In my journey of parenting, I have found that I have learned more than I have taught. I have two boys aged seventeen and nineteen, and a daughter who is twenty-one years old. It has been a joy and a blessing to see the three of them bloom beautifully and grow into their own unique personalities.
When I was younger, and the kids were little, I stayed home with them and only worked a few hours part-time at the local public library a couple of evenings and every other weekend. I am blessed I was able to stay home and spend time with my kids as my husband took care of paying the bills and putting food on the table. At that time, my world revolved completely around my kids and I was the happiest that way. Those were the best years of my life.
As my children grew older and more independent, I could feel stirrings of ambition in my heart; I desired to do more in my career. I decided to look for a full-time position, a job with benefits and retirement.
I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to find one after being mostly a stay-at-home mom for almost twenty years. I did not realize how stressful the whole process of applying, interviewing, and facing rejection can be.
There were jobs where I knew the person who got hired was a better candidate than me, so that did not upset me. What upset me were jobs I knew I was perfectly skilled and suited for, and I interviewed really well, but for whatever reason, I was not chosen. Rejection shattered my self-esteem and made me feel that I was not good enough.
After a few such experiences, I was feeling really low and I asked my kids if they thought the hiring process was flawed. I asked them if bias plays a part in decision-making by recruiting managers.
Arjun, my middle son said, “Mom, I do not think bias or prejudice plays a part at all. It is nothing personal. If they feel you are the best person for the job, they will hire you regardless of your age, gender or race.”
My eldest, Mansi, who is a student of Psychology said, “I think implicit bias plays a part in the hiring process. The person may not even realize they are being biased and they may think they are being fair but their subconscious makes decisions and judgments based on the kind of people they feel favorable toward or align with. Research has shown that implicit bias can pose a barrier to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.”
My youngest, Armaan, said “Mom, first of all, I think you have a great life with a part-time job, volunteering, taking care of your home and I think it will tire you out if you work full time as you are not used to that hectic schedule. However, if this is what you want, I know a time will come when someone who is just and impartial will interview you, realize your potential, and hire you.”
A few months after I had this conversation with my kids, I found a full-time Reference Librarian position at one of the local public libraries, and I was beyond ecstatic and grateful. My kids were such a great source of love and support throughout my job searching journey. They greeted me with cheers and hugs when I gave them the good news.
My children live their lives in ways that make me happy and proud. My middle son spent a semester studying abroad in France and traveled with friends on weekends to Italy, Rome, Venice, Austria, London, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and a few other places. I admire his energy and zest for life; it is contagious. After vicariously viewing some scenic places through facetime with him, I realized he has awakened my wanderlust. I wish I had spent my teenage years traveling the world. I just started working full-time four months back and now I already wish to retire in five years and go on an extended tour of Europe!
My daughter is very grounded and has a great head on her shoulders. She is not interested in selfies, shopping, social media, or worrying about what others are doing. She does not follow the crowd; she thinks for herself and lives life on her own terms. At her age, growing up in India, I was swayed and molded by what my family expected of me. I made life decisions based on what my mom wished for me to do. So, when I look at my daughter, I really admire how she stands up for herself.
My children introduce me to their choices in books, food, movies, hobbies like cooking and painting, and music. It amazes me how they have their own unique perspectives on any given question, and I really enjoy talking to them about politics, current events, and their worldviews on a wide range of topics. They are the best sounding boards I can bounce my thoughts and ideas from. Conversations with them are always entertaining, enlightening, and therapeutic.