Every time I tell fellow working mothers that I get to take my 2-year old twin boys to a daycare center, that I incidentally own and call the shots at, I can see them turning green like the Western Ghats in the monsoon. Getting to professionally do what you love, make some decent money while at it, have your twin boys run around and get pampered like they own your workplace while you get to boss over 120 other women, can sound like an ideal recipe for work-life balance for professionally inclined women.
But all’s not as rosy. My kids fall sick just as often, near-and-dear ones every now and then wonder aloud if I’m on the right track and the skepticism of prioritizing work over family is just as strong as that for any other guilt-laden working mom.
That being said, as both, an at-workplace-creche-provider offering support to other moms and a guilty-as-hell working mom myself, I’ve decided to share my experience. To connect with fellow mothers, either working, or contemplating to work or simply enjoying the envy of working moms by taking care of their little one but somewhere deep down suppressing the opposite guilt of not pursuing her dream profession.
Eventually it all boils down to what YOU want
Don’t let anyone fool you into believing otherwise. Not even your husband, manager, children, mother or mother-in-law. We, Indian women in our 20-40s have largely been brought up with enough education and social/ family support to pursue our professional dreams. However, we haven’t been freed of the social guilt of leaving our little one in the hands of others while we pursue our dream or simply work to co-earn the increasingly expensive bread. It’s fine if you are perfectly happy as a stay-at-home mom so long as that’s what YOU want. I, for sure would suffer from an identity-crisis 10 years down the line when my kids grow up and start studying on their own and I get laid off my job as a full-time mother! You need to figure out what’s best for you, any only for you! The way I see it, I’m a mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law in relation to someone, but I need an occupation to figure out who I am for myself. You may see it differently, and that’s perfectly ok. But suppressing what you want to make someone else happy, even for your child, is not ok! There’s no easy answer to the full-time v/s working mom dilemma, not even with the luxuries my profession accords. Simplify it by only keeping your own good in mind. If you will be happy, everyone around you will be happy!
Make some rules
Juggling different hats – chef, nutritionist, sweeper, shopper, home-doctor, saver, earner, manager, subordinate, wife, driver, laundry lady – isn’t just difficult but impossible.
Make some rules. Here’s a quick list of what I follow
1) Hard-code your out-time at work.
2) Keep realistic goals.
3) Don’t aspire to be a perfectionist – especially with kids (you’ll never be one anyway so stop fretting about it).
4) Shop on weekends
5) Get off social media on weekdays
6) Delegate! Upward, downward, sideways.
Figure out a good doctor and then trust him completely. Let the grand moms know that the evil, money-minded good-for-nothing doctor is slightly more qualified to diagnose and treat their grandchild. Also, stop Googling medical hacks.
Get hubby to read aloud news headlines over breakfast. I do, and it’s more exciting than Aaj Tak with all the masala he adds to every event!
Take all the help at hand! (wink wink – sign up at Little Big World )
Of course honey, you are the best caregiver for your loved one (so what, if you get a minor cardiac arrest every time your little one gets a viral). I’ve possibly come across 500 moms at Little Big World and almost everyone has taken over a year to reluctantly accept that her child’s okay without her. Start trusting others … your doctor, mother, husband, maid, mom-in-law or even the daycare down your workplace, they are all mature, equally capable and well-intended people to give just as good or even better attention and care to your child. They may do it differently but not poorly.
They said it takes a village to raise a child, so stop telling yourself that it’s either you or nobody