How many of you (how many of us) have ever tried to clearly define a good mother? I guess these days it became kind of ambiguous… Earlier, this role seemed simpler to identify: a woman belonged only to home space, and her most important duties included care for children, home and husband who earns money for the entire family. But recently many things have changed, also in India that seems to be very strict on woman vs man responsibilities division. As a result of cultural and economic shift in family model, we witnessed kind of a transformation. Now, a good mother is still largely responsible for the house and children, but the home responsibilities are/or ideally should be/ shared between her and her husband or partner. Not always met in India, sad but true. What about a professional responsibilities dicision. What about woman who decides to follow the career path? What about those who return to work after break? What about Corpo Mums in India back to 9-6 office work?
When a woman decides to return to a professional life after any break (but frankly speaking, it is mostly after maternity leave), she must squeeze two very demanding worlds in her private life: her career and her motherhood/husband relationship. And it’s not just about comfort, but about rearranging the entire life balance. On the other hand, let’s be honest: working mum is more effective, creative and better organized when she can be calm about her children and home.
In many western companies, all this adjustments are made successfully to fulfill woman’s professional aspirations. A simple solution works there without fail – work from home option. With this small step, an effectively working mother do not transform into a frustrated and tired mother. In India, unfortunately, this practice is very rare, and that is a pity as companies are losing loyal employees (very often back to work after the maternity leave ends leads to voluntary resignation). Little by little, Indian companies try to adjust and follow western practices ie building creches or kindergartens just by the company.
Corpo Mums in India with whom I spoke in my current company, emphasize the importance of their direct supervisor. A leader who shows understanding and empathy can make a great impact in even unfriendly maternity business. Hoping for the best for all the mothers-to-be and her professional commitments.
What is it for me?
Many corporations already noticed that introduction of facilities for pregnant women and new mothers is an investment. Even some benefit schemes for parents are created. But, frankly speaking what I noticed, especially in Indian companies that sometimes lack of privileges for professionally active mothers is the result of the attitude of women themselves. They do not speak to their superiors about their needs, do not share ideas about their work organization, and often do not even know their rights. They think that the employer should come out with initiative that would make their life easier. For years they get stuck in a situation that is difficult for them. Unnecessarily.
So much then depends on the attitude of the woman! If she expects the corporation (or any other company) to be against her, that’s what she’ll get. If she expects the organization to meet her needs, same – she will get what she expects.
What is my corporate-maternity story?
My come back to work was kind of a half-mandatory – my visa was about to expire that time and I had two solutions to follow. Either extend it (actually convert from a tourist visa to an entry visa) or change it to an employment type – if I get a job – that means when I get all the documents needed to apply and get a visa on time.
Till now I do not know how, but the second option was somehow done on time (couldn’t believe my Indian luck those days!) and I joined the company that later turned out – neither was fulfilling my dreams nor developing my competences, career aspirations. Of course, I had the guilt in me that I left My Kutti Papaa with nanny, but frankly speaking this maternity “leave” hit my freedom pretty much. Being apart from the family, relatives, any direct support I felt extremely tired, even though I felt even more tired when I returned to 9am-7pm work. Expat life, expat motherhood can be exhausting indeed. And then, I landed in job that required sitting at my desk (and literally doing nothing) for 9.5 hours a day Monday to Saturday. What obviously made me feel loosing and wasting time.
At that moment I have already decided and figured out, to change the job and set very clear limits of my personal values and priorities. I made three huge changes in my corpo day routine.
Mastering to do listing
To do list is prepared from the first minute to the very last ID card swiping for the day. I do tasks faster, my efficiency amazingly increases when I precisely know how much, what and by when I have to do them. On the other hand, it is a perfect time for myself, my personal development, training, spending time and talking with adults. In office, I take mental rest, even though I know that 30 minutes after I leave my desk and reach home, I return to the second job, that I truly love, indeed.
Corpo gossiping went minimal
Chitchatting hours over a cup of tea? Or coffee? Forget 🙂 Now, it’s only 5 min sip at my desk. This part of corporate life I regret and miss little more. Everyone needs at least a little bit of social contact that in fast-corpo-Mum life is lost. Such compromise between aspirations and role of uncomplaining shadow, silently fulfilling housewife duties becomes a routine.
Daily calls extending my working hours – I’m a mum, please excuse!
I am a big fan of Pareto principle. 20% efforts should bring 80% results. Day to day filled with meetings? Is my presence really required for all of them? Am I really pushing my things forward being present at all these discussions? Guess the answer. Being assertive and knowing how to say no (setting the priorities) comes with age, but makes miracles as per work life balance. Self tested. True story.
Let’s have a plan
Personally, I’m not a 100% housewife type. I need little more in life than laundry, cleaning and cooking. When I work, time passes faster, I am less frustrated, more satisfied, I am back to home mentally refreshed. I think it’s a matter of character.
Being mum is the perfect moment when we-women can really slow down. It’s a great time to think about the important things in life. Sometimes, we can figure out unexpected things. Maybe our current job does not give us satisfaction, maybe we would like to do something completely different. It is worth to consider: Am I interested in a small change or would it be better for me to change the job? When we answer these questions, we can plan the steps: either follow our jobs as usual, else attend training sessions, else train ourselves else or start creating your own.
One thing I want to highlight. To make everything clear to everyone, I do not want to judge anyone, that’s not my intend. This text is created based on my personal experience.
I wish all moms or even those who stayed at home or those who went back to work or those who started to build their own business to look at the world that is and will be full of pitfalls and limitations, but also full of opportunities. All the best beautiful individuals!
Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious what was your story on rejoining the company? Was it difficult or quite the contrary – piece of cake? – please share some comments. And if you liked the article – share it, click “Like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.
photo source: picjumbo