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“Three out of four Indian women are neither working nor seeking paid work, putting India among the bottom 10 countries in the world in terms of women’s workforce participation”.
This presents a very grim reality. It is heartening to see a lot of efforts taken by corporates to provide more flexible working conditions, policies and inclusive culture. On the home front as well, families and spouses are being more open about sharing the household chores. Despite all this we all have our own rides — sometimes bumpy, sometimes smooth, sometimes accelerating and sometimes barely mobile. This is mostly because of the choices we make which could be voluntary or circumstantial.
Job has different meanings for all of us — for some it might be the lifeline to run the household, for some it could be a way to financial independence and yet for some others it might be their ambition or passion. The more we think of it as walking a tightrope — managing multiple things or going on a guilt trip for not spending enough time with family will just make it tougher to manage it. Given that it is the way of life, the earlier we accept it and start enjoying it, the easier it becomes to deal with. Despite all this I know it is easier said than done — but we need to start somewhere.
When I look back at my own journey line, it is certainly not been a linear trajectory. It has had plenty of peaks and troughs and I am completely at ease with it because this is the best I chose to do, given the circumstances and priorities. Here are a few things that I have learnt and practiced to help me stay afloat.
As I come from a household where both parents were working, it was normal for me to manage on my own when I came back from school or step-up to take care of my younger sibling. This upbringing made it easier for me to manage when I had my family and kids.
I have had my share of difficult choices — leave my toddler for an onsite assignment, giving up exciting career options abroad to take care of elders at home, giving up family time on weekends to attend conferences/networking events or taking extended maternity breaks. There have been heartaches and guilt trips, but accepting and owning these decisions and moving forward whole-heartedly has helped me immensely.
Setting up the expectations with your loved ones and explaining to them your job responsibilities and needs, helps to have an open dialogue.
Once you have made the choices, do not keep going back to the pros-cons. Own up your decision and focus on the actions and next steps.
There are only so many hours in a day that our body and mind can work productively. If we want to be able to do everything that we aspire to, then we need to let go off a few things which are not adding significant “value” towards our goals.
One needs to stop judging themselves all the time, avoid being the biggest critic for yourself all the time. You will be amazed to see the amount of time and support you get once you delegate or asked for help. Get people around you to help you in small ways. I love it when my kids help me with the little chores at home. On one side the work is split, we bond as we work and one the other side, they are learning life-skills.
Make sure you frequently acknowledge the contributions everyone is making and celebrate the little joys.
We all know that when one is happy internally it automatically radiates in everything the person does. Have that little time which is exclusively for you in your schedule.
Having time for myself has helped me stay rejuvenated and retains my energy levels. :). It has helped me to find colleagues who had similar likes and passions and helped us to thrive as friends for life.
There are always times when either work or home demands higher attention and time. It is fine to de-prioritize other things and focus your energies on the most important aspect. Be empathetic to the needs.
As much I talk about our careers, it needs to be in tandem with our spouses as well. Always have a very transparent chat about your priorities, insecurities and growth with each other.
My biggest strength to be able to deal with all the chaos life has thrown at me is my family, especially my spouse.
The list can go longer but I will pause here and hope these little nuggets are helpful. Do share what has worked for you and I would be keen to learn any new techniques.
First published here.
Picture credit: Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash (right)
StartUpStockPhotos on Pixabay (left)
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