Reliable childcare arrangements make it possible to juggle a career and family, and for that, women are eternally grateful. The setup doesn’t just benefit moms, allowing them to pursue a passion and earn an income; it also benefits kids too. But as a new LinkedIn post reminds us, working mothers are still judged when they leave their children with others.
Kiran Somvanshi, Ph.D., is a business journalist at Indian newspaper The Economic Times. She and her husband were recently called to an interview with the principal of a school providing admission to their daughter.
“The principal made it very clear that she is not happy with the current profile of working parents who outsource their parenting to the grandparents or daycare,” she wrote in her post on the networking site.
Kiran posed the following question to school administrators with that outlook: “Why do we make our daughters study and seek professional education? Why not homeschool them—providing some basic education instead? They have to eventually raise kids and focus on providing them enough time, attention and the right parenting.”
She found the comment especially surprising since the school staff was mostly women. Wouldn’t teachers with kids have to outsource childcare while they worked?
But the journalist didn’t let the incident get her down—and hopes other women with careers won’t be fazed in similar situations.
“Social pressure on working mothers comes in various forms—from family, from friends, from schools and from workplaces. Hats off to all the working mothers that have overcome such pressures and are striving to balance their work and family! That doesn’t also mean that it is wrong to be a full-time mother—provided it is not a forced choice.”
The focus on moms instead of dads is understandable. Women, to this day, are expected to be the primary caregivers to their kids and are criticized for having jobs outside the home. Men with families aren’t.
In the comments section, people were floored by the principal’s mindset.
One commenter had been in the same scenario. “The school principal asked why I needed to work. It was as if working parents = middle class families = no time for children. When I politely mentioned that she was a lady herself and so were most of the teachers, her prompt reply was that they don’t spend as much time at the workplace as a marketing person! Eight years on, nothing has changed!” the user wrote.
“To hear a school give this feedback is disheartening and doesn’t say much for the messages we are sending our children,” another replied.
One user called the principal’s expectation “sad” and discouraged Kiran from considering the school any longer. “In my personal view, there is no way one can completely outsource parenting as working parents. We can only seek support from grandparents or daycare on their terms,” the user added.
The idea that a woman can follow her dreams while raising a family should be celebrated, not frowned upon. We’re glad Kiran and the people who viewed her post realize the principal is out of touch. Working moms already have enough on their plate without shame and guilt added to the pile.