In 2012, I was an Intern at CSR. I used to get up, go to the gym for an hour, rush home, have a quick breakfast, and drive to work, my lunch packed dutifully by my mom. I would come back in the evening, announce to all and sundry that I was tired, have dinner and sleep. On weekends I would meet friends, crib about what a hectic week I had had, and prep for Monday.
Today, three years later, I will become a part of CSR again. My work profile hasn’t changed much. But my life has gone through a total transformation. Today, I am a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law and most importantly, a mother to a 5 month old boy. I have roles to play, and responsibilities to adhere to.
Today, my mind is full of logistical issues and planning- how to juggle the maids, how to work around my child’s routine, how to squeeze in time for household chores in the middle, how to ensure nothing gets majorly affected because I have re-joined work- all this despite the fact that I have so much help around me. I have an extremely conducive and supportive family environment, and am supported by my super encouraging husband. I have maids for practically every major household activity, including taking care of my baby. My work environment promises to be very supportive of my motherhood. Still, the pressure and the strain loom ahead.
For a mother to work, the entire system of which she is a part needs to support her. Her family, her husband, her work place- every single element of her life needs to be in tandem. As a new mother, starting to juggle between work and home, I feel that it will be easy to not have a professional life. It will be so easy to not work, to not assert my identity, simply because it takes so much effort and energy. I feel that if it weren’t for the inherent, crazy need of mine to have a life outside of my baby and home, I would be spending my days and months looking after my home, and raising my child. If it weren’t for the familial support I have, I wouldn’t even dare to dream of working.
When you think about it, this tussle between a woman’s personal and professional lives, almost always see the latter losing the battle. The whole talk of a glass ceiling in the work place, and why women don’t see professional success as frequently and easily as their male counterparts, has this at its core. And perhaps these issues of how to increase support given to a working mother, whether it is at the workplace or within the society, deserve more importance than they have been given so far.
However, this is not about proving a point to the larger society. This is about me, and my attempt to have a career despite the challenges imposed by marriage and motherhood. There are so many moments of doubt, so many times when I feel that I shouldn’t go through with this, simply because it would be so much more convenient to stay at home- less logistics to figure out, less stress. But then I remember that there are countless women, my mother and mother-in-law included, who have faced the same situation, perhaps with lesser support than I have at my disposal, and managed to emerge victorious. And that’s what compels me to have faith, to take the plunge, and to deal with this challenge head on.
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