Our Discussions

Balancing Work and Family (Which One is Better: Working Mom or Stay-at-home Mom?)
1 ( a madar)

Hello. I feel that I have lost my balance in life and I appreciate your feedbacks.

All my life I have gone to school to specialize in my field and get a good job. Since I got married, it always felt like my career is an extra pressure on the family.

I have given up good career opportunities to be more around home and let my husband work with peace of mind.

There is no financial need for me to work, but I have put so much effort in my field to specialize and I like to have a career. At the same time my husband is thinking of a second kid, and I just don't feel that I can handle two kids plus my career, plus other responsibilities around the house. And his argument is that there is no need for me to work.


2 ( a pedar)

Well, I like to be very direct and right to the point if I may: This is very typical of most patriarchy Iranian families who husband makes enough so spouse's career is not an issue anymore, therefore with this situation usually women is "suggested" to quit her career and pick up all the responsibilities of child rearing plus house maintenance, cooking, washing, cleaning, ..., then more kids show up, you know the rest. (needless to say that this view only looks at financial side of women's career!)

As if all those years of higher education efforts, was to just achieve a degree in a frame. Although this not just Iranian phenomena but it has more merits in our case. Then we are asking ourselves about double standards and inequality between the two gender.

Now I'm not advocating that any women who does have a full time job outside the home, living a superior life to those who stay home, but what I trying to say is, being part of work force outside the home boundaries, brings with it a whole different chapter of changes and culture of it's own that in my opinion not only is necessary for today's women in general but specifically essential for Iranian women, if we're interested to see more equality, balance between our man and woman. Further more, this will be a great example to our daughters whom someday during their lifetime reach to the very same point. Please bear in mind that I'm just tackling the subject in general and honestly get very sad to hear still some of our "educated" males thinking are still touring around 19th century.

Suggestion: Is it possible for you to hire help, so that you could continue your career?

Thanks for your sharing,

3 ( a madar)

Well, I like to be very direct and right to the point if I may, too:

I think that the society is building a false image of "success" and imposes it upon men and women equally. while it is easier for men to get lost in the career world and "feel" successful, it is harder for women with the reality of family and children. A woman is mostly by herself at least during the pregnancy and often she is the primary care taker during the next couple of years even if she has the most open minded husband.

In most professions, you either have to work full time, or quit your job. It is hard to get a part-time job (to be able to take care of your family) unless you are well established in your position (in which case you may not be fertile anymore!).This is a fact that family needs time, and no matter how professional you are, you must accept that raising children needs time! and often sacrifices on your career. I don't think if it is men's fault, Iranian or non-Iranian. I don't blame Haideh's husband for wanting to have another child. Parenting is a divine pleasure... but I do blame the economic and cultural setting of this society that does not value "mothering" and a mother would feel like the time spent with her children is "wasted" and should have been spent in a "productive" way where productivity is measured by $$.

The decision is not easy to make. You need to sit down and order your priorities and it is likely that your highest priority is your family. but don't panic! it is only the first 4-5 years (at most) after the birth of your second child that you feel so desperate... then you can start over a career and make peace with yourself.

So, ignore the peer pressure: just because you have worked so hard to get a degree, does not mean you should forget about having a second child! If I had your degree of freedom with respect to work, I would be thinking about my 3rd child now:)

4 ( a madar)

Dear Madar # 1,

This is such a personal matter. It not only varies from person to person, but even for the same person it can vary depending on the stage of life they are in.

I think you have raised several issues. The struggle of women in balancing their career and family is one that every mom faces. Just to let you know about my background, I have two daughters (ages 5 and 8) and work full time. I have faced the same issue and have felt guilty about working numerious times.

One of the issues that you raised is whether you should give up your career and waste all the work that you have done for the sake of your family. I don't think that it is an either or situation. First of all, even if you choose to take time off to raise your children until they are older, this does not mean that you can't go back and continue where you left off. You would simply delay it a bit.

I don't think your desire to work has anything to do with money, so the fact that financially you don't need to work is a non-issue.

