Parenthood: Are We Leaning In Or Leaning Out?

So you’ve become a new mother. Congratulations. The tiny feet, the gentle touches, the warms hugs and the many smiles make the journey into motherhood very worth it. But then the questions begin. Questions such as, how do you find the time? Will you love being at home? What will happen when you return to work? Is it hard returning to work after mat leave?

These types of questions are continuously being asked by loved ones and strangers alike. As if that wasn’t enough, there comes a point when mothers begin to question themselves. Doubt creeps in. Mothers question their own place in society, who they are, who they once wore and what if they can’t continue doing what they once loved to do.

Here is the thing. For men these questions almost never arise. To this day, men are expected to return to work. They are expected to climb the corporate ladder. They are never asked if it is hard to return to work or be at home.  Fatherhood is just different.

Being ambitious as a mother or mother-to-be is a continuous battle. Guilt plagues the mind with the thought of being away from your own child. The moment a woman becomes pregnant, life changes as the once ambitious woman begins to re-think about the choices that are left for her.

The truth is there are still many choices available for women. However, it will take an incredible amount of awareness from both men and women to make these choices a reality for women. For example, men who choose to take pat leave should have the full freedom to do so without there being a stigma in the workplace for taking that leave. Likewise, women and men should encourage mothers to step into making choices that are right for them. Not because of guilt and what is expected of them. But because women have a right to fulfill their own purpose without the added guilt attached to it.

The balancing act is a partnership. Both men and women should be active players at home with the kids. It’s not a woman’s ‘duty’. That time has passed. It’s time for us to all step in, lean in and make things happen.