Musings of a Mum: Mind the gap

29th Nov 2019

For as long as I can remember there have been gaps in my life; gaps between what is expected of me, and my inability to meet these expectations with a by-product of guilt.

This sense of guilt permeates all aspects of my life and it is often crippling.
In my teen years, I distinctly remember waiting for my last growth spurt – which never arrived, and the duckling never quite turned into a swan. As a professional, not getting to everything that I needed to get to, to create an excellent product; my profession getting the best part of me at the cost of my relationships which have been my greatest sources of strength.

These struggles are fairly normal, but I question the de facto presence of guilt in all aspects of life.

I remember listening to a talk given by Madeleine Albright who was then Secretary of State under the Clinton Administration and someone in the audience asked her about balancing family life with her professional responsibilities.
She aptly replied: ‘As a woman, guilt is my middle name.’

As you age, you make conscious choices which define the course of your life. That ever-pervasive guilt does not disappear, in spite of the consciousness of your decisions; you just learn to live with it, like an annoying physical anomaly that refuses to budge from your reflection.

I recently sat down to revamp my CV after a very long break. I had stopped paid employment before my eldest was born and being a mother is a vocation I have chosen to adopt full-time.

There was a huge gap in my CV. After a decade of taking care of my children, my contributions to society equate to a single line in a document full of my other achievements.

Why do my care-giving contributions not count?

Where does the guilt due to a lack of supposed achievement come from? Who gets to decide what I have chosen to do is worthy and why do all women feel it? I feel it comes from the fact that our value system is still determined by a patriarchal society.

Even with the rise of feminism and equality; what women choose to value is no different to that which men have given value to for time immemorial. Therefore, activities that generate tangible wealth and power still hold more value than care-giving which has historically been delivered by women.

In the rise of equality, both genders have to evolve out of a patriarchal system which would then enable and empower women (and men!) to redefine what is most valuable to humanity; the care of its most vulnerable members.

And that reflects the best of the human spirit.

Aasiya I Versi

One Response to “Musings of a Mum: Mind the gap”

Fatema ValjiJanuary 2, 2020

‘Even with the rise of feminism and equality; what women choose to value is no different to that which men have given value to for time immemorial. Therefore, activities that generate tangible wealth and power still hold more value than care-giving which has historically been delivered by women.
In the rise of equality, both genders have to evolve out of a patriarchal system which would then enable and empower women (and men!) to redefine what is most valuable to humanity; the care of its most vulnerable members.’

I couldn’t agree more!

Reply

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