The following is an excerpt from the third part of an interview with Indira Meshram (Indira Sakhi Devi Dasi,, the author of the book “How I Achieved Real Success – A Happiness Guide for Modern Women (

TMF – In a society where children get influenced by multiple factors beyond our control, child-rearing has become a thankless job. Why should women take full responsibility of that?

Indira – Women are not expected to take full responsibility of child-rearing. The father’s involvement is equally important. But yes, a mother is more hands-on when raising children is concerned, particularly when the children are younger. This is true that raising children has become a thankless task. The society looks down on stay-at-home Moms. Also, children themselves are often ungrateful to their parents and do not bother about them much once they leave home, since the current ethos is to primarily focus on one’s own needs.

But this is a recent phenomenon. While we can blame the society for feeding our children the wrong values, as parents we also have to take responsibility. If we think that fulfilling our duty means delivering to our children all kinds of luxuries and expensive toys like i-pads, for which both mother and father have to work outside for long hours, we should not be surprised if the children end up adhering to a belief system that values material things over meaningful relationships. If instead, we spend enough time and effort in teaching our children, and showing by our personal example, that it is more important to live a simple and honest life, full of service towards others and devotion towards the Supreme Lord, it is more than likely that our children will be grateful to their parents for helping them build the one thing that will sustain them for their entire life – a strong character.

Also, while contemplating our children’s behavior towards us, it would be prudent to reflect whether we ourselves are expressing adequate gratitude towards our parents. Actions speak louder than words and our children will develop attitudes towards us based on our behavior towards their grandparents.

Still, despite sincere efforts sometimes children do go astray and one may wonder whether all the sacrifices made for them were worth it. But there is no need to feel discouraged. Being a mother is a joyful experience. Even if we do not receive appreciation from the outside world, or even from our own children, we should feel satisfied in our heart that we have done our best.

TMF – In an economy where both parents need to work, even for leading a normal life, how can we have the safety net for our children?

Indira – I’m sorry, I do not accept that both parents need to work, even for leading a normal life. I didn’t. Several women around the world don’t. And many of us are leading perfectly normal, happy lives. It may involve making some adjustments with one’s lifestyle but it’s not impossible. Your question is about providing a safety net for children when both parents are working.

I assume the question you are asking is: “How does one ensure that children are safe when their care is entrusted to someone other than their parents?” In India this used to be tackled by enlisting the help of grandparents, but the current trend is to mostly depend on nannies and day care centers. This is because these days by the time people marry and have children, often their parents are too old to help with bringing up their grandchildren. Also, because of work many people do not live in the same city as their parents and the parents are reluctant to leave their familiar surroundings and relocate.

In the absence of grandparents to overlook the care of the children, the best suggestion that I can give for working parents is that at least one parent should work from home when the children are younger and then work part-time once they are school-going. Apart from the very real risk of children being mistreated by the hired help, children need the time (‘quality time’ as well as ‘quantity time’) and attention from their parents to develop into secure and balanced individuals.

TMF – When we make men the provider of the house, one can be overburdened with responsibility. Similarly, when there is no child or they are grown up, a woman can equally take part in work force to help her husband. Then how is the gender-based roles justified?

Indira – You are suggesting that it is unfair that men take the entire responsibility of providing for the family.  I agree that stress levels at the workplace are perhaps at an all-time high these days. With profit being the main goal, unless one performs one will find oneself jobless. So how is it justified that the wife stays at home while the husband is working very hard? Firstly, just as the husband has the responsibility of earning the money, the wife has an equally important responsibility of utilizing the money wisely – by spending it frugally and saving the rest. Furthermore, the idea is not that the wife sits at home watching TV while the husband is at work. She does her part in making sure that the husband’s stress level is minimized by handling everything efficiently at the home front, so that at least on that account he is comfortable. For that the wife also has to work very hard.

I will give you my personal example. My husband had a very demanding job, which also involved traveling. Since he was working in the financial sector and dealing with huge sums of money, it was both physically and mentally exhausting. But at least at the end of the day, once he reached home, he could completely unwind. He would be welcomed into a clean house and served steaming hot food of his liking. He would not have to worry about paying the bills, getting the weekly provisions, taking care of repairs needed in the house, or even helping the children with their homework. We had only one car, so I would often drop him to office and the children to school, and then also pick them up. On my part I tried my best to reduce his stress. Also, we had the understanding that we would manage on whatever income he would be able to bring in.

Instead, we could have decided that I too should take up a job to bring in more money. Would that have resulted in my husband having less stress at work? Would he then have passed up important projects and been laid-back and complacent at work, thinking that it doesn’t matter whether or not he performs at work, since his wife also has a job? Of course not. Whether I had a job or not would not have reduced the pressure he faced individually at his workplace. If anything, it would have increased the stress he would face at home.

You have stated that particularly if the couple doesn’t have children or the children are grown up, then there isn’t that much work for the woman at home. I disagree. Even a simple set-up needs to be regularly tidied and cleaned. Food has to cooked, even if it is just the husband and wife living by themselves. Also, as I mentioned earlier, they may not have children to take care of, but eventually they will have the responsibility to taking care of their parents. Life, in general, has become more complicated, both at the work and domestic front. As such, it is beneficial for everyone in the family if the wife doesn’t have a full-time job outside and instead remains at home and maintains a serene, spiritual atmosphere.

For the full interview please visit

Interview Part 1:

Interview Part 2:

Book Review:

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