Many of us think that Motherhood and Career cannot go hand in hand. If one is given the priority, then the other would certainly feel the pinch. But these days, technology has helped us make our lives more convenient. Many Multinational Corporations believe in providing the much needed work-life balance to their employees by giving them the option to work from the comforts of their own homes for a few days in a week. But, are there companies that let their employees, particularly women, to work remotely without a need for coming to the work place at all?
However, the need for a work-life balance happens to be more common among mothers. Let us take the case of youngsters and men. They prefer to go out and work as it gives them an opportunity to step away from home and their household responsibilities for a short while. In contrast, do mothers have that choice? Well, they do, but only at the cost of sacrificing their motherhood. Of course, some women have their parents-in-law or parents living with them to take care of their children while they go out for work. There are also some others who might decide to hire a maid or a nanny to look after their kids. But then again, can any of these options truly replace a mother?
This was the pervasive feeling that haunted me when I first held my new-born daughter. I had bid farewell to my comfortable job at Wipro Technologies, Bangalore. I had decided to become an unselfish mother who was ready to sacrifice her career for the new life which would be depending on me to make it’s living on earth. I was truly enjoying this new experience of being a mother, recording each milestone of my daughter, smiling while she did something new every day and feeling enthralled about it, feeding her different types of nutritious food, taking her on a stroller to the park every evening and many other things, which any mother could never get bored of. However, something tugged at my heartstrings. Was I doing anything for myself? I began to feel sudden pangs of inferiority about neither having a career nor a steady income.
On the other hand, I received appreciations from one set of people, particularly the older generation women, who asked me, ''Did you quit your job to take care of your daughter? Wow child, you have made a correct decision.'' This statement alone reflected the significance Indians bestowed upon parenting.
While the older generation appreciated me, there also existed another set of people who looked down on me. These were the younger and more educated lot with a broader outlook towards life. They asked me, ''Is your child already one? Are you still breast-feeding? No plans to get back to your career?'' Some would say, ''I thought I should quit my job for my baby. But being so highly qualified, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. We don't need to sacrifice so much for our children. We have the right to have things done for ourselves.'' All this talks and advices made me doubt my decision yet again.
Had I not quit my job, I would have heard taunts from the older generation people at my home. But by quitting my job, I am now being scoffed at by a few others.
After a year or two l, I accompanied my husband to UK where he had been posted for a project of his company. I gave birth to my son there and then I decided that with two children, I may not have any other option other than child rearing. Perhaps this is my destiny. I have two beautiful children and what more do I need?
After I came back to India, I realized that my relatives and friends were somehow managing to juggle between motherhood and work. This is when I made that important decision to restart my career. I decided to become a little selfish mother at this point. However, it was still difficult for me to completely make up my mind to go back to a full-time job after six years of being unemployed. So I joined a company that provided me with an opportunity to work from home as an Academic research writer.
After a year, I made up my mind to go for a full-time job. However, I had certain conditions. My place of work needed to be in close proximity to my residence so that I can come back home early to spend time with my children. Although I was able to find a company near my residence, the company was a start-up, which meant working overtime just like it happens in any typical start-up environment. Here, I ended up becoming a completely selfish mother without getting even a bit of a chance for becoming a selfish employee. At this point, I had turned into a typical career-minded woman. In fact, my daughter who was old enough now, started jeering at me for not giving her enough time and attention.
Finally, I had to make a decision to quit my job. One of the Consultants, who was working in the same company, offered me to join his new venture. He understood my situation perfectly and told me I could work part-time from home. This meant I could prioritize my children and use the spare time for the company when they were off at school. I was quite surprised at this offer and asked him why he was being so liberal. During my tenure at that company, he had noticed my sincerity at work. He said he wanted such sincere employees in his company and he did not care about the number of hours they put in, or the place they worked from. All that mattered to him was the quality of work and not the number of hours. I accepted his offer and started working from home.
So here I am today. I am very happy with my job which gives me great work-life balance. I get some time to work when my kids are at school. I am a working woman. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to take my children for a stroll to the park in the evening, cook delicious food for them at home, or help them complete their homework and school projects. I am able to do all of that while being employed. I also get off from work when my children have a doctor's appointment or if I have to go to school for their parent-teacher meetings.
I thank Piccosoft Software Labs India Private Limited and specially the CEO of the company, Mr. Suresh Sekar, for providing me enough space to be a little selfish employee in the company.
I also have a message to all educated and qualified mothers out there. There are many companies that are open to having women employees who can work from home. You can definitely find such companies, just like I found mine. There are websites like sheroes.com and jobsforher.com from where you can find plenty of work from home job opportunities tailor-made for women. You do not have to quit your career for your child. You can certainly have a career of your own and enjoy your motherhood at the same time. Just like how I have been doing for a good while now.