Another point that you raised is that you have put your husband's career ahead of yours. In my family my husband's career also has priority, but that is because he earns more money and is more motivated than me. I have no resentment about that. If you feel some resentment about this issue, perhaps you and your husband need to talk about it and in some ways take turns in balancing the scale. Building resentment is like locking a monster in the closet. It will eventually come out, so you might as well deal with it head on.

As far as working goes, I really feel that I am a better person because of it. I was not born to be a home maker and by no means enjoy house work. It is a thankless job because goes on 24 hours and since you don't bring any money home, it is referred to as "not working". I never worked so hard as the two years I stayed home with my daughter. Of course if you enjoy house work, that is another matter all together. At any rate, my point is that when it is the right time, working can make you a happier person and therefore a better mom and wife.

Another point that I want to mention is as a mom. As I mentioned, I have two daughters. Some of my friends only have one child. I don't think anyone would disagree that having a sibling makes the children better rounded and happier. My two daughters are inseparable. Before the second one came my first daughter was always begging others to play with her. It broke my heart. My daughters always say that they love each other more than my huband or I. And last but not least, they don't ask us to play with them! I don't think there is anything I could give or do for my first daughter that would give her more joy, security and companionship than her sister.

We have to remember that many of us are here without an extended family and our children will grow up to be lonelier than us. One concern that I always had and the argument that I used to convince my husband to go for the second child is that when we pass away, our daughter will have no-one. If you don't have an extended family here, or even if you do, you might keep this in mind.

I hope I didn't give you a headache. It is just that you pointed to a touchy subject and one that is close to my heart. I stayed with my first daughter two years and seven months with my second one. It is by far the most important thing I have ever done and if we could afford it financially, I would have stayed with them longer. They are older now and I am back at work. It doesn't even feel like I missed a beat. It only took a little time for me to get back into the swing of things. And now, I am actually catching up with my husband career-wise. I don't think you will regret it if you take the time to have another little one and stay with them the first few years of their lives. Believe me, work is there when you are ready for it. You won't miss much, although as anxious as you are, it won't be easy to wait. When you are older and your children are grown up, you'll realize that postponing your career was well worth the investment.

Best of luck to you. Hang in there and enjoy your little one. They'll grow up and out in a blink of an eye.

5 ( pedar # 2)

It appears as if you're (madar # 3) responding to my note!, then let me add some more.

First of all, I respect everyone's choice whether to work or not, let's be very clear about that. The issue here is not that, rather something else.

Is relationship and specifically Marriage entitles you to own your partner? Does it entitle you to make a decision for them just because you're married?

Sometimes you may choose to postpone your current career for variety of reasons, but to quit because someone has to take care of kids and since your woman and making less, therefore it's obvious who should stays, that's another thing. The issue I believe is: I like to continue my career, what can I do to pursue that? having family, commitments, 2nd child, and ...

It's not about "Parenting is a divine pleasure" or not,

It's not about "the peer pressure" or not,

Why is it the women who should stay home, and then husband have peace of mind to advance his career?

How much all these "sacrifices" have contributed to the growth of woman?

I agree with you that here, corporate world has very little to offer to parents, but let's not blame someone else's for our decisions and choices which we have made.

I know that you don't have urge to work, but that's a personal choice again, very much the same as the choice of one, who wants to pursue one's career!

6 ( a mother)

I am an American madar, mother of three children and wife of an Iranian. I have a MBA and had a successful career, both finacially and personally. However, two years ago, I gave it up for a much more important position. I am now a full time mom. I realize that my children paid a high price for my success. I thought I was doing everything right. They had a Persian nanny, they went to good schools. But they needed more.

I must say, I often miss my career. Nobody gives mom a raise. Don't expect any promotions or stock options. What you can expect is a lot of hugs, and the knowledge that you are making your children's world a better place.

