Monday, June 13, 2011

To be or not to be?

Not discussing Shakespeare here, I'm taking about whether to remain a stay at home mom (SAHM) or not ?

A little background first. I'm a post-graduate, with a professional qualification . I worked briefly in India for a leading bank. Then moved to US, luckily was on a visa type at first that allowed me to work, even though I was on a dependent visa. Got a job within 2 months of landing, I worked for roughly 3-4 years on that visa, in couple of different banks in US . Can't say I really prospered in my career, because even though, I got superb feedback from my employers and was offered more responsibility and higher positions in almost every job, but I couldn't really accept the promotions, due to us moving all the time, I didn't wanna in good faith, accept a promotion, knowing that a few months down the line, I'm gonna be quitting that job, to move to a different city .

So inspite of the fact that I got a lot of job satisfaction from the praises from my superiors and such, I never could really grow or blossom at any specific organization . That kinda sucked , but I was happy to atleast be able to work, and use my skills.
Then a few years into our stay in US, my hubby's visa type changed, (since he changed jobs) , and as per the new visa type, a dependent visa holder could not work, unless I get a visa sponsored for me by some employer, now, it's not easy finding a sponsor, and one that would have a job in the same city as hubby's, near impossible, especially in a weak economy. So, I took a decision to stop working, instead we decided to grow our family, and shortly after I conceived my daughter, so life went on.

Once my daughter was born, I really forgot about a job, and all such thoughts. I loved, loved , loved being a mom, I think I should have had my baby years earlier ( we' been married for nearly 7 years when she came along) . I felt like this is the most important job in the world, and certainly way more important that getting a job, etc. Hubby's income was fine for us, so there wasn't a pressing need for my income as such .

Now it's 2.5 years later, and I still love being a mom , but my daughter is a toddler now, and ready to go to preschool this fall, and add to it the fact that here in canada, I'm again allowed to work , so there's really nothing stopping me .

This is where my dilemma begins, on the one hand, I wanna get back into the job force, it's been way too long, that I've been outta work, and I worry that if (god forbid) there ever comes a time that my income is needed to support our family, I wouldn't have the skills or the wherewithal to get a decent job , and that scares me. Plus I feel like, my parents worked hard to get me this education, I worked hard to earn the degree, and not using it is not only a huge waste, but also somewhere I feel a moral obligation, since so many women in my country and around the world, aren't given the choices and the opportunities I was given, and since I had them, not using the skills seems wrong somehow .

On the other hand though, I really don't wanna change my life with my baby, I know she'll be in school for some time in a day come fall, but I'll still a whole lotta time with her, much more than I would if I worked, plus I might have to put her in daycare, for some time in the day, if my work timings don't match with her school timings, and I really don't wanna put her in a daycare, I find it wierd paying good money to a daycare, while her mom can look after her, plus I have some doubts about the level of care she'll get ( she's a picky eater and little stubborn) , also there's one more reason . My mom was a working woman, she worked right up until just before I married, when she took an early retirement . Having a working mom, I grew up wanting her around more, and also I found her overwhelmed at times, with having to manage multiple things, and as a result, she would get irritated at us ( me and my sister) sometimes . The young me then was unable to comprehend what she might be going through, and took that to mean that she doesn't like me, and isn't a good mom. I spent a good part of my childhood resenting her . It wasn't until I was older, and an adult that I understood her side, and realized everything she did for our us and our family . I secretly fear that my daughter might feel the same way about me, and I really don't want that, at any cost . I guess mother's can't ever win, when you're at work, you think about home and your kids, and feel guilty for not being there, especially when then sick and such, and when you are home, you can feel like you're slacking off at work, it's not an easy choice, I know some girls who didn't like their mom being a SAHM, and not having a life outside of the home, and then there are others who think like I did . There's no easy solution to this problem.

Now, there's also another reason, I've been a SAHM for a while, and I really don't wanna go back to work life, and being bound to timelines, and discipline, right now in my life, I have a very relaxed schedule, I get a lot of time to spend on activities I like, which include this blog, and some other forums I'm a part of, even after household chores, and time spent with my baby, I get enough time to spend on all of these during the day, and I really don't wanna give all this up for a job, I'm gonna look into work from home, but i don't have high hopes from that. I feel selfish to think this way, and want my comfort and me time, and time with my daughter and all, while my hubby goes to work, day after day, which is quite hectic . He has never asked me to work or not to work, it's really only my call, he's fine either way. I've applied for the work permit I need to, and as soon as that comes, I know there'll be some focus on this work issue, and I need to take a stand before that.
I do feel like I want the freedom of my own income, and having a life outside of my daughter and my home, but how much am I willing to give up to get it?.....that is the question....
Any suggestions/ideas are welcome . Do share any experiences if you've had in the matter, that would help .


  1. Really interesting. What was that type of visa? I don't know much about the types of visas. Thanks for visiting my blog. We have chosen the same layout!

  2. Furthermore, I face this same struggle.... your struggle is so relatable to me. I have been doing my own business and it's this struggle that keeps me from growing :(.... and I have soooo much to give that I love to do. But do I want to leave the home and not be able to spend time with hubby? But at the same time when I am out with clients doing the work, it's so fulfilling. I feel I am really doing good in this world. Maybe it depends on the job you will have too....

  3. Hey jennifer, welcome to the blog!
    To answer your question, at first I was on an L2 visa, my hubby was on an L1 visa (intra-company manager - meaning he was transferred here from the parent company) then he switched jobs and got an H1-b visa, and I was on H4.
    Interesting about the layout...I didn't notice !!
    I agree with you about the nature of the job ...I'm certainly gonna try to find work, but if I don't find something that works for my family, and something that appeals to me as well, i may not get back into the workforce ...:)

  4. I've been on both sides as a daughter, and I think there's pros and cons to each. My mom was SAHM until I was 9 or 10, then worked odd jobs (didn't finish her nursing degree) until she found a small company where her people and sewing skills blossomed. For me, the four years between my mom's decision to leave my dad and her death were some of the hardest but best years of my life -- finances were quite bad, but I felt so proud of my mom for being brave and strong, and was inspired by the power of her "finding herself" as she became increasingly important within the small business. She encouraged me to take risks and try new things, and when I wear her perfume I think about the woman I want to be.

    All that being don't need a paid traditional career to teach your daughter that kind of strength and power. I was old enough to need only minimal babysitting when my mom went back to work, and I missed her a lot sometimes but also enjoyed knowing I could count on having private time before she got home. When she first started working, I was heartbroken every time she had to miss something for school, but of course as an adult I understand it. I think she was more frazzled (of course being the only head of household probably factored into that), but I don't remember ever feeling like she didn't have time for me.

    My brother's in the military and my SIL has a similar issue -- she has a BS but can't reasonably get, be trained for, and excel at a job in her field before she needs to move again. She actually went back for an associate's to get a job that was more mom-friendly (i.e., good hours and less stress) and military-friendly.

  5. @ Sara, wonderful comment, I too agree that one doesn't need to a paid career to have a strong mother as a role model, my grandma (mom's mom) nevr worked, but with everything else she has done, she is more strong and inspirational than any of the women in the family, who are far more educated than her .
    I guess on some level, I'm just not ready to give up my life with my daughter, and once I can come to terms, that even though my time with her may shrink a bit, and our routine may change somehow, it'll still be enough, and I can make most of the time at hand ...hmm...gotta think more about this...
    I'm hoping too like your SIL, I too am able to find some work that is a little mom-friendly. I don't mind taking up a lower position to what I could get in lieu of it.

    I won't regret not getting the big corner office, if it means a little more flexibility and more time with my baby...:))


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