Single mother alone in Kolkata,Delhi,Kerala anywhere in India!

#1 Jun 21st, 2010, 15:31
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  • bushweg is offline
#1
I know we are not allowed to post advertisements about certain companies; however, I could really use some honest feedback. Im debating about traveling with my 6 year old boy to attend either a ATI TESOL or CELTA course. I have mixed emotions about the two institutions. ATI offers a 3 month internship, whereas CELTA offers a prestigious well known name. Some people think Im an insane,careless mother for relocating to India with my son. However, I believe exposure to another culture is not only educational,but it also encourages a person to develop acceptance of diversity and discourages ethnocentrism. India has many single mothers, so I would not be alone. Should I really let the color of my skin, my gender, and the geographical location of my birth hinder me from exploring a country that I have spent years studying through only books,journals,friends and films?? I dont wish to be the couch anthropologist anymore, nor do I wish to buy into this mommy myth. Ok, Im finished venting.

"one day as a tiger is better than a thousand days as a sheep."
#2 Jun 21st, 2010, 17:14
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  • Nick-H is offline
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India has many single mothers, so I would not be alone.
Wrong.

India is full of happy people with arranged marriages, living in extended families. It does not have teenage pregnancy, unfaithful spouses, divorce, or single parents.

OK... that's the PR --- and of course, it is very far from the truth --- but if you think you will be able to meet up with two or three single mums when you are at the supermarket, as you might well in your home country, then I think you are mistaken.

So... how do you plan to arrange daycare for your child while you are doing your training? I'm not a parent, which limits my use as advisor on this, but I'd say that the situation is similar to my home country: if you can afford to pay for private nursery/school/care, then that's fine, but I don't think it will come cheap. If you can afford it, your son may well have a great time, although you might ask him how he feels about it.
Quote:
Should I really let the color of my skin, my gender, and the geographical location of my birth hinder me from exploring a country that I have spent years studying through only books,journals,friends and films?
Should I let my cat hinder my travels? My dog? My parrot? My child? Your son is six: you'll be free again in about fifteen years!

(I do let my cat hinder my travels!)
#3 Jun 21st, 2010, 17:23
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  • Barkha is offline
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India has single Moms..and more so in metro cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore etc..I know many single happy moms raising up their kids single handed n very well.

You might run into some at the supermarket, malls etc but the only thing is that they might not reveal that they are single parents and they have their reasons behind it (the most common being that in India being a single mother is still not considered common n ok kinda thing)

But hey this shouldn't keep you from not coming here with your son. Do come and trust me though it will be a culture shock initially but u'l love it and be accepted as you are..

One thing I love about we Indians that though we are prejudiced about certain things n double standard we accommodate easily and aren't bad at heart (but then no human being is)
#4 Jun 21st, 2010, 17:48
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  • newislander is offline
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Isn't the main question, can you get work teaching English? I am not sure but i am inclined to think it won't be that easy.

If you are sure about the work, then follow your heart. Do what you want. The kid will cope. But be clear about one thing, life will be harder in India for you if you don't have a ton of money up your sleeve. And if you do, it might still not be ideal. Especially if you are going to live in a large city. At least that's my feeling about it. There's a few small spots where you might feel good living but these are not the cities.
#5 Jun 21st, 2010, 17:53
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  • Wildhorse is offline
#5
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Originally Posted by Barkha View Post India has single Moms..and more so in metro cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore etc..I know many single happy moms raising up their kids single handed n very well.
I'm very surprised - and I would like to know more because I didn't expect this in India. Are these divorced women who got custody of their children? Or are these women who have never been married? What kind of women? Are these women from well-off families who either don't have to work or who have good jobs to support their children? And if not well-off, how do they make a living and who looks after their children while they are at work?
#6 Jun 21st, 2010, 18:00
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  • Wildhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by bushweg View Post Should I really let the color of my skin, my gender, and the geographical location of my birth hinder me from exploring a country ...
I think that a 6-year old is not too young to be taken to a trip to India but, as Nick pointed out, you may want to ask him how he feels about it. That you are keen on the experience is clear but your child may have other wishes, which are no less relevant.

So, while I think a holiday trip to India is possible, I'm not so sure if an internship of several months is a good idea as you may not be able to spend much time with your child (and make him feel comfortable in a strange country). Again, as has been pointed out, it depends on how much money you've got.
#7 Jun 21st, 2010, 18:14
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  • nayan is offline
#7
How long are these courses?
Do you want to relocate only for doing the courses or do you plan to work in India after the course is over?
Indian Metros do have single moms but numbers will be way less than most western cities. Also most single moms have support of extended family for childcare.
Day care centres are widely available in big cities. It is not very expensive by even Indian middle class standards. For a 6 yr old it will be mostly afterschool activities. You will have to get him admitted in a school first.

Mod Note : Edited thread title to change Kalkutta to kolkata
#8 Jun 21st, 2010, 18:18
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  • prince09 is offline
#8
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Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post I'm very surprised - and I would like to know more because I didn't expect this in India.
This is the reality of Urban India, more so in the last 10-15 years.
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Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post Are these divorced women who got custody of their children?
Some are and some in the process of getting divorced/fighting in the courts etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post are these women who have never been married?
Very unlikely.Some super rich women may be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post What kind of women?
Middle class and above.Some poor too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post Are these women from well-off families who either don't have to work or who have good jobs to support their children?
Both.Some don't have good jobs but still manage.

