How To Succeed As A Working Parent – Get The Best Of Both Worlds
Smitha Gokhale (name changed) woke up at 4.30 in the morning. The world around her – her husband and her six-month-old son – are deep asleep. She could not feel the chill of the early morning breeze. It was fresh air. But she had already been flooded with a zillion thoughts on how the day was going to pan out.
It was the first day she was going to the office after her delivery and the subsequent maternity leave. She already felt a distance towards her job – that of a project manager in a leading publishing company. She had in waiting in the office authors who need constant reminders, editors who require frequent nudging and her own bosses who want reports after reports all the time.
And then, her most important customer of the moment woke up, with a long, unmistakable cry. Her baby’s day started. She has to run now.
How to manage parenting and profession
How is she going to manage? If you have found yourself in a similar – or even worse – situation, you will know. The life of a working mom is tough. One can wax eloquently about how lovely motherhood is and how expert X or Y is in multi-tasking and in juggling motherhood and career. But to actually be in that situation and face the challenges takes a bit of doing.
You will find a number of general tips on the internet and social media on how to succeed as a working parent or how to get the best of both worlds. But the fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all advice. What’s good for you may not be good for somebody else, and vice versa. Still, here are some tips that will help you negotiate the Third World War of looking after your kid while working professionally.
1. It’s two jobs
Treat it as two jobs. You’ve a job at home – parenting, which takes a lot of time and effort. Then you have an office job too. It has more tangible responsibilities and schedule. If you have a caring partner, it will be great. But that’s usually a luxury. In India, men folks are spoilt lots. You need to get work out of your partner, just like you get things done by your colleagues.
2. Don’t be afraid of failures
When you juggle two jobs at the same time, it is natural that sometimes you fail at one – or sometimes both. You are not human if you do both the jobs with 100% success. Keep in mind that failures are bound to happen.
3. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help
Everybody has ego. You too have your share. But do not let it come between something that must be done. Ask for help – from family members or colleagues – when it is clear that you will not be able to do some of tasks. Treat it as “crowd-sourcing”. It sounds better.
4. No guilty feelings
No feelings of guilt, please. You may feel you are not doing enough for your kid. Or that you are doing injustice to him or her. Do not entertain such hopes. This particular phase of parenthood will pass in a few years. You cannot sacrifice your entire career for this brief phase.
5. Do multi-tasking, but learn to say NO
For a working mom, multi-tasking both at home and office should be a way of life. It helps you to be on time with the appointments and deadline. But do remember the importance of saying NO. If something is impossible to do, say it so loud and clear – be it in the office or at home. There is no point in stretching yourself beyond a point.
6. Look after yourself
Finally, take proper care of yourself – your body and your emotions. Exercise regularly, eat healthy and do not put too much pressure on yourself. Amidst all the demands and challenges of a working mother, it is important to enjoy simple things in life too. After all, you have got only yourself.
Finally, can this best of both worlds be achieved? Or in other words, is it really possible to succeed as working parent? Remember one thing. Nature will not bestow upon you something that you cannot bear. That’s the ultimate truth.
Smitha Gokhale has realized it, just as her son won the best kindergarten student award on the day she got a promotion with hefty pay hike in her company. Her customers and bosses are happy – but her family is happier.