Posted by: Brigitte Rozario Post(s) by this blogger
While women in the past fought to have a career and to join the workforce, some women today are opting for the reverse - giving up careers to stay at home and raise the children.
Should a woman give up her career to
stay home with the children?
Says Anna Ch'ng, mother of a nine-year-old girl:
My daughter is now in Year Three. I stopped working when she was in Year One. I had been working all this while as a secretary.
When I was working my daughter was going to the babysitter who is also my good friend and lives next door to us. I knew she would be in good hands. That's why I didn't think of quitting.
I told my husband that when she started primary school I would stop because I have always felt that when children start primary school, the time spent in school is almost half a day and a lot of things happen there. My daughter has always been very attached to me even when I was working because she is quite vocal so she likes to talk a lot. That's why I feel it's high time I stopped working to be with her especially when she comes home from school and has a lot of stories to tell me. As I told my husband, I want to be the one who takes her to school and give her encouragement, especially when it comes to exams.
I know I didn't make the wrong decision because the minute I pick her up from school she starts talking about what happened in school. I feel it's important that you get to know first hand what goes on in your child's life. If I were still working she would have to wait till I came home to tell me her stories and sometimes we just wouldn't have the time.
I asked her if I should quit my job before I quit. She answered, 'Yeah, mum, you should have stopped a long time ago.' I started to feel guilty and I asked her about it further. She answered, 'No, mum. It's okay. What I'm trying to tell you is I only feel your absence during the school holidays.'
Quitting my job was always the plan coupled with the fact that as she grew up I saw that she liked to chat with me and I felt that if I didn't quit she wouldn't have the chance to talk to me.
Financially we are affected a bit by my quitting but I have learnt not to spend as much. When I was working whatever I felt like buying I would just buy because I had my own salary. Now, if I buy anything it is just items for my daughter and I no longer do any impulse buys.
Because of my age, I don't think I will be going back to work. I am 49 now.
I have no regrets about quitting my job to stay home with my daughter.
Zanita Anuar, mother of two boys and two girls aged four to 15, works as the director of research and exhibition at the National Art Gallery:
I did not think of quitting when I had my first three children. I only started to think about it when I had my fourth child because by then I felt that I had gained enough clout in my career that if I were to work from home I could survive. I thought I had reached the top of the glass ceiling at my workplace and being home I could be with my fourth child and watch her grow.
But then I got promoted to head of a department. I've had to become the No. 2 and on occasion the acting director-general of the art gallery. Then I felt that I couldn't just leave because too many people depend on this institution. So I was in two minds - leave, don't leave, leave, don't leave.
I decided to stay on.
I'm missing out on cooking for my kids. I missed out on some of the children's first change from diaper to being toilet trained. Sometimes I didn't get to follow that because there's a maid.
However, I try to spend the holidays with them and when I have to work on weekends I bring them with me to conferences or courses. I'm glad my husband is around to spend time with them while I have to be at a course or conference.
I think it's better for my family that I keep working because they begin to appreciate who I am because of what I do. They even ask about art and my work.
Sometimes when we're having too much fun they ask me to stay home instead of going to work. So, now I begin to actively take holidays. I actually plan my holidays into the calendar instead of just taking leave only when there are school holidays. Now I take leave during all the children's birthdays. I spend one day with that child on their birthday no matter where we celebrate it, even if it's just walking in the mall. We just spend time together as I think I should make up for lost time.
I would be a completely different person if I did not continue working but then the question is working where? I could work from home. Sometimes when I take leave then I work from home. So, it's just a matter of adjusting the work.
I learnt a lot having taken this path. You just have to take the path and then you'll know and the path will continue; it's just going to be designed to certain convenient distractions when required. Because, in the end, it's all by design. You can really take control of it. You cannot say that you don't have control over your career or that you don't have control over your life at home. You can. It's just excuses. Your negotiations may not work. But you cannot use that as an excuse.
I don't think people have to quit. Why do people see it as either you work or you stay home? It doesn't have to be one or the other. My family is very much into my work.