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Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post And if not well-off, how do they make a living and who looks after their children while they are at work?
Like other single women in the world(minus the social security payment from government). Parents/Relatives/friends/servants/ child care centres.
#9 Jun 21st, 2010, 18:52
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  • Nick-H is offline
#9
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Originally Posted by Barkha View Post India has single Moms..and more so in metro cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore etc..I know many single happy moms raising up their kids single handed n very well.

You might run into some at the supermarket, malls etc but the only thing is that they might not reveal that they are single parents and they have their reasons behind it (the most common being that in India being a single mother is still not considered common n ok kinda thing)
That's what I meant, Barkha. Yes, of course India has single mums --- I married one!
#10 Jun 21st, 2010, 19:08
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  • bushweg is offline
#10
Thank you so much for all your replies. The nuclear family is truly a western invention. As an American living in Germany,Im able to identify how isolated single women are here. From the beginning of time,and due to globalization men have to relocate for work, women are graduating and obtaining careers, more Indian women are categorized as "single mothers." The entire wording is false; however, what makes her single? I crave to have a group of caring and supportive women surrounding my child and me. Although many may argue, India is slowly progressing on womens issues. I truly have to stay positive about this issue. Some may consider being a single mother a privilege, but its life’s circumstances and one’s own personal ideologies and identities which undoubtedly define our social spaces.
I dont have a job lined up. I do have some money saved and I have a little bit of money each month. After my certificate, I really would like to relocate to a more isolated village.I could just take the TESOL class here in Germany, however, I dont wish to teach business English. I desire to teach marginalized populations including single mothers and children. Moreover, many ESL trainers recommend obtaining a certificate in the country where you wish to work or volunteer.

My decision is not simply an itch for an adventure; rather I have been contemplating this trip for years. I know that I will endure major culture shock. Even Indians who live away for years and then return also experience such shock.
My son is completely open to India. Just last night, he asked me turn on an Indian documentary.One problem is that he really only speaks German, but he can understand English.

I just notice that I simply gravitate to this rich diverse culture and the people. When Im walking the streets of Berlin, and I see Indians my heart begins to race, and I wish to have a conversation. And as Barkha pointed out, yes, many Indians can be very warm and welcoming. They are not as formal as some Germans; therefore, I deliberately seek out and actually have stalked other Indians here in Germany just so I could have a warm, friendly conversation. Im also am not a nave woman who will chat with every stranger on the street.
As far as putting my life on hold for 17 years, well thats not even an option. My child, unlike a cat, doesnt sleep 8 hours a day, and he enjoys accumulating knowledge with so much excitement. After seeing a show on the Mount Everest and the Himalayas, he now wishes to gather a bunch of books about mountains.

@ Nick Your friends and family could always look after your cat and provide food and cuddles, but my son is like a part of my body. Without him, I feel as if Im missing my neck. However, with that being said, I refuse to wear a neck brace for 17 years and limit my range of motion and mobility.
#11 Jun 21st, 2010, 19:19
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  • prince09 is offline
#11
Bushweg, From your description of what you feel & think about india, its time you're there in India, surprised you're not already!
#12 Jun 21st, 2010, 19:30
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  • nayan is offline
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A bit on the practical side -
1. Start improving your son's english speaking skills.
2. English teaching is not really a lucrative career for an expat(unless you are on some corporate program or with a posh international school). Its quite different from japan, Korea or south east asia in this respect.
3. A volunteering job in a remote village will mean a very low stipend. You have to be prepared for a very spartan life for yourself and your son.
4. People in remote villages may not be very open about single mothers

Its better to plan for the course first and then see how things pan out.
#13 Jun 21st, 2010, 19:44
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  • Wildhorse is offline
#13
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Originally Posted by nayan View Post 4. People in remote villages may not be very open about single mothers
And why would they want to learn English anyway?


Prince09: Thanks for explanation.
#14 Jun 21st, 2010, 19:53
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  • Nick-H is offline
#14
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Although many may argue, India is slowly progressing on womens issues.
India is fifty-years or more behind on gender issues. Outside of the metros, it might be several hundred years behind.

I don't want to put you off this country, in which I have chosen to live, in any way, and I'm really glad to hear about your son's thinking.

It is easy to have a warm and cuddly impression of India from a distance. Where you find single mothers, I think you will find them too concerned with their own survival to find resources to be supportive towards a foreign stranger and another child --- unless you can find some way to be equally supportive to them. In fact, I have doubts that you will find a community of single mothers at all. Maybe in the biggest metros. Interesting to know what our down-to-earth Indian members, particularly the ladies, have to say. I'll be reading with interest too!

<crossposted with Nayan herself>

Quote:
4. People in remote villages may not be very open about single mothers
In fact, there will be people who hate and despise you. Even in cities. Are you prepared for a level of prejudice that you may not have dreamt possible and would never put up with Europe? Are you ready for people to have that attitude to your child?
#15 Jun 21st, 2010, 20:24
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  • bushweg is offline
#15
Youre right Nick. These are serious issues that I need to consider. I have also been looking into Auroville, which appears to be a community, rather a "city in the making" that I could seriously commit myself to. I always believe in being equally supportive.
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