Friday, March 14, 2008

Tell me what you think - honestly

She's a small town girl. She's just finished her post graduation. She's tall and has a great figure. She harbours dreams of becoming the next face of Miss India or same famous Indian cosmetic firm. Her 5ft 8in frame is designed for such a career. She's extremely photogenic and knows it. Her features are nothing to write home about but the camera loves her. She's from a conservative family who will not countenance such a career. She's not interested in anything else.

Her mother is a working woman, very successful. More successful than her husband. Her father is suffering from a complex since his wife is so obviously more intelligent and smarter than him. His situation is further compounded by being surrounded by successful brothers. They're all millionaires and while he isn't doing too badly for himself, their over achievement drowns his.

Over the years he has managed to subtly influence his daughter such that she now believes that her mother sacrificed her family for her career. As a result she has decided that she will not work but devote herself to raising her family. She doesn't want her children to suffer the way she did.

She gets married. Despite encouragement from her mother-in-law she chooses not to work. A year later the boy gets an opportunity to work in the US and the girl agrees to the move. She has a rosy view of life in the US. A year later they have a child. When the child is two years old, the girl puts the child in day care. The child spends 7-8 hours a day in daycare while her mother stays at home to catch up with stuff.

She sees her friends out there working full time and wants to try her hand at something. However, she wants to have the freedom to wake up late, work at her own leisure etc. She decides to work from home. This does not consume more than a couple of hours a day, a couple of days a week. By choice.

This is where I have a problem. I know that life in the US is tough without any support structure. Therefore, I can understand putting your child in playschool/daycare for a few hours a day to get some time to yourself - whether to do nothing or to figure out what you want to do with your life. However, I cannot understand a woman who chooses not to work, who is ostensibly a stay at home mom, putting her child into full time day care. What's the point of staying at home if you cannot assume the responsibility of taking care of your child?

I don't understand it and therefore would be grateful if someone out there can explain it to me. All of you moms out there, living your lives in the US, provide some perspective. I'm struggling here. I know this is my take on the situation and is probably biased. So, if you think I've got it wrong, please tell me. I really want to understand.


Suki said...

My take?
She isn't capable of handling the child anyway. Better let the child have a somewhat sane, happy mum a few hours in the evening than a completely frustrated mum who is doubtless messed up all day long.

And I'm feeling a bit sympathetic towards that mom right now, because in her place I would probably want the kid out of the way for a while so I could grow and work on my own. Not economically productive employment perhaps, but studies and hard thinking would take up a good part of my time. So yeah... I would come down on that mom hard, but not very hard. Assuming she's young and/or immature.

Clearly, this is a woman finally trying to live for HERSELF rather than for her child or her career. As long as she's happy, who are we to complain? I'll go with "healthy mum, healthy baby".
The real mystery is why she had the baby in the first place.

Squiggles Mom said...

Suki - Well she was happy that would be great. But she isn't. She finds things to get unhappy about.

I agree that she is trying to find herself. And I wouldn't be so frustrated if she was studying or doing some hard thinking. In her case, the thinking translates into very little. I read that and I think I'm being too harsh. But it's a loved one so I am biased.

Poppins said...

Maybe she feels that the child (who's after all a toddler now) thrives in daycare? With the company and everything? Or that her work timings are so varied that she might not be able to plan exactly when she can leave him in daycare and when she can keep him at home.

Either way, I mean working mothers put their children at daycare, if a stay at home mom does it that should be fine too, right? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

why do you presume that its only okay to put children in daycares if you are working outside of the home. Afterall usually working outside of home is surely done as much for one self as for the economic independance it gives the family. Perhaps she really does want all that time to herself for whatever reasons and she shouldn't have to 'work' in an office to make it okay for the child to be in daycare. Daycare is daycare regardless of the reasons the child is put there.

jayashri said...

Squiggles mom,

In US where you have avery limited interaction with people (if you are living in such kind of neighbourhoods or u r an introvert by nature), kids get very uneasy, winters are long and cold, u cannot go out to parks and all. In a way kids enjoy a lot in their day care. I send my son to the day care because i am working, but still the moment the car is in front of his day care he starts screaming in joy and runs inside without turning back and same time evening when i pick him up he comes running to me showers me with kisses.
Moreover if she wants to sleep for sometime, or clean the house, complete the grocery shopping and all or even watch TV / knit or sew without inturruption whats wrong in that. If she is living for herself, no mistake. Why dont we feel bad leaving our kids with our parents or with maids at home while we supervise and frown upon mothers who send their kids inspite of being housewife. there is nothing wrong, she needs a life too.

choxbox said...


diya said...

