Article By Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Senior Research Consultant – AVTAR Group
Welcome 2019. The New Year has begun and most of us are busy making mental notes of New Year resolutions – more exercise, less ice cream, more of me-time, less controversies or arguments, more book-reading, less negativity, more this, less that and so on. The fact is that all these promises get broken no longer than the second or the third week of the first month of the year. And the chances are that you did something similar in your previous years.
We, as working mothers are more often facing the “Mommy Penalty” in wages. To top that, at the personal level we are perhaps over compensating for all those non-available hours with kids and family by splurging on whatever time that is there with us. So, the end result, giving away the time that you consider precious. We are always caught in the conundrum of how much time is good enough to spend with oneself, family, kids and friends. There is no off-the-shelf solution or an answer. Nor will you find a template that you can cut and paste in your life to follow. Yes, there are time management templates, but you need to mold those to suit your needs and wants.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how much you plan, schedule your year for yourself, managing work and home, family-related matters and the resultant ‘stressors’ take precedent over your planned calendar.
But trust me, being a working mother can be extremely rewarding if you know when to shift from Mogul to Mom, and back again!!
To start with, peep into yourself and define what you are and what you would want to be. Working mothers define themselves as “Moms” first and “working” professionals. Don’t let any of your status define you. Ito a Mogul, then Mom back. At least once a year, try re-inventing yourself, re-evaluating yourself by meeting your school and college friends. Be the person that you are and that you want to be.
Build your network
No matter what profession you’re in, networking is the fuel that accelerates success. Not only is it useful for learning directly from individuals that you meet, but there are benefits of those associations are just powerful. So, how do you network? There is no instruction manual available that can be given as a kit that fits one and all. You need to build it on your own by making sustainable connections for long lasting relationships. Don’t miss any opportunity that provides you a platform to network with people outside of your office. Grab it with both hands.
Remember, none of us here is competing to win the “best working mom” award hands down. Do not get yourself caught in the toxic circle of competition. You will always find moms who shout messages such as “anything you do, I can do better”. Also, with more and more mothers reclaiming their careers, the world out there is certainly getting competitive by the day. The best way to deal with this is to embrace gray areas and the unexpected.
Respect your flexibility
Being a working mother is no easy cake walk. Corporates are reinventing themselves to welcome new moms and moms otherwise with open arms tweaking their corporate policies. Given than, it is important for any working mom that she respects the flexibility that she is offered by the company. Meet your deadlines, never miss a meeting and don’t turn down a meeting due to geographical boundaries that you may have set for yourself.
Sleep well and exercise
You are the driver of your family vehicle and you need to man oeuvre yourself and the family through the day for which you need to be alert coupled with tons of energy. So keep yourself energized with healthy habits such as eating well, staying fit and most important sleep well. No matter what type of physical exercise regime you choose to opt for, plan the workout in such a manner that nothing comes between you and workout.
Leave the chores aside
Most often caught by the guilt of not doing much for our family that we end up spending most of our time at home attending to some mundane chores or some women take to cooking or baking as if there is no tomorrow. Don’t get into that trip, that’s a vicious cycle too. It is ok, if the laundry isn’t done a day, dishes lay in the sink or blankets aren’t folded up. Always use up your time for more constructive stuff that give you happiness at the end of the day.
Go on a Digital detox
We are all living in a technology-driven century where we wake up and sleep to screens. It is the to be or not to be conundrum. Please don’t look at your whatsapp or an official email as first thing in the morning. Answering mails in the wee hours, or replying to your boss’s text message at midnight is not a badge of honor. Don’t feel guilty to be not working all the time. If you are a compulsive social media browser, then cut the phone off your radar and focus yourself at least once a week. You know, in some western countries, these days, there are holiday resorts and even restaurants where there is not network or you are simply asked to deposit your phones at the reception before you head for a family dinner or lunch!
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and may not reflect those of this organisation.