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'There is no work-life balance, only work-life integration'

July 08, 2014 16:44 IST

'There is no work-life balance, only work-life integration'

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We'd asked you, our readers to tell us how you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives.

Here, we bring you latest set of responses we received.

How does one juggle between managing family, kids and one's career?

We start off with this advice we received from Nilambari Shirodkar. She says:

I am a career woman working from the last 15 years.

I have a daughter in kindergarten and yes, I do feel guilty about leaving her while working, especially since I do not have any extended family staying with us.

I did read Indra Nooyi's interview and I do agree that a woman cannot have it all.

At the same time, there are always some sacrifices to be made, even by a man.

For a woman, there is always the tussle between balancing her time with her family and household duties with that spent at work.

In the current era of digital explosion, the concept of work-life balance ceases to exist as the line between the two is blurring by the day.

There can only be a 'healthy work-life integration'. Here are some ways in which I cope-

1. Be efficient at whatever you do -- be it cooking, household chores, spending time with kids viz. their activities, feeding, homework etc and also in your work. That way, you do not end up spending a lot of unproductive time leading to frustration at any of the above tasks.

'Being efficient' means being able to do a task in the minimal amount of time without unnecessary effort.

If this requires you to upskill yourself in any of the above, then do so at the earliest.

2. Go for organisations that offer flexibility such work-from-home, sabbaticals or flexible working hours.

Most organisations, these days, encourage this and it acts as a great motivator at hiring events.

3. Have a good support system in place such as in-laws, parents, neighbours and maids or nannies. Be sure to set the right expectations from them and do not scrimp on their salaries or perks.

They are the people who will make your life easy and hence deserve a lot of respect and commitment from you.

4. Split up chores or duties with your spouse for kids, home, family etc.

It is very important to take your spouse into confidence. Without his support, it is impossible to carry this off.

5. Take vacations, time-offs, sabbaticals whenever required to rejuvenate.

Keep your boss in the loop of what is happening in your life to make this easier.

6. Take care of your diet, health and exercise regime. Without this, you will never have the energy to fire on all cylinders.

Are you a career woman too?

Do you, feel the guilt of not being around for your kids?

How do you cope with it?

How do you strike a healthy balance between your professional and personal lives?

Tell us! We want to know!

Share your experience and advice with working moms and moms-to-be.

Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Work-life balance) and we'll publish the best ones right here on Rediff.com!

Please click NEXT to continue reading...

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com


Photographs: David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

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The following advice was sent to us from a reader who chose to be anonymous. She says:

I am an IT professional working in the USA.

I have spent a long time thinking about various roles and responsibility of a wife, mother, the perpetual housewife wife vs career woman conundrum.

As women, we want to give our 100 per cent to everything we do.

How could we do a half-baked job as a mother? Or as a career woman?

Yet, how does one give their 100 per cent to both at the same time?

Can we give more than 10 hours to our jobs and career and still be a good parent?

Can one have ambition and growth in their career with just 8 hours of work?

And it is not only about having healthy kids who are enrolled in multiple activities (where you have to drive them to and fro) but also cooking, cleaning and maintaining the home.

For my first born, I stayed home for 3.5 years.

My husband and I planned our lives, so we could survive and flourish on one paycheck, which meant a smaller home and a smaller car.

By the time I was ready to re-enter the market after 3.5 years there was serious recession. Forget starting from where I had left off, getting a job was an uphill task.

I had to start all over again with a pay cut and a lower job title but I was happy that I got a job at the end of it.

By the time, we had our second baby, we weren’t in a situation where I could quit my job.

So I had series of nannies, baby sitters, Montessori school for my second baby, none of which could beat the care I was able to provide to my own first born as a mother.

How would one nurse one's child AND work? It's not the same as being with one's child and nursing them.

Even today I work in a far lesser position than what my qualification deserves but the job allows me to bring home money and gives me financial independence and career satisfaction.

With less demands on the professional front, I am able to spend more time with my kids in the evenings and during weekends.

The 3.5 years I stayed at home were sheer joy and my child was reading books like Harry Potter... by the time he was in kindergarten.

So good parenting at the inception helps to set the pace for life.

I would not trade those years for anything.

The second time around, the job I had selected was based purely on location – the office was so close to where I stayed, that I would swing by home to see my baby and the nanny.

At the same time, I must say, after spending eight hours at work, it is exhausting to come to a home which needs cleaning, cooking, laundering and taking care of a baby.

You can reserve tasks like reading books and doing things together with your kids for the weekend.

But if you want a big home, a big car and have career ambitions, then you will have to make sacrifices.

Most people who have a guilt-free career with kids, who are raised well, have lot of help from grand parents who are not sick; who stay home to clean, cook, take care of home and kids, along with a very helpful husband who contributes in all aspects instead of watching TV after coming home from work and letting the wife do all the work.

Many of the top-level executive women I personally know had stay-at-home dads to support them!!

One can start one's career even when they’re in their 40s when kids are in middle school and there is still a good 20 plus career years left.

The biological clock on the other hand doesn't stop for anyone.

Your career can wait; there is absolutely no rush.

One doesn't live to work; one works to live.

I tend to agree more with Indira Nooyi and think Ms Sandberg can have it all because she probably receives a fatter paycheck than us to hire nannies, cooks and cleaners -- a luxury rest of us don't enjoy.

Are you a career woman too?

Do you, feel the guilt of not being around for your kids?

How do you cope with it?

How do you strike a healthy balance between your professional and personal lives?

Tell us! We want to know!

Share your experience and advice with working moms and moms-to-be.

Write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Work-life balance) and we'll publish the best ones right here on Rediff.com!

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com




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