Woman’s identity

“Do you work?” somebody asks.

“No, I don’t work.” I reply.

That response does not sit well with me. I am instantly feeling judged. Might be unwarranted. I am feeling a bit unimportant. Am I? A good friend of mine commented that I should be punished for getting an MBA because I had taken away somebody else’s opportunity and then thrown it away. Is my MBA an utter waste just because I had quit my corporate life?




I am an MBA in Finance and I was working with a Multinational company earning more money than I knew how to spend it, when my husband’s job took us overseas. I could not work there because work visas were not allotted for my line of work. Soon I got pregnant and became a full time Stay at home Mom. By the time the first one was a little older, I decided to have my second kid.

Circumstances led me to be a Stay at home mom(SAHM). It was not a conscious choice. However, in retrospect it was probably the best thing that happened to me and my kids and I would like to think, my husband too. He has had the opportunity to pursue his career unfettered. He does not have to think twice before going for a conference, going to watch the world cup in the West Indies or going out for a drink with work buddies. No questions asked. I had nowhere to go. I am a stay at home mom.




When my second one was two years old, I began to feel decided pangs of not having an identity of my own. I have to admit that in a way I was glad that the decision to be a SAHM was pretty made for me because of my situation, because I really value and treasure those days of my children’s infancy when I could be with them 24/7. But once my younger one was a toddler, I began to feel that something is missing for me. “Mom” as the sole title was not good enough. I wanted something more.

So I wanted to get out and do something for myself. I wanted to be somebody. I wanted a life. A life beyond dirty diapers, dirty dishes and TV shows. In a way yes, the housewife is on a permanent vacation. She has no deadlines to keep, no projects to complete. Or maybe it is just that I am no Martha Stewart, and housekeeping and crocheting just don’t excite me. But every vacation needs a beginning and an end or else it stops being a vacation.

So I got my Masters in Education after being a SAHM for 6 years. My younger child was 2 years old. I was proud to have breastfed him for that period of time. But now it was time for me to move on to do something for myself. I was in the USA and a degree in education sounded like a good idea. It was a slog. Two kids, travelling husband and bleary winters do not make for an easy journey. Throw in an Indian teacher into the heart of white Minnesota and things were interesting. I was proud of my accomplishment. Whenever people asked me what I was doing, it felt good to say, “I am pursuing a Master’s in Education”. It sounded a helluva lot better than, “I am not working”. Though I do personally know a few women who decided to go back to work after trying the SAHM routine for a couple of months and deciding that it was too hard.




But during that time, I felt I barely saw my kids. I was overloaded with homework and lesson plan preparation, I hardly had time to just enjoy my kids and I missed that. I found myself growling a lot more and being nasty because I was creaking under the pressure of the dozen deadlines that I had to keep.

Women… we want it all. We want to be educated, talented, ‘kinda’ attractive, ‘considered’ intelligent, accomplished..and we also want to be good mothers, spouse, interior decorators, housekeepers…. the list is endless. At some point, we make decisions that determine the trajectory that our lives take. The proverbial grass always looks greener on the other side. Working women are envious of the stay at home mom who shoos off her kids and spouse and sits down to drink a good cup of coffee in peace… the home maker is jealous of her counterpart who wears fancy suits and goes to ‘conferences’ in exotic locations. Both probably had the same education, but made very different choices. Is anybody completely happy with the choices that they make?