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You are a working mom. What can you tell your school-going child that will stand her in good stead when she grows up and has a career of her own?
For any woman who is working (in addition to taking care of home) and is a mother for some time, the journey is a steep learning curve. Working mothers are prone to fall prey to a guilt trap in their initial years and even in the later years of parenting.
Early motherhood is also the time when a change from work space to home happens for many women. Often that is because their dreams of a balanced life is far from what they see in reality. Not a single mother would hope the same for her daughters though.
Being the mother of a girl child helped me overcome those initial years of guilt and physical challenges of dual shift of work and home. I wanted to live the life that I dream for my daughter so that she can take her cues from her mother as she grows up. I kept going on with my work, in various forms like work from home, freelancer, career transition and so on. It was a lot of unlearning, re-analysis and re-learning along the way about the goals and definition of success and achievements.
When girls are in middle school, they learn the initial steps of project management, chasing opportunities and carrying a task. A lot can be taught to the girls at this time to make them aware of a working life with an achievable work-life balance.
Here are few nuggets of wisdom from a working mom to her daughter to make life more fun. Some habits that will stand in good stead in the daughter’s life and career, when she grows up.
You maybe unsure and have doubts about a new lesson. If you do not understand something, don’t worry. There may be many who are on same boat; they are just scared to ask questions. Also from time to time ask yourself “What’s next?”
Ask questions, don’t wonder what others will think. Asking questions shows that you were listening carefully, and that is called engagement in adult world. Asking yourself what next gives you certain ideas on your interests and prospects and leverage to plan.
At school you are studying multiple subjects together, so you are pushing your brain to learn a lot of things. Some subjects will catch your fantasy immediately, some will not. You can go deeper into the subject of your liking but you need to at least float on the others.
Don’t bother to be perfect on everything that you do, but avoid being a complete failure too. Try to be just good in most and perfect in some. Always find what improvement you can bring to anything you do.
You are walking through your “BFF” – Best friend forever zone and you get sad when you don’t have just one best friend for all your worries and queries. You know what, look around; there must be many more people around you who want to be your friend or acquaintance. Be cordial to as many people as possible. Smile, say hello, and praise others for small things. You will create a net of positivity and support for yourself.
Remember that just like you look up to your seniors for motivation, your juniors are looking at you. So be well behaved and smiling.
As we grow it becomes difficult to make new friends but if you make a habit of creating a community around you, you will see you are passing through many changes that life brings by getting tips and support from the community of people around you. A community of woman friends may often mean the difference between success and failure when you need support.
Read as much possible outside of your subjects. Challenge yourself and try reading stuff which does not attract you at once. Just like food give more chances to each genre of reading. You will amazed that a book that you did not like at age 11 years, becomes your best book read at age 15 yrs. Keep going back to books targeted for younger readers. There is much that you can still get from them, even when older. These books will also bring a smile on your face and you will know how little and silly you were few years ago.
At your work, you will need to reading about processes, management, white papers, and domain related news. Good reading habit will keep you aware of stuff happening related to your work. You will find it easy to connect with colleagues from different levels.
Be serious about your home work and projects at school. Submit them within deadlines. On some days this must be hard for you, and therefore you need to plan ahead and find ways to finish them. Often the entire project seems to be an overwhelming concept and it is important to break the whole project into small steps and focus on completing each step on time.
Plan ahead. This is a habit that will benefit you all your life. Whether you work outside home or not.
You will get bad days when you fall sick; you will fail at certain things you try. You will mess up on stage (actually you should mess up sometimes on stage) while performing, you will forget the homework notebook at home, you will be punished for being naughty.
Believe me these bad days will always stay in your memory. You would connect with your friends thinking of those days when you are adult. Take each day at a time and give each day a new chance to treat you with surprise. Each day take some time to get ready, and look smart. Reflect on the mistakes and challenges, to find how you will face them if you get another chance.
Just like reading makes you aware, math makes you sharper. You might find math boring and complicated at times, but believe me a good knowledge on math helps you negotiate better on project timelines, effort hour estimations, and your salary. All these are important parameters of a grown up life. Be careful of the numbers around you and understand their meaning. Start with counting the return money you get from the shop vendors when you buy a pen.
Childhood paves the path for a grown up. Often as a child we are told to be superhuman and achieve the success that world define for us. It is important that you find your passion, learn to create your own path, learn to explain things to others so people around you understand your point of view, find alternative ways to do what you want to do and most importantly have fun in your endeavor.
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Image source: working mom with daughter by Shutterstock.
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