I often wonder when the right time is to go back to work. (My kids were 7, 4 and 2 when I quit work.) I honestly haven't come to terms with that yet. I believe that my children need me now more than when they were babies. Almost anyone can cuddle a baby and change it's diapers, but now they need to learn reading and math. They need to develop study habits and social skills. They need someone to be there when they are faced with the decisions that teenagers inevitably face.

I don't look down on anyone who makes the decision to pursue their career. Staying home often isn't an option. If I could have worked part time, I may have made that decision. I have friends that have taken a personal leave for a year to decide what's right for them. But, I believe I made the right decision by staying home with my kids, and I know I made the right decision when I decided to have my kids.

Good Luck to you what ever you do. Remember, your husband is your partner in this decision. Be glad that you have this choice.

7 ( madar # 3)

> Why is it the women who should stay home, and then husband have peace of
> mind to advance his career?

Pedar # 2,

This is beautiful to hear it from a man!

I think a part of the answer is tradition, and a part is motherly hormones (but perhaps different women have different amount of hormones:).

However, things are changing, fortunately. I know of women who have successful careers because their husbands stay home with children. There are about 2,000,000 stay-at-home Dads in the US, and the number is increasing but not fast enough...

7 ( pedar # 2)

How about some statistic from "Motherland" and Persian community abroad?

8 ( a pedar )

I agree with the group who think of parenthood as the most important Job. I gave up lots of career opportunity to be around my children. Sometimes it is difficult to deal with the opportunities that are lost because of this choice. However, it has been my choice and I am generally happy about it, I did it my way!!! And by the way I am a proud Iranian Father.

I also need to take an exception to the tone of some of the letters. I suggest that all those who think of immigrant Iranians as patriarchal families, should look at some statistics and compare themselves with the non-patriarchal North Americans. I can understand "Awaz Dohool Shanidan as dour khoosh ast!" but it seems that some of us are totally deaf.

Single Dad,

9 ( a madar)


I am exactly in the same situation, so I appreciate fully what you say. I love my job and the self-confidence it gives me, but at the same time I realise my daughter needs me. I am very lucky in that my mum looks after her, so she gets all the love that I could have given her. Anyway, after much deliberation I have decided to go for another child and to work part time for a while. I have cleared this with my employers who thankfully are desperate to keep me. I think this is the best compromise I could have made, keep something of my career and be able to give more time to my hopefully two children. I will eventually go back full-time but only when I feel it is the right time. The thing that I don't want to happen is to stick with my job and later regret not seeing enough of my children and not having spent time with them.

Also don't think it is a waste of time that you got a degree, the degree gave you a choice, confidence of achievement, opened your horizon, and a basis to pass on your knowledge to your children. You have also worked, which makes you appreciate how hard it is to make a living, etc. The fact that you may have decided not to work does not mean you are stupid and somehow your brain has gone to idle mode, it simply reflects reality of family life. Children and careers don't mix very well!, so my advise, go part-time, if you can't, do what your heart tells you and be there for your children, and never regret your decisions.

Good luck

10 ( a madar )


I have been staying at the side line and reading all the comments dear madar-pedars were sending. I must say it is very obvious how our culture has effected all of us. I appreciate Pedar#2's comments specially since he is a man and it seems like he can defend Iranian women better than themselves. Why do we think parenthood is only mothers responsibility? I agree that parenting should be the most important priority in life, but both for mothers and fathers. Homayoon, the proud father, is a good stay home dad, but just because he is a single father. What if he had an Iranian wife? Would he still be proud of staying home and taking care of his childern or he would make his wife feel guilty about thinking about her carrier more than her children and justifying that children need their Moms. I have two children and love to spend most of my time with my children, but I do expect my husband to feel the same way as I do and I must say my husband has the same feeling and he is an Iranian man. So, don't take me wrong, I have nothing against Iranian or American men. I have problem with society as a whole and our Iranian women. Do not think this is your job and not a man's job. I agree with Pedar#2 on every thing he said. Just be honest with yourself. I think your career is as (if not more) as important as your husband and I disagree with the lady who said she stays with children, because her husband makes more money. Have you asked yourself why your husband makes more money? Don't you think this is because he has a free mind to concentrate on his job and you don't have the luxury. I think we all need to be roll models for our daughters. Why should they work hard to be successful at school and get higher degrees and aim high if they will not be using their education in their life. An average student can do a very good job of motherhood and they don't need to be simply the best if they are going to be moms only. I also agree that this is a personal choice each one of us will make in life, but be honest with yourself, is it really your choice or you have been forced mentally to make this choice.

