Unsolicited Tide of Popular Opinion

Nov 4 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

The two-month honeymoon period when I got married was a whirlwind of newfound love and bliss. We travelled together and cherished the prospect of learning from our distinct perspectives as we embarked on a shared journey.

Unfortunately, our decision to prioritise time for ourselves was met with resistance from family and friends who perceived it as a deliberate act of detachment. Perhaps they believed newlyweds should be content in their homes while hosting relatives who come bearing housewarming gifts.

Even after returning to the regular routine, they did not shy away from giving unsolicited advice on our lifestyle.

My job which required frequent travel at the time began to offend. I was accused of neglecting my husband, family and friends and was told to focus on my homemaking duties and social life instead.

Fast forward to recent times, I decided to join my husband's company and have a flexible work schedule. I can now work from home most of the time which has helped me with my work-life balance.

In a surprising turn of events, the same people who had lobbied against my busy schedule now have a different opinion. I was criticised for leaving my job to become dependent on my husband.

These individuals are clearly struggling to reconcile their perception of gender roles with my choices. They want me to be a successful career woman, but they also want me to be a conventional wife and mother.

Aside from the hypocrisy and interference, I find the attempts to divide married couples amusing. Couples should not compete with each other but work together for the same life goals.

The confusion does not end there. Odd comments started to flow when my pregnancy was announced. The same people who told us to have a child right away now say we should have waited at least two years.

Having a child is considered a career and adventure-ending choice for a woman. I am told to watch for depression signs and not resort to self-negligence while stuck raising a child as my husband's life remains thriving.

The pressure is high for my husband as well. Although he adjusted his work schedule to be at home and help out with our child, he is told that a mother's care is irreplaceable no matter how hard he tries.

It seems most unsolicited opinions are made without analysing the backstory.

The decisions we made worked perfectly for us, but in the eyes of a conservative family, we are labelled "modern" for ignoring long-built traditions. While it is wise to take advice from people with first-hand experiences, it is also essential to be mindful of comments. Unmerited opinions and expectations damage what was once a fine institution.

In an intertwined social structure, it is challenging to come across individuals who respect other people's privacy and understand their desire to live in a way that suits them.

People are capable of making choices that are in their best interest.

Unless our opinion on the matter is called for, we should all strive to mind our own business and let people be, even if we disagree. In times of uncertainty and a dearth of positive comments, it is better to refrain from speaking altogether.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 04,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1227]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

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