By Kelly Deacon, a member of the SkillCorps India Feb. 2017 team
There is this incredibly powerful feeling that comes with being a parent-GUILT. In today’s society not all mothers are staying home to care for their children. Women have become empowered to be ALL the things they want to be but with that comes this incredible juggling act. As a result, guilt becomes this kind of elastic that constantly pushes and pulls us away from things.
Sangeeta is the Vice Principle at Sorem, our partner site in India. The other day I listened to her talk about all the amazing things she wanted to do for Sorem, and the children of India. Afterwards she continued on to speak about the judgment and guilt she felt about her role as a parent in the midst of it all. In that moment, I could feel her struggle as I was simultaneously feeling the same way. I chose to come on this journey but it was not without feeling the judgement of others and my perceived neglect as a parent. There is this constant battle between always being present defining a good mother and being a strong role model for our children. Ultimately, I was able to commit to what I believe to be true. I chose to show my daughter that I can do extraordinary things, that I can do so many different things, and that I can overcome obstacles, so that she knows that she can too. Sangeeta is a power force of a human, she chooses to continue on even when there are moments when everything else in her life makes it difficult to do so.
Relating to the guilt that Sangeeta feels as a parent resulted in changing my perspective and looking at the term sustainable through a whole new lens. There may be times when sustainable means supporting our partners in a more individual way, in a more human way. Sangeeta will have trouble seeing her own successes while she has trouble seeing her son succeeding. We must consider that guilt when determining how to make a sustainable plan. Whether this is helping Sangeeta see the successes that are already there or helping Sangeeta to teach her son to achieve new ones, considering this human element is key. Parents can become amazing activists and service providers, but they must balance that with their biggest priority. We will only become stronger as women, as parents, as humans, and even as educators, if we support each other in doing so.