Good luck to us all.

11 ( a madar )

This is a touchy subject, indeed!! I think someone said that this is a very personal matter and varies from person to person, and that is so true. Just reading what everybody has to say about this issue proves this point. I sure have my own opinion about the woman's right in this modern society, but I only want to say one thing that whether you stay home or pursue your career, make sure that it's YOUR decision even if it's your husband's idea, the decision has to be yours or you will resent it for ever.

Good luck!

12 ( a pedar )

Dear Madars and Pedars:

Madar #11's note turned on a light for me. Indeed the issue of parenting is a personal choice and a personal decision. However, I think this forum and others like it are the place for all of us to openly and honestly discuss our views. The power of discussion and sometimes debate is in the fact that the exchange of ideas takes place, however, NO ONE HAS TO ACCEPT ANY OPINION AS PRESENTED. The ideas discussed are only for information and each person will make their own decision based on the information received. I think we all agree on that and should not hold back our comments or opinions.

I have found out that a lot of times we can make better decisions by asking others who have been in the same situations, what happened to them. We do not necessarily have to follow what they did, but it helps to know what happened. I may be the Old f.... in this group, although I'm only 44. But it seems to me that my kids are older. I am a Pedar, have three kids, and my kids are 17, 13 and 12.

The issue of pursuing a "career" is not limited to mother's. I will argue that fathers will have to make similar decisions regarding having more children if they truly are going to be fathers. However, as a specific response to our friend, here's my opinion.

The best thing we can do in life is do what makes us "happy" not what makes us "rich". I learned that in college from my teacher when he reminded us that what we choose as our major should be what we "like" not what we think will make us "money". His reason was simple. By choosing a major and therefore a career, we will be in that field for the next forty years of our lives. Having another child or children is also something that we will be committed to for a life time. Wouldn't it make sense that we choose something that makes us "happy"? It is with this thought that we should make our decisions. Do we want a family that is "rich" or "happy"? That's the essence of each decision. Of course, most will pick happy. Now if happiness comes by a successful "career" over parenthood, then that's the right decision. Also if happiness comes by having a larger family and parenthood over pursuing a "career", then that's the right choice. What I'm trying to say is that Parenthood by itself is a "career". But let's remember that if we are educated, then we can also guide and parent our children better and make better life decisions. So if we pursue higher and higher education and choose not to use it for a specific career, we still will use it for our parenting.

Nobody's education is wasted if they channel their educated energy in bringing up better children. As a father, I made the decision to spend time with my children as much as I could. Believe me that was not what my bosses at the time wanted to see. Eventually, I started my own business so that I can have a more flexible time. Today, I look at the wall of my office and see pictures of all the "impressive" buildings and projects that I built, but none brings more joy to me than the picture of my three kids.

I hope that your husband understands that you alone are not having another child. You are both having another child. It will require commitment from both of you. This is not a "sacrifice". This is a "JOY" only if it's something that makes both of you "happy". The "riches" in life always come to those who do what makes them "happy".

Gandhi's parents lived as rich of a life by giving birth and raising Gandhi as Gandhi lived by giving birth and raising India.

As always, the final decision is yours.

13 ( madar #11 )

Dear Pedar #12,

Thank you for your feedback about my note. I would like to clarify some things, though!

