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Work-life balance: 'No woman is right or wrong'

July 18, 2014 14:35 IST

Work-life balance: 'No woman is right or wrong'

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

Vidya P Battiwalla from Jamshedpur tells us about the many challenges motherhood posed in her life and career and how she coped with it.

(Women) have it all? That’s a joke.

Working as a software engineer with a budding career here I was with a bonny baby boy all of three months and my maternity leave about to end.

I couldn't find someone to help me look after him while I was at work.

In a small town with no day care centres or creches I was wondering what I should do. No miracle happened; no saviour appeared and I found myself handing over my resignation to my boss.

What followed was one roller coaster ride for the next 10 years.

My little girl arrived seven years late.

Cereal and khichdi feeds, scooter rides in baby bags, meals by a little stream, joy rides in a little aeroplane nearby, impromptu picnics at the nearest park when they refused to eat their meals, cuddling and napping ,shower baths together and unplanned meal visits by other babies who shared their meals.

I lost myself in the joys of motherhood -- there'd be songs sung aloud in the car and the scooter while we travelled together in the pouring rain.

I'd personally pick them up from school and every alternate day, the little one would say "Teacher said..."; "S/he beat me, pinched me" and things like "I slept in school today" I also remember wiping their tears after a brawl.

When the younger one finally started going to school I looked around and realised all my classmates and colleagues had moved well ahead in life.

Among them I was a nobody -- some of my friends were vice presidents in MNCs, and earning well.

They were written about in newspapers and business magazines.

I must have met up with many chiefs of human resources of organisations which pride themselves on woman empowerment and affirmative action, pleading with them to allow me to work from home or part-time, but it all fell on deaf ears.

All this takes place in a small town in a little developed part of the country.

I was disappointed when I realised I was outdated in the field of software development.

It would be an expensive affair, both in terms of time and money, if I had to make up for the lack of knowledge.

My current priorities were -- focus on my husband's career growth and to enrol for higher education.

As time flew the disparities improved.

While I struggled with homework, tantrums from kids and kitchen-time, my friends who were employed bought a home or two for themselves, helped their parents financially and were even able to send their children abroad for higher education -- something we cannot afford to do.

I have seen them invest in expensive jewellery and trips abroad, win accolades at work. And why not, may I ask -- they had earned it with hard work.

I found their children more detached, more independent and more capable of fending for themselves than mine.

My kids who loved to have me at home now asked me why I wasn't working and why I'm around all the time.

They wanted to know why I couldn't earn some more so we too could go abroad like they did.

Meanwhile, I worked part time and earned peanuts in terms of salary.

But at the end of five years I was doing something I loved.

As a Quality Examiner, I had to leave the kids and travel thrice a year.

I would go berserk planning up meals, sort the menu for the tiffin box/lunches for the entire period. Gradually my husband and kids learnt to manage on their own.

I'm still working part-time and I live in a joint family.

I may not be earning much, but I love my job. I have authored two handbooks on quality of education and excellence for school students.

My husband is still the bread winner and it keeps me humble to live within the means and to let him know when I shop or make a major expenditure.

I couldn't have it all. No woman can, Mrs Nooyi.

No woman is right or wrong in the decisions she takes.

At the end of the day if it feels right in the heart it's the right thing to do.

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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!

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Image: How do you balance family and work? Tell us!
Photographs: Beawiharta/Reuters
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Nirupama Sharma, also a working mother, shared her experience with us. She says: 

I still remember the feeling when I left my elder daughter home at the tender age of seven months.

I remember every morning of January when I started working.

For me, my kids are most important but I work because I am doing it for them.

I try to balance things and keep my kids on top priority.

I chose a profile which requires less travelling -- where every evening I get to see their cute faces and even get their hugs when I reached home.

It is tough to multi-task and leave your precious ones behind.

But I consider my kids as my source of inspiration. I am doing everything I can for their future.

I feel great when I arrange something for them on my own.

I want to give them a fully secured life with the blessings of God.

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!

 




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