Stay at home parent and Identity crisis


Ever since I quit my job four years back, I’d been asked a zillion times ‘Are you working’? And the questions doesn’t cease there as the answer was always a “No”. Question no.2 is usually a ‘Why?’ accompanied by statements like ‘You are well qualified, but still at home?’ The questions slowly take the form of advises and suggestions on how I could be back to the status of a ‘working woman’. The interesting point is that people I meet doesn’t even know the reason I quit my job at the first place and they simply guess that I did that for my baby just like many other new moms. Without knowing whats the story opinions are showered from all sides like a ritual. Well, my reason for quitting a full time career was not my baby’s arrival but it was due to a temporary relocation with my better half. During those days, ‘staying together’ was the priority and I couldn’t let my job come as a barrier to it. And the second point to be thought over is “Why do people think that all women aspire to work or be paid employees?”. Nowadays it is a default belief that no woman likes to own the title of ‘home-maker’ or ‘just-a-mom’! How can that be true when we have super role models of our past generation like our mothers and grandmothers? They have been efficient home-makers all their life and still lead a contented life. Even in their retired life, many of them are taking care of their grandchildren and helping with the household chores. This shows that our generation is a step lower when it comes to perseverance.

So my point is, everyone may not be as broad minded or goal oriented as you think. Every woman’s concept of ‘family’ is different. Every house is unique and so are its in members. Sometimes money will not help but all a family needs would be a human to bring in some order. Like I hinted above, women nowadays are not happy to be called as a home-maker. Have you thought why? The reasons maybe lack of financial independence, absence of social life, boredom, etc. However to some extend it is also due to the pressure from society. Even if we prefer to spend more time with our kids than at a workplace, we tend to think that being at home is of no value. The feeling that ‘anyone can be the home maker’ is the reason for discontentment. This is what we call Identity crisis. If you have at least a handful of people around to encourage you to be ‘Yourself’ and not like anybody else, you can bring out the best in what you do.. be it – home making or parenting. For women who are going through this phase and really wish to do something creative, take up a flexible job where you can work from home or turn your hobby into a business, work during the hours your kid is at school.

In my case I got my career break extended due to my baby’s arrival. Initially it had been frustrating especially because I missed my social life. Gradually over the months, I started finding time for my hobbies and interests whenever possible. I could read, write, explore and learn more because I didn’t have targets or timelines to keep track of. My son depends on me as his dad is mostly away on office assignments. I’v become more confident to deal with difficulties like child illnesses, temper tantrums, behavior issues, etc. Amidst such chaos, trying out a new recipe always cheered me up. I did fret over not having an income but I overcame that feeling with the help of my husband who kept assuring me that what I do for my son is more valuable and challenging than what a paid job can offer. I learned to answer the questions in a more matured manner. Previously I used to explain the scenarios which made me leave my job and continue to be a full time parent for my toddler, but now my answer is ‘I’m not working, I have a son to take care’.

I believe that my work life has transformed me to become more talkative and social. The interactions and experiences with my colleagues and supervisors had a great impact on shaping my character. While I believe that I have developed such qualities during my work life, I’m also looking at the blessings of being a full time parent or home maker where I get time to enjoy the afternoons reading a book or blogging, sipping coffee by the window watching the birds, catching up with old friends and family…and so on.

Surprisingly, I have crossed the stage of ‘longing to be back at work’ because I already have a long list of things to do everyday. I get sweet kisses from my son before he goes to sleep, something which he does involuntarily. I am not running behind material rewards anymore but if someone says that my son is well behaved that is the best reward for me.