Apart from the constant juggling of their professional and personal lives, most working mums are saddled with a huge guilty complex that they are not spending enough time with the children. Let go of this guilt before it affects you and your near and dear ones.
“Are you a working mom?” The question seems oxymoronic. Mums any age know that parenting is a 24/7 job. A stay-at-home mom has her own set of responsibilities as does a career mom. The extra load that a working mom carries with her is the guilt that she is neglecting her kids. This guilt constantly corrodes her mind till it leaves her an emotional wreck unable to focus fully on either work or home. Do not let this happen to you. Here are a few pointers to help you achieve a healthy balance:
• Fall back on your lovely family. It is in these times that one appreciates the advantages of the great Indian family. Being brought up among relatives, not only will your child feel safe and secure but will also grow up in the right kind of ambience. More often than not, both sets of grandparents chip in to help out the young mother. Grandparents bond big time with their grandchildren and the kids reciprocate with unconditional love. The natural camaraderie between the two generations leaves you with a relaxed frame of mind helping you concentrate on that upcoming big project.
• But with more and more households embracing the nuclear set-up, the reliance on crèches and daycares is much more apparent. Do your research before enrolling your child in a facility. Talk to the child minders, visit the premises, talk to other parents who have put their children in the same daycare, in short, satisfy yourself thoroughly before taking a decision. A little effort on your part will ensure happiness and comfort for your child.
• Tailor-made job: Adaptability is the mantra for modern mothers. More and more organizations are now appreciating the need for women to spend extra time with the kids and are fashioning career roles which help women pack in more work in less time. With flexi timing kicking in big time, the 9 to 5 concept has become almost redundant. With innumerable avenues opening up, women are flooded with multiple job options to choose from. Copy writers, content editors, proctors and graphic designers are just some of the myriad vocations to opt from.
• Swap roles: At your workplace, find a mom with a similar situation. Discuss with her and chalk out a plan where you both can swap parenting duties. If her work timings are different from yours then, nothing like it. You can work out an arrangement among yourselves. Drop your kids at her place at times and vice versa. Besides giving you both peace of mind, it will also give your children readymade playmates.
• Go on your own: If you fancy that going for a job is depriving you of spending time with your kid then, you can start something of your own. The business does not have to be a big money-spinner; any mini venture which gives you satisfaction will do just fine. And if you put your heart and mind into it, even the smallest of projects will grow into a big enterprise. Corroborating the fact, Uma Yogesh, Director of Thejomaya Centre of Excellence says, “I wanted to contribute to the family income. At the same time, I did not want to neglect my son. I wanted to be there for him when he did his homework or when he prepared for his examinations. Thus, I started this learning centre where kids can get coached in any subject they want. When I started off a year ago, I just had a couple of teachers and five students. Now, I have over twenty teachers and more than 150 students. And best of all, I can be with my son and ensure he is getting the best of training,” concludes the satisfied mom.
• Quality of time: It is true that working women get to spend only a little time with their kids in a day. But, despair not. After all, it is the quality and not the quantity that counts. Make every minute count. Do not just be in the same room, interact. Cook a meal together, pitch in together to clean the house, do some family gardening, read a book together, listen to your favourite soundtracks, just lie back and discuss your day. Make the weekends special. Go for a picnic, spend the day at the beach, and participate in nature or heritage walks. You will soon relish this time spent together and begin to look forward to it. A word of warning here: an occasional gift now and then is fine but do not smother your child with expensive gifts to ease your guilt. This will cultivate the wrong values in her and she will start equating love with gifts.
• Hubby darling: Hubbies have now begun to actively participate in bringing up kids. Changing soiled nappies, singing lullabies and giving the baby a bath comes more naturally to the modern metro-sexual man than his earlier generation. Do not hesitate to take his help. If you put across the request in the perfect manner, he will be only too willing to come to your aid.
• ‘Me’ time: Even Superwoman needs some rest. Remember that you are not an automaton who can be on duty 24/7. You need rejuvenation and relaxation too in order to be active in your personal and professional lives. Says Kavitha G., who runs a couple of Abacus learning centers, “Every year I take off to foreign climes for a fortnight. When I come back I am ready to give more than 100% to my work and family.” So, sneak out some ‘me’ time. Indulge in a spa treatment, curl up with your favourite book, meditate, in short, do anything that helps you bond with yourself.