Why is the work of raising another human being not seen as as valuable as spending a whole day making a spreadsheet?
This question was running through my head last year. It all started when I moved with my family due to my husband’s job relocation. About that time my daughter was 2 years old. In order to make this relocation smoother for her, we decided I should stop working for a while until we had a new house, a new routine and a good pre-school.
I’m 36 years-old, and I have been working since I was 16. I have been working for 20 years. Girls from my generation were raised to study, work, have a career, and be successful. For me and for many women, to take a career break is just like to giving up on one of the most important parts of ourselves.
Every time I meet someone — I bet this happens the same way to you too — a small talk starts this way:
- “Hi! How are you?” usually this is a rhetorical question, they don’t want to know the real answer. To be polite, just answer “Fine! And you?”
- “What are you doing?” this is the part when people actually want to know where are you working, and if you are successful in your career.
It’s OK, it is how our society works. I’m not criticizing this — not yet.
When I had a job, these small talks looked really normal to me. When I took this break to dedicate time to my family and the answer to the question was “I’m at home, taking care of my kid”, I felt a little shameful and I could see on their faces a slightly disappointed smile followed by this question “So, you stopped working?”. I just answered that question but people just couldn’t believe it and asked again!
I started to talk with other moms about this situation and all of them described a similar scenario to me. They told me “Don’t worry, you feel ashamed at the beginning but at some point, you get used to it and you’ll stop given a sh*t about what people think”. I don’t like that feeling that I have to get used to something that hurts me. What about other women?
We all have to face this and stay calm just because it will pass?
I did some research and discovered that in some articles in top-publications, such as Forbes, World Economic Forum and Quartz indicate that having kids actually improves your productivity. During this time we increase our degree of empathy and improve some essential soft skills, like organization, planning, teamwork and much more.
Because of this, I decided to create a project to document my point of view on this issue, and to put all this information together in one place to help other moms to reflect about their career and personal lives. Every woman can be whatever they want and we should never have to decide between having kids or having a career. Life is full of adventures, we can have both and learn from every single experience.
I hope this project helps women to be aware of the soft skills we learn and be proud of them.
To learn more about this project, visit the website.