Motherhood In 21st Century
For a child still clings to his mother and society still insists she is the primary caregiver.
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It takes a village.
The golden adage is indeed apt for those struggling to juggle high-stress workplace, networking, home and family and of course a child. Especially a small one. While the demands of a child have not changed in this century, it is startling to know that social structures haven’t either. For a child still clings to his mother and society still insists she is the primary caregiver. Still, the old ways prevail and a village it takes (definitely) to raise a child.
Although a nuclear family may not allow for such a privilege, I am one of the lucky ones. We live in a joint family and my parental home is a few minutes away. This provided a clear advantage – juggling daily schedules with someone’s availability (whoever, wherever, whenever), though gruelling, was possible. And income levels ensured that ‘didis’ were around to take care of the physical work. And so it was that my son, now 11, grew to be an independent strong-willed boy taking his own decisions.
As a proud mother, I can say all the good things – that he is empathic, confident and not demanding of my time. But the real qualities are not so apparent, something that I found out during one of our annual family trips to Greece. For reference, it may be prudent to explain a little about what I do – for the last 5 years I have been running a travel start-up. We manage small boutique resorts for short breaks. Being a VC funded startup, the pressures on growth and deadlines are immense and decision-making is a joint effort. So, just like my venture, our trips usually are in boutique resorts and offbeat places. While shooting a video on I-phone, he casually mentioned what he wanted to do when he grew up – “I want a place which is large, enough to house many people at once, who will live together and become friends. These places will exist all around the world.”
“Will the guests pay”, I asked. “No”, he said. “They will each do something to run the house – maybe cook, or clean, or maintain the house. No money will be needed and they will stay for a fixed amount of time.” Hmmm. Interesting, I thought. “How did you think of this?”, I asked. “It’s the same as you mom. I will be the CEO. I will work as hard as you. I will set up 100 places. And it will be interesting because I will get to travel the world when I set these places up!”
This conversation made me realize so many things at once – that he appreciated what I did, that he thought it had some value, that he knew the scale of it, that he had noticed how people travel and what they want, and above all - that he was proud. There have been many instances after this that highlights just this. Once when my husband and I were talking about a buyout, he exclaimed, “You have to be CEO all your life!” Another time I heard him explain to some cousins, “My mom is the CEO, she doesn’t have time to do your bookings!”
Children do emulate their parent’s ways. And because society acknowledges women entrepreneurs, it is easy for them to accept working moms. Not just accept, appreciate. And appreciate all the perks and the benefits that come along with it. I am happy I make my child proud. And I am happy that he is happy.
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