Day 11: Life( and Work)

I loved this post by DreamyMommy.

The whole thing of people being oh-so-curious and passing sweeping judgements about our working/non working lives.

I remember from over 10 years ago, there was a lady, someone we knew who would always run down ‘working women’, sometimes in front of my husband, knowing fully well that he had a working woman for his wife. He would be seething with annoyance, but unable to retort back for being impolite. Another time she told us that children of working mothers consider their nannies their real mothers. We, at that point,didn’t even have a child, so we were in the worst possible category. Working woman, and not even showing any signs of having a baby!! God! What is the world coming to!

When I did have a baby, and decided to go back to work, there must have been people judging, but I don’t remember anybody telling me anything or maybe I was just too preoccupied to pay attention. I did pay attention when I decided to take a break from work and I had friends lauding my decision because it was ‘good for my child’. What shocked me was that they used my example to tell their niece that she should not work or refuse to work if her would-be husband didn’t want her to. She had apparently refused to get married to someone who refused to let her work. So they used my example as some one who’s been working and finally ‘came to her senses’ and decided to quit. Needless to say, I put the record right. I’m not sure what happened with their niece but hopefully she got married to someone sensible. Hopefully.

And then of course, there were some from the other side of the spectrum. ‘Don’t you feel bad about asking your husband for money?’, ‘Don’t you feel bad about wasting your education?’, ‘Can’t your parents or in-laws look after your child while you work?’. Sigh.

It makes me wonder about how much people judge, and decide that they can map out our lives for us. No, I never felt bad about asking for money, because I never did, ask for money, that is. It’s not just his money, it’s both of ours. I’ve never been in a situation that I’ve had to ask husband for money. He has had to ask me ,though, because he never remembers to carry his wallet 😉 And about wasting my education, well, I can only ask, can education ever be wasted? As for asking parents to look after my child, well, I wouldn’t have had a child if I can’t look after her. Our parents have done their job of parenting, it’s now our turn, and we choose to do it in the best way we can. Also, don’t parents have a life of their own? Why would we assume that it’s alright to ask them to uproot their lives so that yours can continue unhindered?

Of course, I’m one of the lucky ones who could afford to take a break, and lucky enough to be able to get back to work as well. Some don’t have that luxury. People are of course, quite forgiving of people who have to work. And quite critical of those who chose work over being a stay at home parent. All I can say from personal experience is that you can be a great parent no matter what you do, stay at home or go out to work, and the reverse holds true as well. From my own experience, if you are happy doing what you are doing, you are more likely to do everything well.

As for now, that I’m back at work, I can genuinely say that I did it because it felt right to me. It feels fulfilling and after a few years of being a SAHM, I had started longing for more. I feel happier, more energetic and satisfied. Also a lot busier. Life is more hectic and but that’s something I can handle for now.

Although it does come with some free mummy guilt, which means that I end up baking cupcakes for school cake sales after coming back from work, but that was well worth the trouble when daughter came back saying that they were delicious and all of hers got sold out 🙂

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PS: Please do ignore typos and errors. Again a hastily typed phone post. Sigh. When will I ever learn to plan and schedule my posts properly?

Unharnessed Thinking

This post was picked by Blogadda for its Spicy Saturday Picks. Thank you Blogadda and Sols!

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In my working life, we used to have a lot of workshops and courses aimed at making us think beyond boundaries, to help us work out ‘out of the box solutions’, to unleash our creativity.

Most of us used to struggle to find these magical, outlandish ideas which would provide  wonderful solutions to our clients while staying within the budget. I am not sure how much these workshops actually helped, but it certainly opened our minds to other possibilities, than the steady stuff that we were used to. It also helped a lot of us think and look beyond what was obvious, so I think they did make some difference.  In today’s competitive world, creativity and the ability to think beyond the norms is what is going to count. Companies that innovate, that try to better what they do, that strive to excel are what are the most successful.

It was after my daughter was born, that I really appreciated how staid and strait-jacketed my own thinking was. Something ordinary and regular for me , would be interpreted in a totally novel way by my daughter, when she saw something the first time. It just reminded me how creative we were as young children, and how slowly and steadily, our thinking gets restrained by the limits set by society in various forms. The creativity that we are born with gets stifled in so many ways.

Right from childhood, if a child is not encouraged to try out different things and fail, she might never learn how to succeed. For example a child who fails at something he tried and does not get the necessary support from his parents, might never try something out the next time, and a truly brilliant thinker might just have been killed. Similarly in workplaces, if a team member comes up with a weird idea, but is suppressed or ridiculed, might never voice his ideas again and a really creative idea that might have come from him, might just never happen.

I find that I subconsciously do it, without even realising it. The other day, we bought a paint-it-yourself piggy bank for daughter. Now they had provided a bunch of paints and ideas to paint it. Daughter decided that it would be more fun to paint random colours all over and for a minute, I was going to guide her to follow the patterns provided, when I realised that I might just be stifling her creativity. If I cannot let her original thinking guide her for painting a piggy bank, would I ever encourage her later, with any thing creative? What difference would it make if her piggy bank looked a little different, after all?

This is how her piggy bank looked in the end 🙂

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And could you guess what was in her mind when she painted this? Apparently this was not just general doodling – it is supposed to be something – according to daughter!

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Answer in the next post, lets see how many of you get it right 🙂 I certainly did not!