There was a point in time, when women were the sole caregivers in the family, and whether it was tending to aging parents, or bringing up children, the responsibility always fell on the women to make sure that everything was in place. Yes, it is true that women have always been expected to make their family a priority over their careers; giving up everything they had worked for, for the sake of their family and children. Few years ago, I was faced with same dilemma & I chose to go family way like most of other mothers, to take care of my kids. I took a break of 3-4 years from my career, gave birth & raised 2 kids during this period as a full time mum.
Since women are biologically blessed to give birth to a new life, it is quite natural that they would have to take a break when the time comes to start a family. And the presence of the mother is of utmost importance during the formative years of the child’s life. Trick is to plan it at a stage of your career wherein you can catch up soon & get back into the active workforce. This has been made easy by 6 months maternity leaves that corporate and public sector provide as mandated by law in India. You can add 6 more months of unpaid leaves to it & sail right back into your jobs with little help from your family & partner. Men today are far more sensitized to the issue of sharing equal domestic responsibilities. They are no longer rigidly patriarchal and many of them share domestic responsibilities with pleasure, and women today are no longer expected to carry the burden alone. The extended family and parents play a major role in lending a supporting hand when the time comes for the women to resume work.
Some mothers opt to stay with their kids for two to five years & join back once their child has reached a school going age, which works out well too. There are innumerable part time opportunities today and work- from- home jobs are in plenty for women who want to take it slow & transition gradually back into their careers. Thanks to technology, it is now easier to stay in touch with the family back home more than ever before. Children today are much more evolved than we were as kids. They are adept at using smartphones and make sure that they know how to call you or any other member of the family during an emergency if you are not home. Get yourself back in the groove slowly and train the kids to become independent and responsible from an early age.
But for women, who need to travel often & stay away from their children due to work commitments, find it more difficult to maintain that fine balance between work & family time. I too face this dilemma everyday. I am a mompreneur & due to vast geographical spread of Square Yards, I end up traveling 7-15 days in a month on an average. How do I make it work? I have made a robust system of strong routines for my kids which I follow with the help of my family & domestic help. “Organization & planning” is the key here. I have my children’s school time tables, homework submission deadlines, school projects, events & celebrations at schools, birthday parties, food menus for school & home, their after school activities which they do every day, anything & everything related to their lives neatly organized in a planner in which you can find in my kitchen. These routines then can keep on functioning smoothly with help from my family whether I am in Dubai with my kids or travelling. I make sure, I talk as much as I can with my kids everyday, about every little detail of their lives. I try to be virtually present in their lives even when travelling.
Another important trick is to talk to your kids about your work & how you love doing what you do. Your children should know “Why this job is important due to which you are travelling? ” Surprise them sometimes by bringing some presents when you come back from your work trip ;-) You will be surprised to know how understanding kids can be, like I was when I started talking to my kids about everything I do. Most importantly, kids need constant reassurance & love from both the parents. I try & spend more time with them whenever I am in Dubai. On weekends, we spend quality time together by doing stuff like DIY projects & science experiment; we cook; watch movies & go out to their favorite restaurant for dinner. I strongly believe it is not "amount of time" that you spend with your kids but the "quality of time" that matters. As a working mother you should constantly work towards building that "core value system" which you want for your children, which can be easily done in every day activities which you do together as a family.
There is nothing wrong with it if you want to prioritize your family over career, but you should not have to do it against your choice. Well, now you know, with more planning & thinking ahead you do not have to choose & you can do both. Speak to your spouse about sharing responsibilities before the baby arrives and stay in the loop by constantly reading up about industry news and other related articles to keep you abreast of what is happening in your field. So when you think of joining back, you will fit right in!
Square Yards is a technology-enabled, global real estate aggregator and India’s largest player for primary residential real estate. It’s subsidiary Square Capital is one of the largest marketplace for secured mortgages in India. Square Yards platform offers an integrated consumer experience & covers the full real-estate journey from search, discovery to research, transactions, home loans and post-sales service – fully integrating buyers to an extensive network of 500+ partner real estate developers, and 90+ banks & NBFCs. Square Yards is led by accomplished professionals, ex-bankers, and Ivy school alumni and is backed by the competence of more than 2500 employees in 30 cities and ten countries.