Is an active professional career absolutely irreconcilable with marriage, family and children? Every working woman has to take this dreaded path sometime into their lives when they are ironically well set and about to take the next big leap into professional fulfillment. What happens then? If you think carefully about it, a large number of women are seen to drop out from the corporate arena altogether to take care of their families and nurse their children. A majority of these women later seek ways to re-enter the workspace environment with no guarantees of a smooth transition since skill sets, job profiles and economic environments change rapidly over a sustained period of time. There are many women who take their maternity leave and then rejoin work with a vengeance, leaving their in-laws and parents to care for their children and also attend to family tasks.
These women are often victimized with our social and moral guardians (so-called) labeling them as selfish and non accommodating. However, sadly, the very same society does not quite do the same for a man who wishes to pursue his career with a no-compromise policy. After all, it’s a man isn’t it? Women in India are continually judged on many parameters without ever letting them be the persons they want. They are to be the caregivers and jugglers continually walking the tightrope between household tasks, raising children and attending to the wants and needs of the immediate family.
Coming back to our original premise, is it then impossible to successfully have a career along with being able to raise children, take care of family needs and so on? The answer is NO but before you start thinking that I’m going to talk about some improbable life goal here, remember that teamwork and support are hugely essential in this regard. A family, marriage and a child are all joint responsibilities and here is where the role of the man of the household also comes into play. There are successful women who have climbed the top of the corporate ladder and in most cases, you will find that their children do not really have anything to complain about when it comes to not getting enough time. In many cases, these children are also well brought up. This is because spending quality time is what matters. Quantity does not really matter.
This is lesson number 1, Successful working women make it a point to spend quality time with their children where they adopt a goal-oriented outlook with regard to solving their children’s problems, staying updated on their kids’ needs and wants, catering to their thirst for new activity, experiences and knowledge and also listening and opening up.
Lesson number 2 is cooperation and a little tweaking. Successful working women are always backed by supportive husbands and families who share responsibilities. These women divide tasks with their husbands and both prioritize the same as per their daily/weekly work schedules. This helps co-parenting blossom in the sweetest way possible and also helps both parents build special bonds with their children, something which is hugely essential.
Lesson number 3 is productivity and planning. With proper planning, anything can be accomplished. Talk to the top women leaders of today and they will state in unison that they have their days, weeks and sometimes even months planned down to the last detail. This helps them get maximum productivity at work and ensure proper work-life balance.
Lesson number 4 is instilling the spirit of self-sufficiency in children and family members which is anyway a vital life lesson. Independent children who are steadily groomed to look after themselves and take on household responsibilities always have an edge in life and this also frees up the space needed by both parents to continue with their careers.
The last lesson is love and support. There are times when women have to chip in with extra hours at the office or go on sudden business trips. It is in this context that the family members and husbands can help out by compromising on some of their own plans for this period. Rest assured, she’ll repay the favor at the earliest, whenever she can. Surely every woman and mother deserves this space and flexibility.
Here’s to more and more happy and successful working women who can proudly boast of having conducted flourishing careers, having also raised children and taken care of their families with aplomb! I personally belong to a family where my parents have always distributed responsibilities amongst themselves. Nothing came in the way of my mother’s career and both she and my father slogged tireless to give me the life that I lead today.
In fact, if my mother had not gone through the grind towards becoming a top management leader in the education space, I may not have got the upbringing I have and neither would the family have received the financial boost it badly needed at a time of struggle. My father has always been supportive and in fact, he has often switched roles to take over household tasks to help my mother execute her commitments without having to worry about me. My paternal grandmother has also been a second mother to me while she was alive.
My mother has managed amidst all this to spend ample time with me, to groom me, teach me and train me about life values apart from taking care of my schoolwork as well. My mother has instilled in me a sense of discipline, focus and work ethic that I feel proud of today. I am proud of my mother and also my father for being who they are. Being a product of such a family, I can safely say that women can easily resolve this dilemma provided they be the changes they themselves want to be!