Friday, March 31, 2006

Role Model Needed. Suitable Candidates May Please Apply.

This working mom thingy sure is tough. And there are very few role models that one can look up to and get some idea of how one can best manage it. So far, I have none. Of all the working moms I know, I cannot find a role model in any of them.

My own mother was a working woman and other than the standard maternity leave of 6 months or so, she worked all through our childhood. And we never felt orphaned or alone or neglected. So I guess that makes her something of a role model. But her job and pressures were so different from mine that I find it hard to take a leaf from her book. She worked (and still does) in a government job. And her hours were so much more manageable than mine can ever be. She was able to bathe us and get us ready before leaving for office. We lived in a small town and her office was pretty close by so she usually came home for lunch and hung out with us for a while. And she was home by six in the evening - well in time to play with us, feed us dinner and tuck us into bed. Now compare that to my life (or what it will be when I get back to full time work in a month from now). I would need to leave home at 8’clock – with just enough time for a good morning kiss and hug for my son. My office is at the other end of town so coming home for lunch is just not an option. And I would be lucky if I got back in time to tuck him into bed, forget about the rest of it.

Some of the working moms in my company are lucky enough to have a support structure in place. They have either their mothers or their mothers-in-law living with them - filling in for them so that they can continue to work the kind of hours that they need to. But both our parents live outside of Mumbai and have commitments that don’t allow them to come and stay with us other than for short trips. And even if they could, I am not sure that I would want them to and whether that would assuage the guilt of not spending enough time with my son. After all, he is my child – I brought him into the world and I don’t want to delegate the responsibility of his upbringing to someone else.

Yet other women I know are resigned to their children being largely raised by the household help. I was speaking to one such colleague the other day and she works really late hours (she is in office till 9.30 p.m. almost every day) and feels that that is something she needs to do to succeed at her job. But at what cost? I often think about this in terms of how I will feel about all this when I am on my deathbed. Will I be prouder of the fact that I became the CEO of some Fortune 500 company or that I raised my son to be a good, intelligent and successful human being? To me, the latter is a pretty obvious answer. So I cannot seek a role model in a woman who is willing to make her career a priority over her child.

And finally there are the women who manage to find a compromise. They either work out of home (like Mint) or manage to find a job that is not so demanding on their time. And these women are closest to my ideal role model because they have managed to keep working without compromising on their roles as mothers. But I have yet to find a way to make this happen in my occupation (marketing) or identify another occupation that I have the skills for that would allow me to do this.

So the search continues… both for a suitable job and for a suitable role model.

10 comments:

  1. Very nice! I found a place where you can
    make some nice extra cash secret shopping. Just go to the site below
    and put in your zip to see what's available in your area.
    I made over $900 last month having fun!
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    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Rohini!
    Well the struggle will always be there!...Its a struggle more of our priorities than anything else!
    I agree with you completely that once you bring a child into the world you need to make sure u do justice to the kid!...
    Unfortunately most of us get stuck in situations since we need to earn to give the child a great future as well!

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  3. As regressive as this may sound, I'm trying to resign myself to the idea of being homebound for a couple of years. It can't be that bad. I used to freelance till last year, and I guess I can continue doing that. Am really hoping some sort of a compromise will work out.

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  4. Well, here's wishing you all success in yr search for the right job and right role model

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  5. Ekta - Agree. Bills to be paid and all that...

    Sue - You are lucky you are in a career that allows you the flexibility to freelance. I am yet to figure out a way to make that work for me.

    Patti - Thanks!

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  6. There's pitfalls in all jobs. Even tough I work from home the kids don't stay home with me (I'd NEVER get any work done). However I love the flexibility to be home whenever they need me and be involved in all their activities.

    I know where you are coming from and I am sending all my positive thoughts your way.

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  7. There are pitfalls in all jobs. Even tough I work from home the kids don't stay home with me (I'd NEVER get any work done). However I love the flexibility to be home whenever they need me and be involved in all their activities.

    I know where you are coming from and I am sending all my positive thoughts your way.

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  8. Hey, followed link to your blog from Compulsive Confessor--can identify with you totally! I have 3 little boys under 3, and I never wanted to have my kids raised by anyone other than my husband and I. So we have made some sacrifices in lifestyle, and I have also started my own eBay business. You should check it out--there are tons of Indians on eBay! I have purchased from a few myself! You could make a killing if you can find clothing, art, or jewellery for a reasonable price and then re-sell it to us Westerners for an unreasonable one! :-)

    The best part is--I get to stay home with my kids all day, and do all my work at night--either after they are in bed, or if necessary, while my husband watches them. (I am supposedly working right now. Tee hee!) Just make sure you do your homework on whatever product you think about selling. This could even be a way to make a little extra cash so you could work part-time instead of full-time at the office.

    I certainly don't envy you your position. The first time you hold that precious baby in your arms, you never want to let them go again (at least until they throw their first 2-year-old tantrum!). Good luck in finding something that works for you--there are plenty of options out there if you look for them!

    T.

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  9. Mint & Scrapnqueen - thanks for all the positive thoughts...

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  10. Going through your older posts...I quite identify with this one. The part about-"And even if they could, I am not sure that I would want them to and whether that would assuage the guilt of not spending enough time with my son. After all, he is my child – I brought him into the world and I don’t want to delegate the responsibility of his upbringing to someone else." and "Will I be prouder of the fact that I became the CEO of some Fortune 500 company or that I raised my son to be a good, intelligent and successful human being? To me, the latter is a pretty obvious answer. So I cannot seek a role model in a woman who is willing to make her career a priority over her child."

    I am currently a SAHM and ponder plenty time about when and how I should restart "work that pays". I do have an option of working from home but even that requires some "off" time from kids.

    ReplyDelete