Multi-tasking, work-life balance, mummy guilt, and more – how working mothers rise up to every challenge
Being a working mum is not easy and is rife with many challenges. Seven women tell us how they straddle both worlds by managing their time, prioritising and believing in themselves.Rekha Balakrishnan
Life as a mother is like being on a constant roller-coaster ride. And being a working mother is even tougher. The roller-coaster never stops, and while you try to valiantly wave at those standing below as you scream from a height, you will realise the ups and downs are a part of your everyday life. And it’s up to you to rise up to every challenge so that it does not bring you down.
While multi-tasking may be your watchword, you might also crave for some me-time. We spoke to a few moms about their challenges while juggling between work and family, but are confident of being in charge with self-confidence and plenty of support.
Here’s what they had to say.
A life filled with love and laughter
“Raising a son keeps me super busy. Yet, I also have this little show that I pull off every day, that I call a corporate job!
“I have been suffering from this syndrome called BMS for 14 years now, and guess what, it’s going to last me forever. Now ask me, what is BMS! There is nearly half of this world suffering from the same too. Its ‘Being Mom Syndrome’. My son is 14-years-old, and being a mom is expected to be the most important ever. Well, now I live with a gyaani baba, and this gyaani baba gives gyaan to his clan on handling mums. Throwing tantrums when mum’s on a call, to arm twisting to unlock the phone during the no-phone time, are just a few basic tricks he teaches.
“What keeps me going? Sneaking a wine and whine session whenever possible!
“On a serious note, my being less accessible has made him independent and responsible. Made the times we spend with each other filled with love and laughter. Above everything, he knows how to treat a woman. God bless him!”
Urvi Mehta, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Excelra
Believe in the power of 'self'
“When I was asked to pen down my journey as a working woman along with its challenges, the very first thought that struck my mind was - who is not a working woman? The fact remains that all women are working, but their spheres of work might be different. Some work outside and some work full-time as an integral part of the family system - a homemaker.
"I am a wife, a mother of two, a grandmother of two, a passionate academic leader, an author, a life-transformation mentor, Founder of utheuniverse and the Co-founder of Bump to Baby co. I am sure many of us wear many hats like these, but I have always kept my priorities clear. My children, my family, and my work are my responsibility. I sing, dance, and play with my grandchildren. However, I have never compromised on my “me time”. Self-love, self-worth, and self-esteem are the important mantras besides focus and hard work for me to succeed in all spheres of life. ‘Plan, Prepare, Pamper, and Prosper’ is my thumb rule. Never stop believing in the power of the ‘self’.”
Dr N Madhuri Parti, Co-founder, The Bump to Baby Co.
Don’t set unreasonable standards
“More and more women are stepping out of their homes, going back to work post pregnancy, and staying in their jobs, becoming an integral part of the economy’s growth story across the world. The initial struggle to reach that decision was very emotionally multi-layered and difficult for me. Personally, my biggest strength was my acknowledgement that taking support is not a sign of failure. Surrounding ourselves with support makes balancing motherhood and career much easier.
“The pleasure and the sense of fulfilment that the initial days of work gave me helped me objectively view this inner push and pull, making me realise that I can be a far better mother only if I myself am happy. What helps me is that I simply don’t set unreasonable standards of utopian perfection for myself and ensure I am enjoying my time with my children.”
Tejas Parulekar, Co-founder, SaffronStays
Support from family a must
“As a working mother, I have taken responsibility for two important jobs; firstly - managing my business, and secondly - taking care of my child. However, the biggest challenge which came across the way was to give my child that special attention without compromising on my dreams and aspirations. I have seen many women sacrificing their career to become full-time mothers. But in my case, I am thankful to my family members who constantly supported me at every stage - be it workplace or at home. Managing both roles and constantly multi-tasking can become the toughest part of a mother’s life. But when you have a supportive family with kids becoming your pillar of strength, it becomes easier to manage dual responsibilities with comfort and ease.”
Sakshi Katiyal, CEO, Home & Soul
Conflict between passion and motherhood
“Three years ago, I became a mother twice - first with my startup i2iFunding.com, and soon after with my darling daughter. Within 40 days of my daughter’s birth, I was at work. Both needed my full attention, but thanks to my family and friends, I navigated through successfully. i2ifunding and my daughter were born nearly together, and I was nurturing them with equal amount of love and care so that they grew up beautifully.
“The biggest challenge I faced after being a mother was to live with the constant conflict between following my passion and motherhood. The challenge lies in dividing the days, hours, and minutes between the two. But work gives me a sense of achievement, and it is my daughter who completes me and is the greatest gift. I am now looking forward to continue this balancing act for years to come. i2ifunding flourished in the very initial years of its inception, and my daughter was growing at a very fast pace.”
Neha Aggarwal, Co-Founder, i2iFunding
Grappling with guilt
“For all working mothers like me, achieving a work-life balance is a bit challenging. I sometimes grapple with the guilt that I don’t give quality time to my little ones, especially when they are sick. Several times, I have missed their important school events, PTM (parent- teacher meetings), and other school celebrations due to important business meetings.
“But with the passing of time, to some extent I have been able to manage the work-life balance. And I am really thankful and grateful to my three children, who are always there for me, and I’ve been able to reconcile a professional life with motherhood. With their support, I am able to cope with all my duties and multi-task in different parts of my life. This has helped me spend quality time with my children without affecting my professional life.”
Shaheen Khan, Founder and CEO, CEDP Skill Institute
Time management is key
“A woman and a mother are often regarded as being the epitome of strength. Being a working woman in today’s day and age is tough and to add to it getting into the role of a working mother adds to the ever-increasing multi-tasking element. There is nothing more that I enjoy than being a working mother. According to me, being a working mother doesn’t have challenges but lessons. Having been in the retail industry which is highly demanding, time management is one of the major challenges that I face on a regular basis. The constant element of multi-tasking and managing the balance in both worlds that is at home and family and work and personal career growth requires your undivided attention. But due to my ultimate role model that is my mother I have learnt to take challenges head-on.
“My mum has always been my strong support system, who has always encouraged to carry on in the face of challenges. I have gained inspiration from her and seen the obstacles she has faced and overcome in spite of being a working mother and this is what I aim to pass on to my children - to be strong individuals in society and create an independent identity for themselves.”
Rima Pradhan, Vice President, Marketing – Sheth Developers - Viviana Mall