I remember all the fights and taunts that you had to endure to just be able to work. You were, lucky, as many women may think, because at least you got to have a say. At least your family let you work when you put up a resistance. Many others, do not even get to voice the desire to step outside of their house to work. But I know it was not easy for you. You had to young daughters. You were married into a reputed family. How could a family woman with two young children to care go to work, instead of staying at home? What would people say? Would they wonder if we had financial problems? Won’t they taunt us for not keeping you comfortable? Was it a good idea to leave your daughters to reheat their meals once they got back home from school? To trust that they will sit down to do their homework, and not watch television or play instead?
Being a working woman was not easy for you. You had to get up at five in the morning to cook our breaksfast, prepare our tiffin boxes and lunch. A relative once taunted you how our father had to eat “stale” rotis, that you had cooked five in the morning for lunch. There was a time when my sister cut her chin and had to be taken to the hospital. You cried when you got home. You almost resigned. But then you found strength. And above everything else you developed a thick skin.
Did I hate you for putting your desire to work over our comfort? Never. Because that is the life I have known. We sat down to study, we played when we wanted to, we heated the lunch and cleared the dining table after father was finished with his meal and then left for work again. We grew responsible at an early age. We have turned out fine. But it was only later in my life that I understood how your refusal to bent and to quit your job impacted me.
Today I am a working woman myself. I have a child and a family to care for. And while everyone around me is very supportive there are days when life gets rough. When work-life balance become a tussle and I am tempted to quite the former and focus on family. But then I think of you. I think of all the taunts and criticism that you braved, just so that you could work. It was like an obsession. A one point-goal for you. You were and aren’t a big spender. You can lead a comfortable life of retirement. But you still work, to this day. You commitment to stay employed has found its way to my mindset.
So whenever I am tempted to quit. To resign to being a home maker and not an earning woman, because I know I can afford, something stirs in me. No, I have to work, a voice tells me. Even if I don’t need the money (which I obviously do), even if I am not a big spender, even if I have no financial obligations. I have now realised that it is your voice, that inspires me to work.
So thank you mumma, for never giving up your job. You were stubborn. You were a little selfish. And I know you deserved that and so do I.
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