I grew up to think I was able to do anything I wanted, achieve anything I wanted, that I was equal to any man and that gender didn’t really matter as long as you show what you are capable of.
Finland is often portrayed as the unicorn of social systems, something of a fairytale. Mothers are given freedom beyond belief to have mothers leave and the state will pay for the time you are away from work. But with freedom comes responsibility which in the businessworld quickly translates to expectations.
Based on the comments and thoughts I’ve had the “opportunity” to hear during my pregnancy it seems to me that the expectations are:
Firstly you’re supposed to go on as the baby never existed. You’re supposed to continue with life as it was pre-baby. Get back to work, back in shape in just a few weeks, travel, see friends and all the other things you used to do before the baby.
At the same time that you’re supposed to be a super mom breastfeeding for at least a year, making purees all day, recycling, sewing and be a stay at home 50’s house wife – everyone seems to expect you’ll do this at the same time that you continue your career and hold a full time job. The women who go back to work in two weeks after giving birth, like Yahoos CEO Marissa Meyer are hailed as the role models of the modern mother, while stay at home mothers are attacked by feminist of settling into a sterotypical gender role.
Above all the expectations are overwhelming. But sometimes when something is overwhelming it can “go over your head”, which means you might be able to shake it off or ignore it. Which is what I aim to do. I do not care what is expected of me as a mother or a businesswoman, as a friend or as a wannabe triathlonist or a wife. I’m pretty sure my heart will tell me what is important.
I plan to be a a mother that is present in my daughters life. I plan to be a caring and loving wife and I plan to continue the family business that has been given to me. The order of importance might change, daily, weekly, hourly or yearly, but all of these things will be important, for the rest of my life, and I do not care whether the unsympathetic cold business world or feminists attack me with expectations, be what they may be, I will do as I deem best for me and my family, it will be my recipe, so there! 🙂