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Situation 1- "I'm a stay-at-home-mom."
"What does she do all day? Poor housewife! How primitive is that ? Working women make better and smarter moms. "
Situation 2- "I'm looking for a good daycare. I've decided to go back to work next month."
"Already? Her baby just turned 9 months old! What's the hurry? How irresponsible of her ! What is wrong with these young mothers these days? "
Situation 3- "I've got to leave office a little early today. It's my child's annual day celebration."
"Huh, did you hear that? Every other day she's leaving early at some pretext or the other. She's just not as dedicated as she used to be."
Situation 4- "I'm planning to stay back at office and finish my backlog of work. My husband is watching the baby."
"See, how ambitious she is! Ready to put her career & herself ahead of her family!"
And I could go on listing situation after situation where women are evaluated, judged and labelled just for trying to actualise their potential & for doing what it is they would like to do or what they consider right. The stay-at-home moms, the working moms, the single ladies- name it and nobody has it easy.
What I wonder though is who are these people judging and labelling us all the time? And the sad conclusion I arrive at every time is that it is none other than our fellow fair sex who target us. And yes, we target them too. We snigger and smirk at the ladies in our office, in our family and all around us. We want to believe that our dressing sense, our parenting, our kids are better than those of everybody else. The decisions we take are far more sane and reasonable, the way we lead our life is the ideal and the only way to do it.
However, my dearest ladies, it is high time we realised that this game of one upmanship will lead us nowhere. All women around the world and not just in our country face the same challenges in varying degrees. Our struggles are the same as are our goals. We all strive to have happy lives, we all strive to look after our families to the best of our abilities. We all have a tendency to put others before ourselves. Why then don't we appreciate that if we are in this together, then we've got to watch each other's back? We have to support each other, we have to stand up for each other. We have to believe that we are a team and the problems one woman faces today may well be the problems others will face tomorrow or have already faced in the past.
We have to share our experiences- good and bad. We have to help each other grow and we have to build each other up. We women comprise half the earth's population- surely we can make things better if we were in sync with each other instead of at each other's throats. Yes, individual differences are bound to be there. And they should exist for our uniqueness to flourish but we must not make them out to be so insurmountable that we stop supporting each other. Being judgmental drives a wedge in any relationship. Let us understand that an educated mother is capable enough to decide what's best for her and her baby. If she chooses to work, great and if she chooses to take a break, it's her decision. Let us not judge her based on what we do in our life. Respecting people means agreeing to disagree. The parenting methods of a mother may be different from ours, but different does not necessarily mean wrong.
Similarly, the way we dress should not be a reflection of how good or how responsible a mother we are. A mother rocking a jeans and tee is as capable of transferring sound human values to her child as anybody else. Similarly, a salwar-suit or sari clad mother may be as tech-savvy and progressive thinking as you can imagine. The beauty of women is that they are beautiful just the way they are- or just the way they choose to be. Judge them not. Let us all stick together, stand by each other and we can make this world a much safer and better place for our children.