09 March 2012

Happy Women's day !

This year I really understood why we women need to celebrate a day in the year as our own. My organization celebrated an event in the day's honor and we had a speech by an external speaker. To say that the speech was inspiring is an understatement. It changed me totally. Gave me a new lease on life, a whole new perspective. Perhaps not everyone among the audience was as moved as I was. But due to some recent events in my life I could not but feel touched and invigorated by her speech.

The speaker began by outlining that the very decision for a woman who is married, especially within India, and/or is a mother, is ridden with guilt. She is faced with questions like "So who looks after your daughter when you are at work?" "Oh, she goes to DAY care!" "Oh, your child did not get good marks in the exam? Didn't you do her lessons with her?" "Tomorrow is Holi, so have you made pooran-poli?" ...and the list goes on. A woman like me who does leave her child in day care, can easily identify with this guilt.

"Hold on" said the speaker. "There is another side to the coin." "Imagine that you decided to quit work to look after your child." Then you are accosted with "So what do you do?" at a party by a sophisticated lady. "Oh, I'm a housewife." The resulting "Oh" literally drips with pity and contempt. The underlying question is "What do you do all day once the cooking is done and the kids are packed off to school?" See? There is no escaping the guilt in this case too. Was it wise to give up one's financial freedom, fritter away the hard-earned education to do what your grandmother did after all?

The moral - No matter what choice you make, there will be people who will make you feel guilty. But, there should be no regrets, no judgments. There is a third category of women who have chosen to work but at a slower pace. They do not wish to join in the rat race. Their position is even more delicate as they get to watch their peers (male or female) climb up the corporate ladder. It is important to remember here that the female peer, especially, has made her choice to be in the rat race and should not be judged negatively.

The trick is to accept one's decision and stick by it. To not let the guilt feelings rain on your parade. There is no right or wrong decision. For a working woman, it is best to accept that the pickle on the table will be store-bought and not home-made. Nothing criminal in that. If mother-in-law wants to perceive it negatively, that's her prerogative. Kids adjust to any situation. They are equally happy with a working mother as with a stay-at-home mom. All they need is love, support and some quality time from you. Same applies to husbands. And quality time cannot come if you are not happy.

Being part of the corporate world myself, I get to rub shoulders with men mostly as all my peers are male. This sometimes makes me feel that I'm losing touch with my femininity. Wearing a sari on the Women's day, playing silly games with my female colleagues, and generally being spoiled with compliments and gifts, I felt totally feminine :) No wonder they celebrate this day as the Women's day. It is important to feel the beauty of being a woman, to be surrounded by all things feminine - colors, gifts, fragrances, food, children.

And lastly, its essential to keep some time to rejuvenate yourselves whether you are working or not. Any time spent in getting to know oneself physically, emotionally or spiritually not only helps women deal with life's pressures with aplomb, but brings out their inner strength with renewed vigor. Hobbies such as cooking, gardening, reading, socializing etc. give women the ME-time that they most often try to do without in their nurture for their kids, spouse, elders and society.

So Ladies, enjoy the choices you have made in life. If you don't; makes ones that you WILL enjoy! Your happiness lies in your hands. Happy women's day!

10 comments:

Shruti said...

All excellent points, Nilu. Veena and I have had this conversation a few times. It does seem as though guilt is waiting to grab us no matter what path we take. After completing my PhD, I decided after a long time to do something for myself - I started learning music again. I love that one hour that I spend on myself but I still cannot help feeling guilty that my class costs more than either of my children and that I am taking one precious hour away from my family.

kainaz said...

lovely write up nilu..... in fact i have a cousin who is so confused in managing her family and work that i forwarded this article to her....
i m sure it will help her think in d right direction without the guilt

Swapna Kolhatkar said...

I think most of the women identify themselves in this situation. It is a relief to read about this opinion and realize that there are others who are sailing in the same boat. This also shows that women are no longer playing the role of daughter, sister, wife or mother; they have taken on more identifying roles of bread (or butter, jam) earner and career planners in order to have their place of choice. Even a housewife is no longer restricted to her home, but has to do work of the outside world.

I am very happy to pamper my daughter with doing things together and at the same time, I demand the same from my mother. Its great to have women time and discuss things which you cannot recall later. HAPPY WOMAN'S DAY !

Dipalee said...

Good writting Nilu. Main thing is live a balanced life. It is very hard specially to ppl working in IT to be in touched with latest techno. give time to kids and family. But that's the balance point we need to search. And whole life struggle is for the same. Coz no one is happy in any extreme.

Anonymous said...

you might find a comment from 'Male' surprising: but true... and i am sure most the remarks on both side are made by mostly 'another women'... sometime the 'exact that woman'.
-amit rangari

Komal said...

Awesome write-up. Each & every thought is so touching! A woman is made to feel guilty either ways, and ironically most of the times its by other women. The mindset in the society,'that working women' are better than housewives has to change. Respect the individual choice made by a woman or atleast understand the circumstance in which she has made the choice. Very thought provoking speech. Who was the speaker??She's truly an inspirational & motivational speaker.

Manisha said...

hello
so touching thoughts. i am going through the same .. oh.. we can say each n every woman is going through the same.. i like u hv described about the quality time we have to give to our kids n which is given only when we r happy....

thanks dear u have clear confusions of many women through this blog.. at least for me its very helpful..

HAPPY WOMAN'S DAY..!!

Gayatri Karthik Gayatri Sivaraman said...

Nicely put, Nilu...and very true.
As a career woman, i have always pondered over this...
If God meant us to not follow our ambitions, then he would not have given us the same , sometimes better faculties !!!
But then yes the guilt trap is always waiting ...
Upto us to just get over it, and do what our feels right in our hearts...

Happy women's day!!!

Veena said...

I came to your blog twice .. and both the times I wanted to share a link to an interview that I had liked..
http://nischalamurthy.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/nischalas-blog-o-rendezvous-with-lisa-petrilli/#comments

The interviewee over here is talking about how much it is important to get connected to one's femininity to be able to grow in one's life...

The interviewer is an ex colleague...

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