, in an arranged marriage to work well, the couple should spend the the first year after the wedding together, esp the first six months where you argue and argue till there is nothing to argue about, anymore :) Of course you got to live together for all the years to come but very crucial especially for the first year for the couple to bond better. Since I worked a couple of years in US before my wedding, there was no question of me getting a job here... but it would have been difficult to get a job in the same city as my husband. So, I took a break (for those curious folks, yep! we did argue about almost everything in the first few months and settled down eventually!) and then we moved to Canada.
By this time, I was eager to go back to work. With the baby's arrival, me going back to work had been happily postponed. I wanted to be with her at least a year before I can get back to work. I couldn't have left her with anybody other than me. And we bonded beautifully. She's 11 months already. I might take a few more months before taking up a job. While I like being home and we have a great time, I'm not my happiest best at home. Some need caffeine. I need the stimulation that work provides and a life outside home and people (though sometimes not!!!) for me to function my best. I love the time I spend with my daughter and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.. but I think she'll have an even happier mom who can enjoy her even more when her mom starts working again. We would very much like a second child (not right now though) and I would love to stay at home for the next child too for at least year. It is going to be difficult initially for me to leave her at daycare when I go back to work, but I guess we'll manage somehow. Besides we need the extra money too. We want to take care of our kids' education and also have a safety net to fall back on. There won't be much guilt when I go back to work. I'll be much more happier.
Thanks everybody for sharing your thoughts... I could identify with at least one thing in every single post. Like our lovely Tharini who said so beautifully, we all look for happiness - for our family, for us and be at peace. May we all find that, in this life, without much heartache.
For if momma ain't happy, nobody is.
(There! If you read through my post carefully, you can even find my mother's day post in there somewhere embedded in this post. heheeeee!)