BEING A PARENT IN THE XXI CENTURY

12:00 PM

Ines Lopes


It has been about nine months since my life gave a huge flip, and I find myself at home raising my first child.

At first, whenever people asked me what do I do for a living the answer that always came to my mind was "I do not have a job at the moment". Until I reminded myself that I'm actually performing the most rewarded and important job I could perform, and with it, my answer changed to "I'm focusing on raising my child full-time".

Just because my job is not paid in cash, doesn't mean that it has any less value.

Being someone that has been working since the age of seventeen, the possibility of being at home with my child and "no job" is still something that I am adapting nowadays. Don't take me wrong, if there is anyone who appreciates and is truly grateful for this opportunity it's me. The opportunity to not only be with my child but have the bigger say in her education, together with David of course. However it is, especially nowadays, considered a privileged position, and this can be seen by others as something not as good or necessary.

Back in the days

A few generations ago, men were the ones going out and financially supporting the family whilst women would stay at home and their bigger role was to take care of the house, groceries and educate the kids whilst looking presentable at all times. Throughout history, women fought so hard for their emancipation that ended up in a less privileged position in certain aspects. Fast-forwarding in time, women are now expected to continue doing all the house chores, take care of the children, look presentable and on top of that have a full-time job. Well, there's so much a person can bear with a smile on her face.

Snowball effect

For most families, it became impossible to live out of just one salary, obliging both mother and father to stay out for the most part of the days, consequently having to pay to someone to take care and educate their children during their absence.

Nowadays, a vast majority of children spend more time without their parents and inside a school system that has still a lot to evolve.

There is nothing wrong in choosing to get back to work immediately after having a child. Everyone is different and has their own beliefs and priorities. I just wish that everyone would at least have the opportunity to make this choice for themselves and not have to choose between feeding their kids or educate them the way they want to.

Around the world

Whilst in some countries like Japan, for example, women are expected to entirely drop out of their careers after having the first child and are poorly judged for doing otherwise, in some European countries, women are expected to leave their babies as young as two/three months old at the daycare for entire days in order to go back to work. Not to mention some countries like the US where a vast majority of the states do not even provide a supporting system for maternity leave at all.

Because of all of these differences in education, some people believe that children who are at home with their parents become a "wild thing" with no human interaction, shy, lazy, unintelligent and that children who spend days at the daycare are more intelligent and not only develop their motor skills quicker, also their social abilities are more evolved. Well, that couldn't be more wrong.

Are kids any less intelligent or social for staying at home?

In my most honest opinion, if you believe that your child would not benefit from having your full attention and from you providing them education, it simply means you do not believe in your capabilities of raising your own child. I do not mean that in a judgmental way. Not all of us have the confidence, patience or even feel the need to actively raise a child (especially after an eight-hour shift and three hours commute every day) I completely understand that and that's totally OK. That's one of the reasons why daycares were created after all. Just don't come telling me that my kid is any less because I am the one educating her on the first years of her life.

There's more to life than work and money

There are studies showing that kids can actually grow with a feeling of abandonment for staying away from their parents for so many hours in a day.

Even what it seems like just a few hours for an adult, may seem like an eternity for a child. I was alway so sad watching my parents go away after leaving me at the kindergarten. That same feeling was still alive at the end of the day independently of how much I liked my colleagues or the activities that we were doing. This lasted for years.

I vividly remember feeling down and sorry for spending barely any time with my parents. They would come back home around eight o'clock in the evening completely exhausted from their work. We would be together for a couple of hours and I would see them again the next day to give them a kiss before going back to school. Being a six-years-old comparing the hours that I would stay in school with the yearly hours that I would spend with my parents, was far too depressing. Not to mention the absurd amount of homework that I used to bring home to do on my "free time with my parents". Just crazy if you ask me.

My biggest fear

Every time I think of putting a child into this world, I do it in a rational way. Meaning that, for the most part, she/he is here to do better for the world and his surroundings, the whole social and physical experience of being a mother it's a plus, something pleasurable that comes afterward. Thus, it only makes sense in my head that I am the one providing for their education. My biggest fear was never to physically give birth to a child but to actually raise and educate a person to turn out to be good.

I know for certain that my kid will have her own ideas and ideals (heck that's all I'm hoping for) but I want to give her the best foundation that I can for her to grow up to be confident, intelligent and smart enough to know what's best and consequently pass that to her friends, siblings, own family and everyone around her.

Conclusion

So, in the end, we are working (most of the times in something we don't even like) to pay for services that we wouldn't need otherwise.

With all this,  I don't want to make the parents who have to work to stay alive to feel bad either. The decision we took wasn't easy and it took me a while getting used to the idea of not bringing money home too. But at the end of the day, we don't mind living with fewer luxuries if that means that we get a full-time part of our daughter's life at the time she needs us the most.

The big trips around the world can wait for when she better appreciates them. The upgraded car can wait for when we are a bigger family. The fancy stuff can also wait for we have all that we need and could ask for in order to live a happy and balanced life. And we are so grateful for that!

I hope that no matter in which situation you're currently living, this post brings you some inspiration and perhaps the courage to live exactly the way you want to, whatever that means for you. And if not, at least to help you not to judge for the way other people want to live their own lives.






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2 comments

  1. adorei ler isto, visto que tambem fui mãe recentemente (6 meses), e embora va ter que voltar ao trabalho fiz de tudo para passar para part time porque quero estar o maximo possivel com a minha filha. mas se pudesse preferia ser stay at home mom ehehe nao ha nada melhor! no entanto tenho sorte de ela puder ficar sempre em casa com o pai e nao numa creche..

    btw awesome tatt!

    https://rrriotdontdiet.blogspot.pt/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obrigada! E muitos parabéns!!! Pois é, ter alguém como o pai ou até os avós é outra coisa :) Ser stay at home mom também não é para todos, há dias difíceis mas em breve abordarei esse assunto também ;) Aproveita bem cada momento. É uma delicia!

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