Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!
An Indian woman writes about handling the challenges of working mothers who want the best of both worlds.
Guest Blogger Barnita De is a Bengali by birth, brought up and educated in Kolkata. Working in Bangalore for the past 12 years she has 2 daughters aged 8 and 4 who are her world. She loves gardening, crafts and cloth work like applique.
I am a working mother, balancing a family, job, home, husband, two kids, etc. So what’s the big deal? Plenty of women do that. There are women who belong to the lower strata of society who do that and quite effectively too. Hence a holier-than-thou attitude does not help. I am not doing something no woman before me has ever done!
But why is it that some days seem to be so challenging? When all problems seem to find me only…. days when your child has an exam coming up, the other child falls sick and the promised report to the client is due the next day. All of this with of course the husband travelling, no full time maid or family support. There have been days I have looked around myself and thought – why me? Especially when the kids were small. But now I don’t. It is not that the situation has changed much. Maybe the kids have grown up a bit or my level of immunity to such problems has gone up?
Well it’s neither. It is the ability to accept the situation on hand. Such things will continue to happen and they have to be faced/ confronted, a solution found and life will go on.
Maids are the lifeline for many working mothers like me. No mattes how good a maid you get and however much you pay, suddenly they will walk away without looking back. Maybe they have other compulsions or priorities in life. Life will not stop without a maid. Some clear headed thinking is required, contingency plans put in place and a focused search for the next maid.
The client workshops are coming up and suddenly my daughter returns from school and excitedly informs that her oh-so-important play is scheduled on the same day as the very first day of the workshop. No panic. Smile and think about plan B. Not attending my daughter’s play would be an unforgivable sin but the client not being addressed on the first day would be near curtains for me in the project. So I had some explaining to do to my daughter, the father arranged as a “near” substitute with the assurance that mamma will not miss her next school event. It is not that I always miss her school stuff. In the 6 years she has been in school this was only the 2nd occasion that I have missed something. My daughter understood and all was well.
It is the similar to the often heard saying – it’s the way you choose to react to the situation that matters.
We want the best of both worlds – we want a family, a loving husband, happy kids and a home straight out of a home décor magazine. Also at the same time we want to be successful at work. I cannot talk for others but I do work under constraints. Constraints of housework, cannot stay too late, cannot travel often etc etc. But we put in our best efforts at work, and want to get recognized for that. We feel bad when we are passed over for promotions. Superwomen is a nice term but making that happen is next to impossible. I feel the only way to achieve it is to balance all out. A bit of all, may not be 100% in all. If we try to put in our 100% in all, we will satisfy only some not all. Plus we will be very hard on ourselves.
I understood this very clearly through certain experiences. I felt bad, just bad, if certain things did not happen. Sulked about it, maybe vented my ire as well. But then I learnt to balance out my expectations and along with that the level of disappointment if certain things did not happen the way I would have liked them. Life did not stop if they did not, so why waste my energy on them. Fine, if the less deserving colleague got the promotion instead of me, I felt bad but then moved on. I had grand plans of decorating the house prior to Diwali, complete with handmade paper lanterns and imaginatively placed fairy lights. It just so happened that my daughter fell sick so I ended up spending the most part of the day at the medical centre. Hence no time for the planned decorations.
Life will continue to throw challenges at each and every step. More than thinking and worrying about it, take them head on, if possible with a smile. Solutions to the problem will exist, we just have to think clearly and find it. And then all will be OK. If we fret about it, it will only add on to our anxiety and tensions.
*Photo credit: Kristin Smith.
Guest Bloggers are those who want to share their ideas/experiences, but do not have a profile here. Write to us at [email protected] if you have a special situation (for e.g. want read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
He said that he needed sometime to himself. I waited for him as any other woman would have done, and I gave him his space, I didn't want to be the clingy one.
Trigger Warning: This deals with mental trauma and depression, and may be triggering for survivors.
I am someone who believes in honesty and trust, I trust people easily and I think most of the times this habit of mine turns into bane.
This is a story of how a matrimonial website service turned into a nightmare for me, already traumatized by the two relationships I’ve had. It’s a story for every woman who lives her life on the principles of honesty and trust.
And when she enters the bedroom, she sees her husband's towel lying on the bed, his underwear thrown about in their bathroom. She rolls her eyes, sighs and picks it up to put in the laundry bag.
Vasudha, age 28 – is an excellent dancer, writer, podcaster and a mandala artist. She is talented young woman, a go getter and wouldn’t bat an eyelid if she had to try anything new. She would go head on with it. Everyone knew Vasudha as this cheerful and pretty young lady.
Except when marriage changed everything she knew. Since she was always outdoors, whether for office or for travelling for her dance shows, Vasudha didn’t know how to cook well.
Going by her in-laws definition of cooking – she had to know how to cook any dishes they mentioned. Till then Vasudha didn’t know that learning to cook was similar to getting an educational qualification. As soon as she entered the household after her engagement, nobody was interested what she excelled at, everybody wanted to know – what dishes she knew how to cook.