I'm sorry that my note gave a wrong impression that I do not appreciate others expressing their opinions and sharing their views as they did. How can I object to that when I've done so myself many times before? I'd say this is the #1 point about madar-pedar site. However, I chose to give my word of advise to Haideh the way I did because in my opinion the most important thing is what Haideh wants to do not what her husband wants her to do (sounds like most of us are sharing this view.) Perhaps I should've elaborated on that, but I decided not to this time only to highlight my point! :)


14 ( pedar #12 )

Madar #11 jaan,

I guess I owe you an apology also. I didn't think that you were objecting to any expression of views at all. I know your response was "tongue in cheek". :-)

However, like I mentioned, your note turned on a light for me that perhaps many of the members or "browsers" of this site, are not participating in this and other discussions, due to feeling that the issues are too personal or perhaps thinking that their response may offend someone.

I am hoping that I can reach some of our members and open the doors for more discussion by sharing our own experiences. I think we can have more than ten or twelve people that join in the discussions regularly. There are a lot more parents out there that are right now "readers" and not participants. Hopefully, we can get more responses to all the topics discussed. I know, I get a lot out of reading everyone's responses.

15 ( a madar )

I have been reading all your comments and I am glad to be part of Madar Pedar I am a stay home Madar But I also work from home. I love to take care of my kids But I also need a break from taking care of everyone My work and my volunteer work give me that break I think if you decide to stay home you'll be a better mother with a regular break ( class, volunteering , part time job or having coffee with friends) sometimes it is very frustrating , you need adult conversation also you need to have quality time with yourself : )

You all Have a Magical Day

16 ( madar #15 )

Madar #10 jan you wrote

>I think we all need to be roll models for our daughters. Why

>should they work hard to be successful at school and get higher degrees
>and aim high if they will not be using their education in their life. An
>average student can do a very good job of motherhood and they don't need
>to be simply the best if they are going to be moms only. I also agree that
>this is a personal choice each one of us will make in life, but be honest
>with yourself, is it really your choice or you have been forced mentally
>to make this choice.

I agree we should be roll models for our kids

I don't know why I was bothered by your sentence " if they are going to be MOMS ONLY.

Some average student are good mom , some are not I don' t think being a good mom has all to do with what grade you had at school or in your higher education There is a lot more to it

Take care

17 ( madar #9 )

Dear everyone

I have to say I agree with those who say it is a very personal decision. I think I previously wrote an email advising something which I passionately (I thought) I believed in, but, I will probably have to chew those words. Life is never predictable and full of surprises and it is very situation dependent. I am currently in exactly the same situation and I know exactly how it feels when you are in a DO-RAHI!

18 ( madar #11 )

Pedar #12,

Oh, you don't have to apologize! You didn't do or say anything wrong. :)

Your point is well put, though! I am one of the madar-pedar new comers (few months), and I do enjoy both reading and giving the comments about various subjects. I think it is wonderful that we are given this opportunity to share ideas and exchange our thoughts. This reminds me of a kids song that Anna Moo, a singer, sings. It says "bell is not a bell till you ring it, song is not a song till you sing it, and love isn't love till you give it away..."

...so, I guess we are not members till we participate and give away our thoughts! :)))


19 ( mother #6 )

I agree somewhat that your education has very little to do with how good of a mom you are. But I don't agree that we are not good role models for our daughters when we set our higher education aside to be with our children as they grow.

I worked for 10 years after I got my master's degree before staying home with my kids. At some point down the road, I may go back to work for a company, or teach college courses, or start a business. I don't know right now, because right now I am with my kids. I believe that even if I don't pursue my career again, I'm a better role model for my kids because of my education. Education provides so much more than a career. As an educated family, we raise our children in an intellectual environment. I believe that because of our educations, our children see the importance of study. I don't know how many times I've heard parents say that they can't help their kids with their math. . . I don't want my kids to grow up in that environment. I can help my daughters with their math. I can teach them to use the computer. My 9 year old just developed her first "stock portfolio" in excel which we are tracking everyday so she can understand why mommy and baba listen to CNBC every morning.

