Independent Career Woman vs. Stay At Home Mom

This is a topic that I never thought I would have to consider since I grew up believing I’d always be working. I grew up in a household where both of my parents worked and I spent a lot of time in day care. I actually believe a lot of my independence came from this so I had no problems believing that I would go a similar route and be a full-time working mom when I came to that point in my life.

Life doesn’t always work out the way you imagine it to. Because I was already pregnant when I left my job and that job was over 45 miles away in LA traffic, it seemed to be the best decision not to look for another job through the pregnancy. And, obviously, I’d stay home with the baby for a while since we didn’t have a need for me to go back to work right away.

And while this was the best decision for me and my family, it was a hard one for me. I have always been the type of person who did multiple things at once. I worked at my day job while being involved in a lot of activities. All of a sudden, I was limited by my own body during the pregnancy. I couldn’t maintain my level of physical activity. Even when we went out socially, I’d get tired a lot. I would have to be careful with what I was doing and where I was going.

Now, let me get one thing straight. Everything I had to do or not do in order to get my beautiful baby, I do not regret. She will always be totally worth it. But this is an emotional time with a lot of change for anyone and I wanted to share what I was feeling (and still sometimes feel).

I’m still going through figuring out who I am now. I’m not the same independent woman I was 3 years ago. I’m now a mom whose primary job is to take care of my child. Until I decide to go back to work (if I choose to do so), my life is about raising my baby. I have to figure out how to reconcile the person I was to the person I am now. It’s difficult. How do you go from being someone who participates in all of these activities to someone who only possibly might be able to do it again some day but not at the moment? You can never go back to being the person you were.

Somehow, a new person has to emerge that combines both the independent woman with the stay at the home mom. And, somehow, I have to learn to become that person.

“Stuff”

Yesterday, we talked about the way Indian women can be treated by men. Actually, this probably ranges past just Indian women to all women in general. The question that was brought up in the discussion after that post was what about the women that stay in a relationship even though they are strong and independent and have a good support system through their friends and family. Why do these women stay in these relationships where they have to deal with their significant other not treating them in the best way possible? Is it just love?

I think I need to explain my definition of love before I talk about if it’s love or not. I think love is a mutual respect for each other. It’s a friendship. It’s putting someone before yourself and understanding when they need to put themselves before you. It’s being there in the good times and bad. It’s really understanding them.

So, I think that a woman putting up with “stuff” from her significant other is not love. I think there’s something else wrong with that statement too. I think if you are in a really loving mature relationship, you are not “putting up” with your significant other. You are there because you want to be there. You have fun with that person and the relationship affects you in a positive way.

My primary concern would be the dealbreakers. If there are certain things that you cannot accept in a relationship, then that is a dealbreaker. You should not be in a relationship with that person. There are universal dealbreakers such as physical and emotional abuse. Then, there are personal ones that have more to do with your experiences and what you want. Everyone’s personal dealbreakers are different. And we can’t judge someone else based on that. What bothers me might not bother you.

So part of the question was if the man isn’t making an effort to be with the woman in the way she wants, why does she still hang around him? Why hasn’t she moved on? They aren’t together, they aren’t apart.

It’s complicated. We all have our weaknesses. And a lot of times, someone we have loved at one point or another is a weakness. It’s hard to get over them. It’s hard to just move on. We know the relationship is not good for us but we really want that person in our life.

It takes strength. It takes a lot of willpower. It really is about recognizing what is good for you as the woman personally and trying to make it a reality. You can’t look backwards and forwards at the same time. And only by closing that door can we open the opportunity for someone who is a positive influence for us and truly can make us happy.

Culture and Women

I had to deal with someone a few days ago that ended up sending me a very demeaning email. I’m not sure what this person’s perspective was for writing it other than his ego was hurt. After talking to a few people about it, the general consensus was that he had a hard time with women who were in a position of authority over him. Now, this person wasn’t the same culture as I am but he was from another culture with a similar background. 

I wanted to touch on this for a second because I still see this. I can see where the women are treated as an accessory and not as a partner. 

I went to an engagement party quite a few months ago. It was interesting because all the men that I saw left their wives by themselves and hung out with their friends and you didn’t really see them talk more than the required amount of social interaction. I remember specifically that one of the wives was talking to me and said “I lose my husband to his boys at these events”. And then she watched my husband come over and check on me and be with me whenever he wasn’t required somewhere else. I felt bad for her. It must suck to feel like you’re not important enough for your husband to pay attention to you at all when you’re at a public event. I understand that some couples have their understanding and that’s how they are but I saw the look on this girl’s face (a really nice girl, by the way, since she really did make me feel welcome as an outsider) when my husband didn’t abandon me. 

One time, my sisters and I had an Indian astrologer tell us if we had been men, we would have ruled the world. I don’t know what he was thinking but I wasn’t planning on my gender dictate what I did with my life. 

So what is this about? Why aren’t women considered equals? The guy from my first example called me stupid in the email. On one hand, he said that I was trying to control everything and, on the other hand, I wasn’t smart enough. 

I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to be taken care of. But it’s also nice to know that you don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do something, to spend something. The women I am lucky to be friends with are strong and independent and really know how to handle the world. They haven’t taken their gender into consideration for anything they have wanted to do. 

My personal opinion is that the weakest guys are the ones who need to keep women weaker than them. If a man is strong, he isn’t intimidated by a strong woman. Instead, he finds that this person matches him in everything and really knows how to use this to progress in life. 

To all my strong, independent women out there. Don’t ever let someone else tell you who you are.