Unfit for maintenance or motherhood?

Let me narrate a story today.

Due to irretrievable breakdown of her marriage, Sunita is standing at the brink of a divorce. She has two sons, aged 4 and 1 yrs. Though she is a postgraduate by education, she has never worked a day outside the house. She got married soon after completing her education and her husband did not wish his wife should go to work. Plus, Sunita was not an ambitious girl who aspired to gain financial independence or make a mark of her own. Today, after 6 years of marriage, she was standing at cross-roads and wondered what her future entailed.

Legally, as she is educated, she should get a job and become financially independent as she has decided to part ways with her husband. Further, as she desires the custody of her sons, she needs to make sure that her job is good enough to support them for getting maintenance for children from father is a long drawn process. Plus, even if it starts, it usually is not enough (generally).

So Sunita goes to work. What next? Her darling husband claims that she is a bad mother as she is not available for her sons.

So what should she do? Work for she cannot get maintenance for herself or stay at home to make sure her sons get proper attention and care as before? Should she sacrifice maternal instincts if she wants to get out a bad marriage? Are paternal feelings questioned when fathers go out for work and many a times barely see their kids during the week? No, never. And the way I understand, it is rather a guilt played upon by our society on women.

For instance, I joined worked when my girl turned 4 months old. An old aunt came to my rescue and when my girl was 6 months old, she began going to daycare. As she took to the change well, my transition was also easier and guilt non-existent. Still the most common comment which came my way in reference to my girl, “Bechari ladki” (poor girl) or comments to harp on increasing my supposed guilt. Why? Did these aunties have nothing to talk to? Probably yes!

Who says getting out of a bad marriage is easy for a girl? The social stigma and burdens abound but slowly in the urban society, a change is coming, even if it is a rather slow one. Today she has options. Today families do tend to support their girls — something which men term “interference of in-laws as a cause of breakdown of their marriage”. While saying that they don’t realise that if it was their sisters having issues in the matrimonial house, they too may have supported the ladies. But then why understand it? Isn’t it much easier to put all the blame on the “weaker section” and move on. After all, I am the man. I am the one who carry the name of my forefathers to posterity! Right? But my dear you forget, there wouldn’t have been any forefathers and there won’t be any posterity if there weren’t any women in the family.

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