Women following the conventional path, often find themselves at crossroads. And I am no different. There is always the dilemma of living life for myself or for the family.
The decision has to be made and no matter what I choose, I lose out on something. But that’s how life is- a roller coaster ride. I have many choices to make. The path I take may not always be the right one. Yet I don’t regret it.
I made a conscious decision and I own it. And I take pride in the fact that I can make my own decisions. Yes, as petty as it may sound, the freedom to make choices is something that doesn’t come easily in this patriarchal society.
So yes, I respect every choice I make. I have #NoRegrets whatsoever. Every step I took in life, taught me something new. If the outcome was not the desired one, I knew I had to find a way out.
There was no place for guilt.
The Career Path I Chose
Fortunately or unfortunately, my career path up until now was always defined by the circumstances I was in. It was about mending my ways for the family: first for the love of my life and then the little one. But no one coerced me into it.
I consciously made those choices for there was a time I did not know how to love myself or how to prioritize myself. In fact, I did not even know who I was, what I wanted in life and what my priorities were.
So with every decision I took, I was more mature, I was growing as an individual and becoming a better decision-maker. Not that there was never any remorse or regrets, however, it was always short-lived. For, every single step I took in my life, it resulted in a better version of me. Hence, I have #NoRegrets to where I stand today.
The Pursuit of My Love
In order to marry the love of my life, it took tremendous efforts, persuasions, arguments and time to convince my parents. Their biggest concern was the difference in socio-economic status.
Nevertheless, I was adamant about marrying him despite bringing a “bad name” to the family. Initially, after the marriage, it was really difficult to adjust in a family where everyone was conditioned in a totally different manner than me.
I was expected to adjust according to them. This meant lowering my standards. Maybe, I could have adjusted a little, for the love of my husband. But I didn’t always give in. I told them what was feasible for me and drew clear lines when things weren’t feasible.
And I have no regrets about the differences and arguments that came along the way. What matters the most is, we are still standing strong as a couple and my husband supports and understands me better.
Leaving My Job for My Kid
Giving up a career was never easy. But I had to take that calculated risk. I had to decide whether I would be a working mom who would continue to support the family financially and further advance my career. Or if I would stay at home as the full-time care provider.
Initially, both these paths were scary to me. But, I followed my heart and chose to stay home with my daughter. To make this difficult decision, I took the time to think long and hard about the benefits and the consequences of my choice.
I saved a decent amount of money before quitting the job so as to not put undue pressure on myself. And here I am, a full-time mom, giving my undivided attention to my kid.
I am also finding new meaning in my life by exploring newer things and discovering my passion. Well to be honest, yes there are times of desperation, times when I question my choice. But the very next moment I remind myself that the choice I made was the best possible one at that given time.
Not Giving Up on My House helps
Wait what? House help? How is that even a part of regrets. Well, it is.
I thought the most difficult decision in my life was to whether to leave my job or not. Surprisingly, except my parents, everyone welcomed that decision. But there was a greater decision to be made which I was not even aware of. The decision to continue keeping the help or not.
In a typical Indian conservative household, ‘‘the lady of the house’ is supposed to cook. I have always cooked as per my convenience and not as a necessity. And I have two house helps- one for cleaning and one for cooking.
The moment I left my job, I was expected to let the kitchen help go by almost everyone– right from the ‘well-wishing’ neighbour to nosy aunties to the help herself!
Because hey, what else would you do at home, if not cook? What I couldn’t comprehend was why I had to fire someone else for my decision to quit my job. Anyway, I still have my wonderful support system in those women and unaffected by what others think or say.
Taking a break from my responsibilities
The moment a woman talks about taking some time out for herself, she is frowned upon. She is condemned even more if she is a mother. A mother is expected to be so sacrificial that she puts nothing above her children.
But let me admit, I am no Mother India. I do not fit into the “ideal mother” figure but I don’t care because taking some time off is an integral part of me.
It is the essence of my sanity. And thankfully my husband too, encourages me to take out some time for myself. Well, who wants a crazy, frustrated and exhausted wife by his side? And how much the society wants me to go through a guilt trip every time I keep myself above my kid, I absolutely have no regrets.
Living a life of no regrets myself, I was quite delighted to chance upon a book by Kaveree Bamzai titled “No Regrets : The Guilt-Free Woman’s Guide To A Good Life.”
I am thrilled to know the perspective of Kaveree and other highly accomplished women like Naina Lal Kidwai, Sudha Murthy, Sania Mirza, among others about living a guilt free life.
This post was previously published here