Ultimately, everyone has to choose for themselves. I have choosen to be with my kids for now. That doesn't mean I'm not using my education. My education is a part of who I am. I believe I'm a better mom because I'm educated. I believe I'm a better partner with my husband because I'm educated. Do I miss my career. . . yes, sometimes. Do I want to go back to it now. . . no. Do my my kids want me to go back. . . no. Do I regret leaving work. . . no. Do I think that my husband has had all the glory. . . no. He would love to be the one that our children go to for comfort. And he has made many sacrafices in his career because it was right for our family. Unfortunately, we aren't secure enough that both my husband and I can quit work to raise our family. So I was the lucky one. I am at home with my children. My career will always be there later.

I'm sure many of you have heard this poem before, but it always helps to keep me grounded:

A hundred years from now

it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in,
or the car I drove. . .
but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
20 ( madar #11 )

I agree with you (Mother # 19)! We may go to school and educate ourselves to have a nice career but more than anything we want to be wiser and knowledgeable! I know many moms who went back to school for a higher degree only to keep up with their children education.

21 ( a madar )

For All the Moms with any situation a full time working Mom

Does Heaven have a phone number?

Mommy went to Heaven,

but I need her here today,
My tummy hurts and I fell down,
I need her right away,
Operator can you tell me how
to find her in this book?
Is heaven in the yellow part,
I don't know where to look.
I think my daddy needs her too,
at night I hear him cry.
I hear him call her name sometimes,
but I really don't know why.
Maybe if I call her,
she will hurry home to me.
Is Heaven very far away,
Is it across the sea?
She's been gone a long, long time
she needs to come home now!
I really need to reach her,
I simply don't know how.
Help me find the number please,
is it listed under "Heaven"?
I can't read these big big words,
I am only seven.
I'm sorry operator,
I didn't mean to make you cry,
22 ( pedar #2 )

Once again this forum failed and did not SHOW any courage to discuss a very real issue and subject. Instead tried to reduced it to "Happiness" Vs "Wealth" (like writing subject in Iran's schools "Elem or Sarvet") or it's a "personal issue" as if we are here to decide for anyone! or it's "touchy", In fact most of the subject remains Taboo or "touchy" as long as we don't come out and talk about them, Please clear this for me: What's not touchy in our culture except talking about politics or soccer match?

This forum is better to stick with finding new names for new born or finding out about where one can find nanny near by!

Good luck and have a nice day!

23 ( a madar )

Pedar # 22,

You are going to get a lot of reaction on this e-mail

Good luck

24 ( a pedar )

Let me second Pedar #22's concern with the hope that some of you would discuss on the resent message I sent out with the following subject: "Raising Children With or Without Religion?".

25 ( madar #21 )

This is a free forum for everybody and the way they like to look at it , serious , funny , touchy . Everybody is free to react to the subjects the way he or she wants . Sometimes the subjects doesn't need to be in a high level , serious memo to take attention or to discuss something . Sometimes a very simple memo or story like the one I sent earlier says a lot of word .

It says you do not need to be educated , you do not to be rich , you do not to be working or staying home with me , You do not to live in US or a small village in Iran , where ever you are , whoever you are , what ever you do , You are my mom

Pedar #22 , what is it that our Iranian Men always have problem with their feelings and what ever is touchy ? What is wrong with being Touchy ??? specially in this matter . I do not think that anything is more touchy than this subject . I leave everyday in the morning while explaining to my 4 year old that I have to go to office and hearing my 1 1/2 crying asking for his Mom .

This forum didn't fail . You failed that couldn't tolerate a touchy reaction regarding a serious issue .

This is a free forum , I like to use it for low level touchy subjects , You can use it for your very high level serious issues .

By the way my memo was sent to all the madars out there .

26 ( madar #11 )

I believe he wants a lot of reactions! This is mine:

Take it easy, Pedar #22! People express their opinion in different ways, it might not be like yours, but it's an opinion! Who is to say whether it's right or wrong?!

By the way, politics and soccer match can also be touchy subjects, depends on how you approach it!!

27 ( madar # 15)

I am not offended at all.

