By Dr Vaneeta Aggarwal
How Do you manage to do all that by yourself? Whether you are a woman working in the corporate, private sector, or the centralized government sector. Whether owning a boutique or being a successful entrepreneur, if you are a woman and you have come far up the ladder of your professional life, it is not possible that you have not heard this question at least once.
The preconceived notion of society that work and family cannot go well is the fundamental reason for the stereotypical concept that women are a better fit for the home. Raising children and securing their future has become a chore labeled for women. We have feminists coming up with plenty of arguments against this idea. But the reality check says something else. The picture says that because it is a woman who had carried the child for a long time in her womb and has felt the child’s presence even before it was born, she feels the child’s responsibility is more on her. This is quite natural, and this instinct gives rise to “working woman guilt.”
Before we get into the depth of how one can overcome the guilt and have a harmonious life, it is essential to decoding the concept of this guilt. What do you think gives birth to such self-inflicted guilt?
- Family members and surrounding people make the mother feel incapable of her duties as a mother. It is often even the partner (husband ) who makes her think that she prioritizes work more than her children, which is a grave mistake.
- The pre-existing stereotype is too gravely sculpted in women’s minds that if they cannot devote their entire life to their kids, they fail as mothers. But, at the same time, the truth is that – strong women who have a sense of self-worth and importance of identity raise strong children who think the same.
- Society and women, in particular, have to start believing that becoming mothers is not the end line of being yourself. Your name, identity, and self-worth are enhanced by being a mother. It is an added feather on your hat, but it is not the only feather, and you do not have to make it. Your love for yourself as a human being and a woman deserves priority.
- It is not a cardinal sin to be a working mother. You are going out to work, and opening work opportunities for others has nothing to do with your role as a mother. The game is all about time and responsibility management. So, the first task is to eliminate guilt and realize that you are a woman who has her own identity and can independently support herself and her family. This has nothing to do with what kind of a mother you are.
- It is not about the number of hours you spend with your child, but the values you impart to the child and the connection you share with your children matters the most.
This is important and perhaps the most crucial advice to every working mom. Set your day at the earliest possible. Settle your tasks that need to be done at home before your child gets up. This is very important because working mothers usually get significantly less time to spend with their children. This is mainly because you do most of the work when your child is awake, and then you miss out on time, always running behind the clock, stressed and overburdened. So, you need to manage your time well and thus start your day early.
Your child is busy as well as you are. But make sure to have at least one main meal with your child, sitting at the same table without any gadgets around. If possible, cook at least one favorite dish for your kid every day. Do not let your child forget what their mom’s cooked food tastes like. The most important relationships are built over food. The same principle applies to all relationships, including kids and parents.
Find out at least 10 minutes in the day to sit with your kid, hold their hands, and listen to them. Listen to everything that makes sense to you and those that do not make sense. Never display in front of your kids that you are not interested in listening to them. This shall make them hide things from you which may get them into trouble. There should never be a communication gap between you and your kids.
Try not to drag your office work home. This makes the kids feel that their work is more important than theirs. Make them understand that your work is essential but not at their cost.
Forgetting important dates is one of the things that disappoint children more than anything. So, make sure you remember the important dates like those of Parent-Teacher Meetings, their concerts, their parties, etc. To make things easier, set reminders on your phone. Even if not always possible, make sure to turn on time on these special days to have fun with your kids.
Remember that you do not have to prove your worth as a mother to the rest of the world. It is an intimate affair between you and your kid. Both of you have to be happy with each other. The world has nothing to do here. Make your kids understand this right from a very young age. They must know, understand and learn that their mother works and her work is as essential in their mother’s life as they are. Imparting the good values in your children from a tender age helps them rise above prejudices and let them visualize their mothers first as human beings and then as their mothers. A mother is nature’s most prized possession to a child; there should be love, acre, and responsibility to strengthen the bond.