Women's Day Special: Why Mumbai's working moms are supermoms
Despite all the strides made by women in all aspects of modern life, they still need extraordinary time management skills to manage their careers and their families
Women are often referred to as the better half of the species. And there is enough evidence to prove that women, in fact, are better than the other half. In this half, there are the supermoms.
Being a mother is a 24x7, 365-day, full-time, no pay, no hike, no bonus kind of a job. There are no breaks and definitely no holidays for a mother. Right from the time that the child begins its journey in the womb, the mother nourishes it and cares for it. And this is a lifelong assignment, so to speak.
Earlier, it was observed that if both parents are professionals, it would usually be the woman who would give up her career and sit at home to tend to the family. However, those days when women sacrificed their careers and became housewives after tying the knot are history.
Women today are far more career-oriented and give equal importance to their professions along with nurturing their children and families. Juggling between excel sheets, power point presentations and the child’s tiffin and school homework is just one of the many tasks that the new age woman performs today. The mark of a progressive society is where women form a majority chunk of its workforce.
Women are successful as entrepreneurs, CEOs, bankers, engineers and designers, to name just a few professions. One look at the political scenario in the Indian subcontinent will display how effective women have been in governing nations. Sri Lanka’s Sirimavo Bandaraniake became the world’s first female prime minister in 1960.
Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh) have all successfully led their respective countries. Here, we celebrate the multitasking woman who loves to dance in the rain, play with her kids on a carefree Sunday, and is ready to battle a mundane Monday with a heavy dose of cough syrup and a cup of hot coffee.
By the age of 18, Nita Bhaya had already carved her career path. She completed her CA and by 22 she had her first full-time job in hand. Amid all the pressures of accounting and balancing books, Nita started her family with the birth of her daughter Pranavi. She took a six-month maternity leave and went right back to work all guns blazing.
Name: Nita Bhaya
Profession: Banker/Chartered Accountant
Children: Pranavi (5) and Devaansh (2)
“Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about resuming work, but having a supportive organisation and a conducive work culture helped a lot,” says Nita. She started off with flexible hours, juggling her time between work and the baby, and soon figured out a plan to manage both effectively.
However, Nita admits it wasn’t as easy as it seems. “Honestly, it is a bit of a struggle. One always feels that there is not enough time in the day to spend with the kids after a full workday. However, I do try and ensure that I leave the office at a reasonable hour and able to spend at least three-four hours with the kids before bedtime,” adds Nita.
Having the support of family and relatives is a big boon for working moms. “My mother comes in to look after the kids once a week and they share a special bond with her. She showers them with love and makes them feel very special. My husband is also very supportive and fills in when I have some crazy work days.”
The supermom adds, “I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction that I am able to juggle and manage both work and kids. However, there are days when I get exasperated at not being able to spend enough time with the kids.”
>> Believe in yourself: have confidence in yourself and your ability to balance things out and don’t give up. It’s hardest in the initial phase.
>> Love your work: If you do not love what you are doing, you will not be able to push yourself in terms of time and energy.
>> Do not hesitate to ask for help: Whether it is in terms of flexibility at work, someone to help manage the kids at home or just take some time out for yourself.
Over the years, Pooja Solanki has worked with a host of architectural firms and carved a niche for herself in the world of interior designing.
She started working while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree and has continued ever since. After the birth of her son Karan in 2005, Pooja took a break and became a full-time mother. Six months later, she was back at her desk, only this time she had flexi hours to work with.
Name: Pooja Solanki
Profession: Interior Designer/Manager
Child: Karan (9)
“As a person, I need to be productive with my time to be able to do justice in all other areas of my life. I am a better mother because I was able to pursue my professional life,” says Pooja. Finding the right balance is the key and it varies from person to person.
“It’s always tricky to find the right balance between what should be and what is possible. Thankfully, I live with my in-laws and they were happy to baby-sit my son when I was away. Hence, it was relatively easier to step out when Karan was just six-months-old,” shares Pooja.
“It takes a lot of factors to get the balance just right, support at home as well as support from the employer. I have been fortunate on both accounts to reach where I am today,” adds Pooja who is Vice President (Projects) Tiles and Styles.
>> It’s most important to not lose your identity because that is what propels all the other roles.
>> With technology, it is becoming easier to work without being present at the desk at all times, depending on the nature of job.
>> A lot can be achieved knowing exactly which priorities can be juggled to match the circumstances.
Having graduated from NIFT, Rachna Shah began pursuing her passion designing. She began her career as a designer and manufacturer of fashion accessories, mostly of footwear.
After Aaditya’s birth in 2005, Rachna decided to take a long sabbatical from work and be a mom to her son. “My baby was my top priority. I took a sabbatical from work for about two years.
Name: Rachna Shah
Profession: Footwear Designer/
Child: Aaditya (8)
Then for the next few years I decided to scale down and restrict my work hours. About three years ago, Aaditya became independent, and that’s when I decided to commit myself to my career in a full-fledged way,” says Rachna.
It’s been a wonderful journey and she has been able to strike a perfect balance between her creativity and her son’s needs. “Being a mom is the best thing in the world to me, and being able to work also gives me a sense of balance. I am enjoying both my career and being a mother. I feel proud, secure and satisfied.”
She adds, “Like a lot of working moms, there were days or weeks when I used to feel guilty and completely overwhelmed. Today, when I look back I feel quite satisfied that I was able to manage both pretty well. My positive attributes of being a good multi-tasker, high on energy and full of life, along with the trust and support of my husband, my parents and in-laws all together helped me balance my time between my child, home and career.”
>> Accept that there will be good and bad days. It is beneficial to discuss your feelings with your husband or parents/in laws. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
>> Focus on a plan, get organised, list down all of the things that need to be done over the next few days
>> Everyone has a smartphone today, which is an amazing piece of technology. So, use it for more than just texting and updating your profiles on social media websites.