The child back home

Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, May 18th, 2017


So the father goes to work and the mother remains at home to take care of the children, right? And dad basically earns for the family while mom performs her duties of being a stay home parent taking care of the household and children, their education, etc. Well let’s press the brakes real hard here because it seems like we are reminiscing through the years when we had less ambition!


Workplaces are obviously open for men and women and thus husbands and wives can secure employment and earn more for the family. Education and media have facilitated such progress in Bangladesh and equal opportunity is no longer in the ‘dark ages’ – well, in most cases at least! However, it is by no means easy for working parents provided they are labeled as parents and not just husband and wife since with the label ‘parent’ comes an added responsibility – children.


The manner and rate at which businesses are becoming increasingly competitive is clearly unmatched and this means higher levels of performance is desired by the employer. Married couples with no children still enjoy the freedom of working long hours provided they are content with the returns and consequently do not experience the momentary breakdowns of what is actually breaking down at home! Let’s work hard and party harder!


The actual picture


Reality however strikes in due time when the workload of the office is further burdened by the child at home. Now, no child is a burden, I hope not to be misquoted. The “bundle of joy” that comes into a family brings forth new hope and delight and is perhaps the best feeling for any family. With working parents however it becomes difficult to be employed and take care of the family due to the aforementioned requirements of high levels of performance which employees must put in to be considered imperative to a company.


Rashed Karim, a young executive and one of the energetic employees of an event management company stated he was regularly coming to work with bloodshot eyes casting a gloomy drooping figure in the office, deprived of his sleep because of his one year old deciding to wake up and play ball in the early hours of the morning! He says his wife shares the responsibilities of putting the toddler back to sleep and that they do so in turns every alternative night but not all agreements are implemented as agreed, he added! “It’s mostly my turn. I guess it’s my turn almost every night. I seem to forget who put him to bed the day before since I’m usually buried under work and have become a bit forgetful.”


Rashed’s wife who is employed at a local bank goes through stressful schedules herself but Rahsed added that his wife makes most of the calls during the day to check on Adnan. Rashed’s mother usually nurses Adnan whilst her son and daughter in law are working away. However not all couples are this lucky. Sharmeen Rahman, the mother of an 8 year old and a 2 year old has to rely on her household aids for taking care of the children’s meals and the driver who is relatively new to their family has to be trusted to take the 8 year old to school. Even though both her children are just kids, she says she worries more for her daughter as she is picking up words everyday and requires a bit more care as opposed to her 8 year old brother.


Sharmeen shared her concerns when she said, “I’m not as troubled as I used to be about what task is pending on my desk honestly because now being the mother of two I have to report to toddlers who will never understand why mom is away for so long. I’m worried sick about what they are having for lunch, whether Sania is being fed on time, whether Sakib is healthy and safe at school or not, what they are watching on television and it’s just an endless list. My husband was shocked when I suggested whether we should give Sakib a cell phone for us to communicate with him but that’s just how desperate I am.”


Local initiatives


If at this point you are opening a web browser on your computer you are perhaps being directed to the homepage of Google – the company which has taken giant leaps to employee satisfaction. Google reduced the stress of working parents when it introduced its very own day care center where Google employees could leave their children and work away. The employees could take a break and walk down to the center to spend a moment with the children and return to work. Even in Bangladesh, Grameenphone Limited has taken such initiatives to support its employees as it currently operates three day cares for the children of its employees and first initiated such a facility way back in 2006.


Working parents do find it difficult to concentrate on the open spreadsheets and jammed inboxes blinking on their computer screens especially when they are faced with the worst case scenario of leaving behind an ailing child at home; or when they must only trust maids for their children’s well being. Since they can’t return home until it’s late in the evening, there comes a need to bring in the tutor. Thus more individuals are involved giving rise to further concern of safety and of course the returns of having a tutor for their children.


With a plethora of thoughts swarming them it is questionable whether working parents are being able to fully focus on the job. Day care facilities seem to be a feasible enough solution for toddlers till the age of about 4 until they join pre-school. Organizations do not need to develop such facilities themselves meaning that there exists a business opportunity! Mothers who are homemakers can initiate such services for working mothers which may deem more trustworthy and credible. This not only serves as a solution but also employs and encourages more such facilities to sprout. We all know how competition brings out the best for the buyer so the more options working parents have the more chances are that such facilities will improve. Schools too can make an effort to encourage parents to enroll children early and this practice is picking up. The possibilities are not endless as a matter of fact but here’s hoping that a mini revolution will take place to save working parents from mini breakdowns!

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