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Work-life balance: 'I felt guilty all the time'

July 31, 2014 12:42 IST

Work-life balance: 'I felt guilty all the time'

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

Here, Swati Renapurkar writes about the challenges she faced in her career post motherhood, and tells us how she coped with it.

I have been working for 16 years now, having started at the age of 18 with a part-time job.

I was very career oriented until I became a mother.

That changed everything. My focus became my child. But I continued to work for various reasons, including that I am an educated woman who thought it a crime almost to be just a homemaker.

Every day, it was a struggle to leave my son and go to office.

More than half my attention was at home. And I felt guilty all the time. 

It is a blessing if you have a support system in your mother or mother-in-law.

If maids and daycare centres are your support system, you are always at the mercy of somebody else. This is not a stable system.

With getting meals ready and dropping my child to the day care centre you are tired before you reach your desk.

Half your energy is drained away and you look for not-so-challenging opportunities at work because you know you won't do justice to anything more.

Your eyes are always on the clock, trying to do everything in a short time.

Taking the baby back home, dinner and putting the child to bed... by now, you feel like you have climbed a mountain. 

You may well ask where the husband is in all this. He is there but buried in his own schedule and late night work hours, which you cannot afford.

You see children whose mothers are home makers and who are growing up more confident, happy and emotionally intelligent, which is a big dagger in your heart.

After a few years there is home-work, annual functions, fancy dresses and projects that have to be done, which gives you little time to spend with your child.

Weekends don't bring the leisure you long for. Saturday vanishes in housekeeping and on Sunday your husband demands your attention.

In all this, where is the time to relax and enjoy your motherhood?

Every day, you wake up thinking that tomorrow I am going to quit, but it just continues. Until one day you really do quit and give priority to doing what you really wanted to do.

I've learnt a few things in this process:

  • As much as children need you, you also need children to shower your affection on. Unshowered affection can give you a lot of problems.
  • Decide yourself at what stage in your life you want children.
  • Children develop much more when the mother is around as she teaches them life skills. Imagine if the mother is not around for a tiger cub and he is taught to hunt by an ape.
  • It feels good to be at home with your children without that weekday/ weekend clock. Just feel it once and you will never regret it.
  • Sex life is great when you are not tired. Your husband performs better in his work with your help and support.

It is a home when the anchor is the mother; it becomes like stretched rubber when both partners are working.

You need a lot of time to mature into womanhood; multitasking is going to make you a nervous wreck.

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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!


Image: Do you feel guilty of leaving your kids at home while you step out to work? Tell us how you balance your personal and professional lives.
Photographs: David Silverman/Getty Images
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