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Tips for young, working moms
Soma Sarkar |
March 13, 2006
Motherhood, they say, comes naturally to women. What goes unsaid is the amount of work, stress and anxiety it involves. Especially for young working moms.
You want to be with your baby, move up the career graph and feel good too. Combining these requirements is tough, but not impossible.
With a bit of pragmatism, a sense of humour, immense patience and some amount of compromise, you could be a super mom.
Recently, Sneha Chauhan, 25, an instructional designer with S1, went to admit her 2-year-old daughter Snighda to a play school.
The principal commented, "This is a very impressionable age when the child needs her mother all the time. Aren't you worried about neglecting your child?"
The lady did not know that Sneha played with her child, answered all her questions, read her stories and regularly took her out to parks and movies -- things that a non-working mom has more time for.
Sneha believes in giving her child quality time. The concept of quality time refers to time during which one focuses on or dedicates oneself entirely to a person or activity. Quality time with kids involves doing things that strengthen the mother-child bonding, help mould the child's personality and lay the foundation for future education.
Some quality time activities surrounding your child would include:
Many working moms from nuclear families opt for crèches. Contrary to popular perception, children can actually be quite happy there. They play with other kids from the same age group, share their things and forge friendships.
They get their first lessons in socialising and also learn to become independent.
Choosing the right crèche is very important, as your child would be spending a major part of the day there. Here are a few points to remember:
~ Check out the ones recommended most by other working moms.
~ Get feedback regarding food, play activities, hygiene factors, etc, from moms whose children are in the crèche. See if the children in the crèche look happy.
~ Get an idea on how those running the crèche enforce discipline. If they're too strict, don't enrol your child. Too much discipline will inhibit the natural growth of the child and instil fear.
~ Check out the number of children attending the crèche. Smaller crèches, with a headcount of 10-12, are ideal. The children get personal attention. And, as is true with all growing organisations, the service is good because they want more business!
~ Along with a crèche, it's also important to build a network of friends, relatives and other moms -- a support system. There are situations when one gets delayed in office or there's a short trip to be made and hubby is out. At times like this, these are the people who'll be helping you out.
Handling cranky kids
A common problem faced by most working moms is handling tantrums. Personally, I've found Dr Krishnamurti's advice very useful. A paediatrician and psychologist in Mumbai, she says, "When your child throws a tantrum, just ignore it. If you give in once, it'll lead to habit formation." So, when your child is acting difficult:
- Ignore the tantrum.
- Don't lose your temper or scold.
- Don't give in to unreasonable demands.
- Don't try to bribe her/ him with goodies.
- Never ever feel your being away is the cause for the outburst.
- Is your child low on confidence?
Baby blues at work
All things considered, there are times when being a mother takes precedence over being a career woman.
A raging fever or a bad tummy often leaves a mother with no option but to stay at home and nurse the baby. Work suffers. In this context, it's crucial to have a good relationship with your colleagues and bosses so they rally around during a crisis.
Again, there are occasions when plain maternal instincts or sentiments come in the way of work. As Kshema Jose, 27, lecturer at CIEFL and mother of 3-year-old Parashuram, says, "Either way there's heartbreak." Once she went for a workshop out of town for a week leaving her child with her husband. Another time, she dropped out of a seminar just because her son clung to her and wept like there's no tomorrow. The question of where exactly to draw the line is highly subjective.
Mom is a person too
Some of the constant worries include: the kid's not eating well, he's losing weight, she's missed out one day's potty, the cold's lingering a bit too long and so forth. Such anxiety, coupled with the sheer physical strain of multi-tasking, often leads to baby fatigue.
The only way to beat it is by keeping aside some time exclusively for you. You could do simple things like catching a movie, getting a pedicure, meeting up with friends. All these innocuous activities have an amazing therapeutic effect! You go back home feeling refreshed and energised.
Yes baby, no sex
It's one of those things people say but we never believe till we experience it. Husband-wife relationships often change once a baby comes along. The mother sleeps with the baby, the hubby on the sofa. Sex is nowhere in the picture.
Given all the changes in the body due to pregnancy and childbirth, women need some time to get back to normal sexual activity. But, sometimes the strain of handling the post-baby scenario is so much that desire goes out of the window. In such a situation:
Contentment is possible
Being a happy mom and a happy working woman aren't mutually exclusive. It's tough, yes. But there are pleasures too.
The hugs and delighted laughter with which your child greets you when you get back from work, your boss's congratulations on that presentation you made which helped clinch the prestigious deal that you worked on after putting your child to bed -- these are the things that keep one going and ultimately make it all worthwhile.
Are you a young, working mom trying to balance a demanding career with an efficient managed home? Post your tips and experiences.