A few days ago, I spoke to my big boss again about my plans of taking long leave to take care of little pea. I needed her approval for my submission. Once again, she tried to help me think of alternatives. She sounded disappointed when I told her that this is my only option, and the conversation ended with her saying, “Think about it again. The long break will jeopardise your career.”
This stuck with me for awhile after our tele-conversation. I felt sad and indignified to hear that from her, although I understand her perspective. There is a reason why she is now up on the ladder. She did not “sacrifice” her career for her children. But why in the first place is that a sacrifice?
For me, this decision is not a difficult one. I have tried to put my career before my child, and look what happened to little man’s immunity. I dare say that all his current problems are due to those early days in infant care. Before he went to infant care, he was never sick. When I put him in there at 6-month old, within a short period of 6 months, he was hospitalised 4 times, given endless antibiotics that caused his gut flora to mess up. All problems are stemmed from those days. Hence I told Hubby that if we are going to have another child, I will not let him go through that mess again.
Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is not easy. Go ask any SAHM. It is not a break. It can be more tiring than work, because you are “working” 24/7. You can have a nice lunch break at work. You have to gobble down your lunch at weird timings because your baby may wake up anytime. You sometimes have to hold your pee and poo because your baby needs you more. In between breaks aka your baby nap time, you have to try to do some housework. You are stuck at home with no adult conversations. And then you will start to feel like you have lose your shine, especially if you do not make an effort to keep yourself in touch with the outside world. The worst part is, people do not recognize what you do. They think that you are having a “break”. Best still, your husband’s words sometimes reveal that he thinks that way too.
That is SAHM for you. A thankless job. But why do I still decided to do it? Why do so many capable women still decided to do it? Because anyone can do your work, but not anyone can be a mother to your child. My children are my priority for now. Because I have made the decision to have them, I must be responsible for them. This is especially so when I am not able to get any reliable help to take care of them.
I think our society has not been very fair to SAHM. I don’t know about the past, but most SAHM whom I know are doing much more than just housework. Because they are much more educated, they try to make a difference in their children’s learning and development while they are at home. Of course, they do not do these for recognition, but the society’s perception certainly needs to change.