I also think education is very important.
I joined this forum to hear different opinions.
I don't think each time we give an opinion we should emphasize that it is ours.
This forum is far from being a failure .
I wish I had more time to participate more.
You all have a Magical Day
28 ( a pedar )

I just wanted to welcome all the 'pedars' responses - which has always been missing on many of the issues.

this is a free forum and lets not get too excited and instead of agreeing or disagreeing and criticizing what has been said here, lets get back to the discussion of the subject - what was it again? "moms...."

good to see pedars back in here again - myself included.

29 ( madar# 4)

It is very interesting that all we have received from the participating gentlemen is criticism of what others discuss, believe, or the way they express their options.

If I didn't have an awesome, liberal and open-minded Iranian husband, I would get the impression that Iranian men only know how to criticize and wine instead of coming up with suggestions (A bit of tact wouldn't hurt either).

How about some good suggestions instead of knocking everyone else down and making this a men vs. women issue? Nobody is preventing pedars from participating in the discussion. It is a shame that the gentlemen who decided to join in this discussion, are taking this path. I am sure not all men feel this way.

Another thing dear pedars, If you rememebr the reason this particular discussion started, it had to do with the 'emotions' of 'guilt', 'feelings' of unfulfillment, 'finanacial' situation and other issues surrounding child care. It is kinda hard to discuss these issues without talking about 'emtions', 'feelings' and 'wealth' :)

Have a cheerful day,



By "cheerful" I don't mean to reduce this discussion to a 'happiness' vs. 'sadness' issue. I am not at all 'excited' when I write this. This does not mean that I wish for the madars to be cheerful and not pedars. I do not mean to reduce this discussion and forum to a trivial level. I do have the 'courage' to wish others for a 'non-cheerful' and downright 'somber' day, but wish not to do that. All in all, chill out guys.
30 ( a madar)

Hi Madar#1 Jon,

I just came back from a three week vacation and hope it's still OK to respond to your email.

I wish there were a pill we could take to make our minds very clear about what we should do. I have two sons, 7.5yrs and 3yrs old. I have worked pretty much their whole life. I have been in the same boat since I was a student. I had my first son while studying at Berkeley. I am not happy if I am a full-time homemaker and I have my doubts about what I am doing when I am at work. The confusion and guilt is not there just because of my husband. As a matter of fact, a few times that I have decided to quit my work, he's been among the people reminding me that I would feel miserable at home. The guilt comes partly from the way I was raised, with a full time mother. My ideal "mother" was a woman who could give her family clean house, raise "moadab" children, and cook warm food every single day, just like my mom. But this was/is not all. The REST of the guilt came from (I know I'll get in trouble for saying this) other Iranian mothers. The ones who repeatedly mentioned that their kids are fortunate enough to be raised by their grandmothers, the ones who repeatedly reminded me that in spite of their higher education degrees are staying home because they want the best for their kids. All of these and much more of the same made me feel that I am neglecting my kids, that my kids are being bitten up at day care because somebody besides their grandma is taking care of them, that I am a selfish mother for wanting to work. I am hoping they didn't know how damaging and annoying their remarks were/are. Every single time that one of my kids fails in anything, I have this nagging voice in the back of my mind that reminds me "It wouldn't have happen if you had stayed home." I doubt I will ever be able to stop judging myself for working. I just came back from a visit to Iran. I saw a lot of problem kids who had been raised with a full time mother at home. I am not advocating for leaving the kids to be raised in day cares rather than their home. I just would like to say there are no guaranties, and staying home is not the ultimate solution to raising happy and healthy kids.

Sorry this got much longer than I had planned. I just thought to share my experience with you. For me working at this point is a real need, both for my social and emotional growth as well as financial need. For my kids, I am trying my best. My husband is also trying his best. We feel our kids are doing fine and we are proud of them. We are trying to give them as much love as we can and keeping our fingers crossed for their future.

Good Luck,

31 ( a madar)

Madar#30 Jan

We are all in different situations.

The fact that I stay home with my kids does not automatically make me a better mother.

Be at peace with who you are and what you do there is no need to feel guilty.

God bless your kids

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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