The daunting choice for women: Family or Career?

   Women have been faced with this question time and again: profession or family. Decades ago, marriage provided a deadline to their careers. Professional life existed only for the bachelorettes, which didn’t last for long.

    Education has not only opened gates to women, but provided them with wings too. Fathers and husbands have become more broad-minded to appreciate a woman having her own life beyond the four walls of home. Although the situation has remained stagnant in many under developed nations, Dubai has witnessed a lot of female staff at office and behind counter desks.

   Coming back to the question: profession or family, women have compromised time and again for their family. What they don’t realize is the effect of their compromise on their children’s future. Although the mother can shower undivided attention and cater to every kid’s needs, what they don’t realize is the kind of future they’re unconsciously setting for their young ones.

     People have the subtle ability to observe ‘how’ someone is performing an action rather than what the action is. The ‘how’ factor is what sets each human apart. Kids observe their parents more than you know. Watching the mother disheartened and defeated by circumstances doesn’t set a good example for their future. Girls are more sensitive towards the little differences in their father and mother’s life. Observing a parent dissatisfied with their life can set a bad impression on the child. Parents are an infant’s personal heroes. They are the easiest source to learn from and seek knowledge about the most mundane activities.

     Women have often sacrificed upon their own health and maintenance to provide their kids with the best. Heard of the phrase ‘Selfishness is a virtue’? Well, it is. Only after feeding herself can a mother breast-feed and nourish her child.  Mothers are known to be closer to children than the father. However, an insecure and disappointed mom would hardly be someone to approach to when the teenager is experiencing some issues. Instead, they reach for support outside home, which may benefit or harm them. Slowly a bubble begins to form where the parent becomes unaware of the child’s life outside home. Although teenagers are stereotyped to be rebellious and uncomfortable with talking to their elders, it depends largely on the parent’s treatment towards various societal issues.

   Sacrifices made by the mother for her children can also become very overbearing and a factor of guilt for many of their decisions. This guilt might protect them from engaging in unhealthy activities, but using the parent’s suffering against the child can devastate their relationship. The mother sacrifices and expects. Nothing is given away for free. And when the grown up children cannot meet her expectations, disappointment prevails, not only for the mother, but the children as well. It can harm their self-esteem and confidence. There’s a clear difference between the performance of a child with proud parents and that of a child whose parents discourage and complain.

   A mother’s personal frustration might be held well behind her walls. However, age makes them weaker, physically, mentally and emotionally. Slowly, their subsided resentment exits those walls in small bouts. And the nearest person is often the victim of her historic pain. Anger outbursts and insults hurled at the younger family members results in an antagonizing environment at home. As such, family dinners grow to the extent of endanger and then to extinction.

   The mother may be the easiest person to blame, but the father or husband has the bigger role to play. They are responsible for forcing the woman to choose. Men easily remain active witnesses to the daily abuses. Supporting their wives and comforting them not only improves her mood, but also gives the right impression of a ‘family’ to the children.

    Adolescents prepare their idea of a realistic relationship based on the one they view daily. Some base their opinion of a partner on the kind of husband or wife their dad and mom are. Hence a healthy bond between parents is essential in building the future bonds between the children.

    Albeit the situation has improved drastically across the world, let’s not forget that this is choice is still expected in a few countries. Let’s hope you’re lucky enough to not face this question, ever. But considering you do, after years, think carefully. You’re not doing a favor for your kids. Neither are they going to benefit watching you wither away in regrets.

“I prefer giving first priority to family as a girl. For girls, I feel compromises just go on for lifetime. When it’s a matter of career, we can have a career by having a mature life and keeping our family happy. If you’re good, your family’s going to be good to you”

 Ilham Naushad, University of Vocational Education, Dubai

“Contrary to the belief that girls are ‘not good enough’ my parents are so happy to have a girl. I’m not just cut out for housework. I can do what I want when I want. If I want to do it, then I can. Depending on his (future partner) financial situation, if I want to do something for me, it is my life. He can’t rule over my life. We are two different people. What he thinks does not have to be right for me, and what I say does not have to be right for him. We’ll work out a middle path.”

 Roohi Ibrahim, Advertising graduate, MU Dubai

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