Every moment of our life we make choices. We do this based on our intuition and desires. However, human nature is that we have to always judge choices of others. Parents do this probably more than anyone else. Judgement is especially prevalent in the multicultural society – similar to what we have in the Brussels expat community. We all come from different cultural, educational and social backgrounds. What might be totally acceptable for one, it can be totally contradictory for another. The best way, I found, to live in this environment, is to just to do as I feel is the best for my needs.
That is the thing. We all have different needs. When I became a mother almost 2 years ago, I had made up my mind, that only being a mother was not enough for me. I needed to go back to work, I needed to create something more. And more could be at least in my dreams, a better world for my children to live. But I also needed to be a mother. So I created a routine for myself, and I have been a working mother since the last 20 months or so. I took boys to the daycare at the age of 6 months. And I do not feel bad at all about this. They learn and develop there. I can see how much they love the atmosphere in the daycare every morning when I drop them off.
Besides my needs, as a mother of 2 boys, I feel enormous responsibility what kind of gender image they will grow-up and live with. Parents of both girls and boys carry this responsibility on a different levels. The recent study showed that daughters of working mothers tend have better careers and more equal relationships. There are numerous studies coming out every year and commissioned by various interests groups. We have to take this kind of studies with the pinch of salt and read it fully instead of the media headlines, in order to understand them well. However, one thing I came to realise is that a lot of civic education of our children takes place at home. I believe that in our life it is important that boys get to understand from an early age that women can have many roles in life.
Because I choose this way, it does not mean that I think that this is the only way how to live in 2015. There are many other parents out there who make different choices – to stay at home. Or others, who do not have a choice and have to go back to work. And those who do not have job and want to have one. As long as we have an option to choose and we stand by those choices, that is all right.
I believe some of us are better parents because we stay at home with our kids, and others are better parents because they choose to go back to work. I believe that I am a better parent this way, because no matter how tired I am in the evening, I always find that energy to play with them, to read for them and to be a child with them.
There are others who do the exact same by choosing to stay at home and spending more time with their children. There are those who need and want to spend more time with their children and this is perfectly fine. I think we have to be more compassionate to those who do not have these choices and are obliged to do either/ or.
There are many of us who have different needs, different aspirations, and dreams. Even if when our dreams might be the same, we also might have different ways of realising those dreams. Our children, as well as societies, should accept us the way we are and the way we choose. Simply because this is what we choose and this is what we stand for.