Estimated read time : 7 minutes
My maternity leave was almost over, and my partner and I concluded that we would be leaving our 6-month-old daughter in a day-care centre with state-of-the-art facilities.
We had been evaluating our options since my little one was 3 months old. While I was already apprehensive because I felt that no other caregiver, including my husband, would be good enough to take care of my little angel, this was a decision we both made as I wanted to (not needed to) return to work.
While my baby’s grandparents were super supportive, as they have always been, I got some hilarious questions and comments from friends, neighbours and total strangers.
Here are a few of them that are frequently thrown at me.
This one tops my list. I was dropping my 6-month-old, and there was a lady in the elevator – apparently, a grandparent of another toddler at the same centre – and those were the first words that came out of her mouth.
For the first five seconds I did not understand what it meant, then I realised she meant to ask if I didn’t have anyone else to take care of my little one at home. I nodded as her eyes filled with pity and just moved on.
I am pretty sure I did not ask for career advice from this person, and equally sure he did not even have a clue about what he was asking. On these occasions, I make some financial excuse to avoid the questions that would inevitably follow in an effort to end the mind-numbing conversation once and for all.
As if that is the only reason why a mother should be re-joining work, leaving her child at a day-care centre. If not, a career break is the only wise decision.
This was an interesting one, and I had a follow-up question. How old is good enough? Can you please decide that for me as well? If the day-care centre is ready to take my child, that means they are equipped to take care of my little one. And all said and done, I am never going to be ready to leave my little one in the care of someone else, so waiting for a few more months or even a year before joining work is not going to solve anything.
No, she doesn’t, and I am the heartless mother who leaves her wailing child in the hands of a stranger. How can you think that?!
Alone? I do not live alone. I have my husband with me. And he is no bystander or baby sitter. He is a co-parent who believes in contributing equally in the house. This is one thing people can’t understand, and I have never made any efforts to explain.
And if I want to pick a winner for the number of times I heard the same phrase, this one is the winner. Apparently, people don’t just decide for you nowadays, they want to make decisions for your parents too.
My follow-up question should have been, so when are you investing? Before you blurted that out, did you even think once that I liked my work and I don’t want to run my own business?
To all those people who thought I was going back to work leaving my child in a day-care centre because of financial instability, or that we cannot get our folks to take care of our child and so forgave me for this unfathomable act of putting my baby in day-care – please don’t forgive me because I am not sorry for anything and whatever we did was by choice! And yes, I say ‘we’ because this was a joint decision taken by my partner and myself.
I always wanted to go back to work once I was assured that my little one is going to be taken care of. Also, for me, grandparents are not caretakers and I want my daughter to spend loads of time with them and get to learn lots of things which my husband and I might not be able to teach her.
My grandparents have always been important to me in my life, and I want my daughter to feel the same towards hers. But at the same time, I want both sets of grandparents to live their life.
They gave their entire life to get my husband and me to the stage we are at now, and still, people expect them to give up the rest of their lives running behind my child which seems unfair to me.
Don’t get me wrong, we love to have them over at our place, but our child is our responsibility. And all said and done, if there comes a day when we really need them, we have two sets of parents willing to be there for us at the drop of a hat. And on days when I feel I can’t do this anymore, I have my husband standing by me, making me stronger than ever.
But still if I feel the need, I will quit my job and my career but till then I am not sorry for what I have chosen today.
Motherhood does not have to symbolise sacrifice. Everyone has the right to live their life to the fullest and motherhood is a choice that I made, and it was not enforced upon me.
I have not and will not make any sacrifices burdening my child with them when she grows up. I want to my child to grow up with a mom who can make choices and a dad who supports those choices to the fullest, teaching her that it is okay to love herself and take time for herself while being a mother at the same time.
I want my little one to have the confidence to do what it takes to empower and encourage other women to follow their passion.
I want it all, my career, my little one’s childhood and time with my family. My family and I are committed to making sure that happens.