Featured image_Motherhood Myths A Mothers’ dreams must be only for her family

Motherhood Myths – A Mothers’ dreams must be only for her family

A school friend of mine, Bhuvana, is super talented. But just yesterday, she said to me, “you should write a post in your series “Motherhood Myth – A Mothers’ dreams must be only for her family. She can have none for herself.”

I was not surprised.

Bhuvana’s voice is melodious (think Lata Mangeshkar), and she has been trained in Carnatic Music from the time she was 5 years old. She is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, trained from age seven onwards. In college, she learnt several western dance forms as well. She doesn’t walk – she glides. Every move is so graceful. She draws, she paints, and she has had several short stories published by the time she was 25.

But all of that talent went into deep freeze, when she got married. I remember her aunt saying, “you’ve had your fun, it’s now time to settle down and accept your responsibilities.”

She married and raised her children. But still she’d sing along with the songs playing on the music systems and her foot would tap to the rhythm. A couple of weeks back, she was eager to accept an opportunity to sing with an indie Carnatic group. Her children are adults and in post-graduate programmes. The family was shocked – “at your age? You should be focusing on your children and support them to achieve their dreams. Next, you’ll want to tour. Who will take care of things at home?” 

No wonder she is bitter. At every juncture, she has been held back from realizing her potential.

Can a Mother Dream?

How many of us have heard something similar? How many of us have run into this as an unstated expectation?

“Oh, your child is so young. How will he cope if you go off to work?”

“A woman is the lynchpin that holds the family together. Your job is to support your family in achieving their dreams. Everyone can’t do their own thing

“You have so many responsibilities – do you need this work stuff?”

“Pack up all this frivolous work business – be a good wife and mother”

“Your husband is a good provider – what are you going to achieve by going to work?”

Here’s our perspective:

By going to work, we respect ourselves. We acknowledge our talents, our education and that we contribute through our expertise and a unique point of view formed by our experience in life. We’re as entitled to earning respect through our accomplishments and achievements as is any other human on this planet.

We’re better partners and parents, precisely because we bring an alternate perspective to solving a problem. Our opinion is valued because it has been formed by exposure to colleagues and situations at work that we’ve handled admirably.

The Power of Self-Fulfillment Balancing Motherhood and Personal Growth

When we allow others to craft our reality (mothers must have no dreams of their own), we’re accepting that they’re right. We need to stop assuming that anyone (including parents, husband, friends) is right about how we must live our lives. As adults, we have agency (defines as ‘the feeling of control over actions and their consequences’). Let us exercise the discipline to think for ourselves about the pros and cons, and work on finding the right path for ourselves.

There is no debate – the first priority for any of us, woman or man, is our families. But, as educated and capable women, we must live our own lives and fulfill our dreams as well. Otherwise, at the end of our lives, we will have only our children to define who we were.

Chase your Dreams! (1280 × 720 px)

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Over the past two years, we’ve spoken with over 300 women who have decided to restart their careers. Over 90% of them are mothers who have taken a career break to care for family. Some themes recurred in over 80% of the conversations, and we thought we should address them in a series of blogposts titled Motherhood Myths. This is the third post in the series. If you haven’t read them, here are the other posts in the series

  1. Motherhood Myths – A Mother must be Selfless
  2. Motherhood Myths – Children of Working Mothers are Neglected
  3. Motherhood Myths – Mothers must always ‘just be there’ 

indePenn coaches and prepares women on a career break returning to work, to present themselves as confident professionals.

Visit us at indePenn.com and Sign Up – we’ll handhold you through the process of getting back to work.

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