50 shades of ambition

When I was growing up both my parents worked. My mom didn’t have a fancy well-paid career. She was an accountant and we needed the money. She had been working very hard all her life. Not in jobs where she can enjoy martinis with her colleagues after work. Not in places where you get bonuses, travel around the world and desperately try to fit in a competitive form of a superficial made-up ‘cool’.

It was difficult for her leaving us and going to work or, later on, coming back home long after we finished school. My mom didn’t work because she wanted to have it all – a perfect independent career and a family to boast about –  she was educated enough to know that this would never be possible.

She did the best she could, raising three children the only way she knew how and working full-time not because she wanted to move from a big house to an even bigger one, not because she had 10 pairs of shoes but wanted 20; she worked all day long so that we could be able to get educated, clothed and fed.

Every family has its own dynamic – this is absolutely true. However, babies/toddlers/children need their parents. All mammals on this planet do. They need their mom to feed them, nurture them, connect with them and provide them with comfort and safety. Grandmother, nurseries, au pairs, aunts and other relatives or friends are great BUT they can never replace a parent for the above needs to be met.

Sadly, nowadays, societies are desperately trying to persuade women that motherhood is not enough. Female empowerment, it seems, means successful careers and a lifestyle where children are only seen as accessories. As an advocate for children’s emotional well-being and respectful upbringing, it saddens me to see this kind of mentality existing in many young parents nowadays.

It is disappointing how the people who are wealthier are the ones wanting to stay as far away from parental duties as possible.

Women can and should work if that is what they want to do – there is no doubt about that.  Staying home is also a choice. I hardly ever complain about this choice of mine with the exception of fed-up moments which I share with family and a couple of friends.

However, in the past couple of years, I have had people commenting on how I lack ambition since I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. A friend of mine recently told me that: moms don’t raise their children, nowadays, – it’s 2017 – nurseries do this’. I was told to ‘wake up’ and realise that ‘women now are independent, they work not raise kids’. In the same conversation, I was told how it’s normal to put your child in a nursery at 3 months of age, besides, ‘everyone is doing it’! In another occasion, someone said to me that ‘some women HAVE ambition and successful careers, they go to work’.

I wonder how would I feel hearing this if I didn’t have a profession. If I was working as a waitress at a restaurant or I was a street cleaner,  a babysitter, worked in an old people’s home or at any other ‘non-glamorous’ job.

Today’s rhetoric is this: you are empowered if you make a lot of money. You are empowered if you wear business clothes. You are empowered when someone else is raising your children so you don’t feel as if parenting has brought any changes into your life and everything is the same as before. 

What about the women who work as the cashiers in a supermarket? How much do they matter in this whole female-empowerment-third wave feminist move? How will they feel empowered if they are not included in the image of the successful woman? Is ambition equal to making lots of money? Or is it measured in business suits?  Do women who raise the children they gave birth to lack ambition because of wanting to ‘JUST’ be mothers? Is the woman serving drinks in a bar less empowered? 

Isn’t the greatest ambition of all to be a person of decency, integrity and always trying to become better? Isn’t it to successfully raise decent, emotionally intelligent human beings who won’t have to recover from their childhoods?

I have taught myself a defence mechanism against ignorance. It doesn’t always work, though. Today was one of those days. My efforts for a bit of ‘me’ time in order to finish up an important assignment were fruitless. And then there are the failed job opportunity attempts. There is the work gap, you see, which now acts against a mom like me who literally buried her ambitions in favour of fulfilling unquestionable parental duties.

Maybe if governments allowed more paid time off for new moms and employers were not prejudiced to gaps in employment, things would be different for everyone, including the ones who matter the most: the children.

Stay-at-home moms have ambition too, and so do all the other women who have become invisible cause…  wrong work outfit I guess. 

Till next time xxx