Friday, July 8, 2011

Being Working Moms

A lot of discussion has already happened on this topic all around the blogsphere. But then there is obviously more to each discussion...

Me, being a working Mom myself have to face a lot of 'advise' on how to bring up my child, whether I'm doing the right thing in taking him to the day care, and all the time get questions about how I can trust the people there to be as good as me! Of course they cant be as good as me - but they do their best too... And the good part is all those ladies have been seeing him since month 5 and are seeing him grow up! Sometimes they rejoice more than I do about some small thing he said/did. They immediately call me up to share the news too! And that gives me the confidence that my baby is in safe hands. It did take me time to get to this stage, no doubt. And I do keep check on how they take care of him. It is an advantage for me that I bring him here with me. And that he is just a couple of minutes away from my desk so I can run to him anytime. The reason I changed to my current job being this!

OK, that was total digression there... Coming back - I see how many women leave their child in day cares closer home/leave the kids with the grand parents/ leave the kids with a caretaker - many options and we try to find the best balance. And we toughen up and come to work. At work its a different picture. No matter how good we are, how good work we do - its always and always noted how soon we leave for the day - ALWAYS! And this is not just with me! Always our performance is judged by the number of hours we put in - always only the days that we have not been able to stay back at work, days when we cannot/refuse to take calls from home/refuse to work on weekends is what get noticed while the actual effort we put in getting their tasks completed on time without any issues gets completely side tracked! All the time we are compared to other colleagues who stay back (No one bothers about the hour long cigarette brk or going to the bank during office hours), who do not mind coming to work over weekends. Why is it that performance is not rated on the quality of work? Why is it that 12hrs logged in office becomes more glaring than the amount of work accomplished? So, everyone advises the working mom - its ok, wait till your child grows up and then you can concentrate on your career - does that mean that the Mom is not giving her 100% at work - that's so not true! When we are at work - we gives it our best - especially because we do not want to rework and waste the precious little time! But who cares - that's the best excuse - oh! She has a small child, so she cannot do more than she is already doing - exactly! we will not stay back,we will complete our tasks on time, we will not overload ourselves or our team - so we plan accordingly rather than loading at the last minute with weekend and late nights at office! But who understands these?

Then comes the question at home/family members and other stay at home moms - how do you manage? 1 constant question - what do you feed him? - You are seeing my child - does he look underfed? Sick? Unhappy? does he look like he is facing some problem because he spends the day at the day care? - But I refrain - because it becomes impolite to answer back. I am responsible for my child and know what's best for him. I know when he needs more attention than anything else in my life. And I give 100% attention when I'm with him. And I dont think it mars his personality in any way! In fact I feel its the opposite - he learns to interact/share/understand and pickup faster. So why compare 2 children and say something derogatory only because you are a working mom? And Thank you! But No thank You! You DON'T have to pity him!!! There is nothing wrong with the situation or with him or with our family - thank you very much!

Finally, its our own Mommy guilt. When the child is sick, when he/she has had vaccination and is in pain or even on a daily basis every time the thought comes "Is he missing me?" Or on days when he learns something new and his care taker calls up to share the news and there is this feeling of loss - "Oh! I missed it" I hear from my friend who feels sad when her Daughter says 'Amma, miss you' as soon as she goes home, or when another's son prefers to sleep with granny that day because she scolded him for something naughty as soon as she went home and claims that she scolds him as soon as she goes home. Or I overheard 2 ladies - one was crying (yes in the office) that her son was unwell but she had a deliverable for which she had to come to office and the other one was consoling her saying that the father is at home along with the grand parents to take care of him - but I could understand that feeling of helplessness.

Yes, working moms are human too! We have our reasons for taking a decision like this. And we try and strike as good a balance as we can at work/at home or with our child.We put ourselves on the back burner - refusing to take a day off when we are sick so we can 'save' that leave when required, hardly get that required 8hours of sleep We slog our as*es off at work to ensure quality deliverable, go home and ensure that our child has proper dinner, make sure we keep in touch with family, grocery shop over weekends, keep a clean enough home, loose sleep just to have some companionship and conversation for that 1/2 hour with the man we love...

And yet! At the end of the day - we are never given 100/100 on anything... And sometimes that matters...

(We here are the working moms - and at least those that I interact with on a daily basis)


  1. Hugs RS..hugs...firstly - never feel guilty for being a working mom has been a working mom all my life and I am extremely proud of her now and even show off at times..meri mummy to working mom hai and all that...

    secondly I can understand about the daycare stuff and you are lucky that your office has a daycare...I leave R about 20 kms away and come...RD of course is about 5 kms away from her so its easier for him to access her :)

    People will talk rey...aaj subah...some mom was telling me how I am going to manage to teach R and all that...abhi kya karein..we work because we have our compulsions..and we are not answerable to one at all

    Guilt does crop up at times..but I have learnt to over ride it..I do my best in my 8 hours or work..anything additional, I am not doing the cost of anything...I have to find a work-personal life balance...and yes even I have seen 12 hours is given 5 rating instead of your bloody 8 hours with the same amount of work completed...its so so frustrating! but hang in there nad enjoy your for 8 hours, pick up your baby, go home and snuggle with him

    R's Mom

  2. Well said, Agree with you especially when you are just judged becoz you leave afetr 8 hours . Nobody notices that there are no pending tasks in my box, even if I leave at 5.30.
    The Mother's guilt is never ending.

  3. You get 110/100 wifey. Hats off to all working moms.

  4. @Nikhil - Business needs ideas and loads of effort in terms of time and money - both of which is already in short supply!
    As for ideas - well! Im open to getting them from someone :-)

    @RM - Thank You! My mom's always been a working mom too (she still is) and it never bothered me much earlier coz I had seen her. But like she herself says - she had help and she didnt work as long and far us we do...

    @Samskruthi - no of hours = appraisal rating sigh! Its so unfair...

  5. Maybe I've been lucky but I have never felt penalised in ratings, promotion whatever for leaving on time. And I tend to leave on time, max 10 minutes later than official 8 hours and I guard my weekends jealously. If I do weekend work, I make it clear it is a big favour. In fact, in India, I routinely turned up late for work also. I would call my boss only if I was more than one hour late ;) I guess this is permissable as a journalist. At the end of the day, it's about meeting the deadline and doing a quality job. What time you come in was a lesser concern, one management occassionally tried to enforce generally with little success. My husband is in banking and also leaves on time and doesn't work on weekends. In fact, he works only four days from office. What a life! He was offered a blackberry and said fine, but I won't check it on weekends or when I'm on leave ;0 He has always got the highest rating, only once got one grade lower than highest and sulked and grumbled like hell to his boss. It does depends on the work culture of the company and especially the boss though. You are right about people wasting time, taking ciggie and chai breaks etc. just to put in face time in the office. It doesn't mean they're better, just inefficient. A wise boss/HR would recognise this. How about putting a slogan up on your desk? "I leave at 6 pm. I'm efficient."

  6. @ The Bride - Wonderful suggestion - you know, Im going to print those words and stick it up at my desk - Atleast to spite these people.grr.

  7. RS, how wonderfully you have put down all the office-trauma I go through each day!!
    Each and every instance you note here rings true. In spite of my best efforts at home AND work, somehow, I'm classified as lacking. Bachelors in my team stay back till 12. Because they have nothing else to do!! Its not as if they are 'working'.....watching you-tube is more like it!
    But I like the Bride's comment. Am taking a print-out of that slogan and tacking it on my message board :D