You already have the answer each to his own. You will see in my blog the result of an overzealous mom. By the way, I have taken the liberty of tagging you. Please try to find the tag from the tangle that I have created there.

Anonymous said...

I see no fault in your thinking. Can we say anything about this out loud? No. Or can we? No, just kidding.

My thoughts? She thought she was marrying into a life where she would get to snooze her life away, having servants left and right, having someone else take care of her children. After all, it's what the movies show previous "models" doing, right? Unfortunate for her, she realized that life was not going to be that way because some families do feel that if you are doing absolutely NOTHING, then you have no reason to whine about needing help to take care of your child.

I would understand if she had this fabulous career (or had one) and was planning on going back to it (of course, her past of "modeling" and her "features" are your own opinion, I'll keep mine to myself). She's not. She never will.

And her attempts at starting a business might have laid a legitimate enough excuse for having to keep her adorable child in day care, however, that did not pan out as expected and a wiser person would have brought their child home to cut their losses.

And when you're not doing anything and your husband is the one out making all the money, life in the US is NOT that tough. There are women out there that did not have jobs and have done a fabulous job rearing their own children, sending them to school at the appropriate age (which is six years of age here - earliest is four or five for preschool). Usually, at this age, is when women get up and pursue a new career. Granted there are many that don't, which is fine. This time is usually considered most appropriate to start because usually your child is receiving an education (for free) for almost seven hours a day and as a result, you're free for that many hours as well.

So, to sum it up. Your not seeing the logic behind this stay-at-home mom with a child in day care is not unfounded. In fact, I never understood it myself. Although, if I was her child, I would be thrilled that I got a break from her for so many hours a day. So yay for the kid.

P.S. - I know that this was incredibly bitchy ... I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself.

P.P.S. - You made a better model and are that much more photogenic.

Squiggles Mom said...

Poppins and Anonymous 1 - I guess I know the right answer is that each person whether working or not has the right to their own personal time. And I do understand that. I guess I was struggling with full time daycare versus part time because if it were me I would like to minimise the time my child spent with non-family. But then as you said maybe it each to his own and it is up to me to be a bit more understanding.

Squiggles Mom said...

Jayashri - I don't disagree with her need for her own life. And I think the loneliness that can afflict people in the US is something that I find difficult to appreciate because I've never lived there. But I was more I guess upset with her choice to send the child to daycare full time. If I think about it rationally then as you said there is no reason that a home maker (I prefer that word) shouldn't have access to the same personal freedom as a working mom. But I guess my heart doesn't accept that even though my brain is telline me that it's OK. My problem.

Squiggles Mom said...

Anonymous 2 - I wonder who you are. Email me and let me know...hmm. Well, as you see I'm struggling with acceptance :(. Sigh. It's so hard to practice the each to his own philosophy when it's not you!

Compulsive Dreamer said...

Its funny I should read this today when just yesterday, I was talking to a friend about a similar thing being done by a relative of mine and that too in India.
Her son is 1 and half months old and she is already making arrangements so that he would be able to manage without her for the entire day. She has apparently read in books that children dont need their mothers all the time- so she is ensuring nothing comes in between her and her career- she has invested in breast pumps so she can express milk and keep in stock for the entire day, hired a maid who can take care of the child for the entire day and a cook who can take care of all the meals. And this is someone who claimed that she loves children and wanted to have one since time immemorial. I have read all the comments and do agree with the need to have her own life. But then there are some responsibilities that come with having a child, and I think atleast until the child is able to express his needs it is the responsibility of the parents to spend as much time as possible with the child. Her argument is that she was brought up by her grandparents and her son can also manage by being brought up by his grandparents. I do not know the answer to such logic- my only question then is- why did you have the child?

Compulsive Dreamer said...

Oh and I forgot to add- she will be working from home and has made it clear that she is not to be disturbed under any circumstances while she is working

Anonymous said...

Compulsive Dreamer: Working from home is still working. And any distractions do take time away from the job. I know friends who work from home and don't want to be disturbed. They keep hours similar to a workplace - that is the only way to work from home efficiently. At least this mom has made all arrangements to make sure her baby will be comfortable and well provided for.