Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Man or woman?

WARNING: This is a rather feminist post. Very rare coming from me.

I see so many cases where after a baby the woman stops work to raise the kids while the man continues his work, unfettered.

What am I talking about so many cases. Isn't this always the case? With a few, a very few exceptions maybe. Right, lets move on.

While this is quite ordinary as an occurrence, what are the reasons for it? The woman is a better care-giver? Or because the woman is "expected" to do it. I think that the "woman is a better care-giver" opinion is bust in our times. Once the baby is off of breast-milk, I think either of the parents can be as good a care-giver. Period.

I am not opposed to women quitting. If between me and Subhash, one of us had to quit, I'd gladly do it. Not because my career is not important. I worked equally hard for it. I went through a good deal of rough patches and there were times when I was willing to do just any job so long as it paid me and sustained me financially. So yes. I love my job and it will be hard for me to quit it. But I will, if it has to be the job or the baby. Simply because in my mind I will never be comfortable if I work and Subhash quits. That is all.

But I see husbands "asking" wives to quit. Because they are being the "good parent" by not wanting to put the baby in day-care. And because the mom will be a better care-giver. Why? You are not willing to put the baby in daycare AND are not willing to quit doesn't mean you label your wife as a better care-giver and make her quit.

Now, I have also seen some more practical reasons. Like the wife doesn't earn as much as the husband. And in cases where the wife can quit without altering the lifestyle of the household tremendously whereas the husband cannot quit, without significant cuts having to be made in terms of what you buy, where you live etc, of course it makes better sense for the wife to quit. I would have no issues with that. To be overly feminist and make the husband who is earning 20L quit when you are earning just 5L would be stupid. And the kind of pseudo-feminism that I so hate.

So when the reasoning is right and practical and it is psychologically comfortable for the woman, I think its fine if she has/wants to quit her job. But I don't think that it is quite right if the woman quits (although she doesn't want to) because her husband thinks she is a better care-giver. And no other visible practical reason.


Rachna said...

I agree with your logic. Like most things in a woman's life, if she is happy with a decision; she will be satisfied with the choices she has. I feel a woman has it really tough once she becomes a mom, so many guilt issues along with societal issues. Hence if she uses logic or her own thinking, she will stick by her decision. I have realized that I have begun rambling :)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I quit six months after my first kid, not because my husband wanted me to, but because I felt I was not doing justice either to my career or to my role as a mother.
I saw other professionally qualified mothers being full time mothers, and assumed they had made the same choice as I had.
Not so - they had been asked to quit because how could you trust the kid with an external caregiver when you were around.
And that sucks. A woman works as hard to establish herself as a man does- the least she can demand for herself is to be able to make a choice on her own.
Sorry, rambling.

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