"Mother" is almost synonymous with sacrifice - be it personal goals, time, or even health, the compassion and dedication with which a mother puts her family first is commendable. This does, however, bring light on the expectations placed on women to be the ones to make adjustments and put aside their ambitions, especially when it comes to family matters.
A common dilemma that many women face is making a choice between career or a family. It is a double-edged sword - placing your job as a priority is viewed as selfish, and prioritizing family is seen as unproductive. The deep-rooted societal expectations of women being the primary caregiver for their kids (and to the elderly and in-laws in many cases) combined with the struggles of maintaining a sustainable work life balance make it daunting to be a working mother.
The need to create a society where women have the freedom to make choices for themselves in an environment that can foster growth both professionally and personally is paramount. Here are some ways to make it happen.
For a Mom on a Career Break
The decision to take a step back from work is not easy. However, keep in mind that it does not have to be permanent! The option to return to work and do what you love will be available whenever you feel comfortable doing so.
Make sure you map out a plan to make your career comeback a success - re-evaluate your situation and note down your priorities and constraints. Analyze your skillset and how it matches the current market trends and if brushing up or upskilling to keep up to date with the latest technologies is required. If it sounds overwhelming, there is always an option to reach out to a coach or a professional who can guide you in navigating your career path.
Once you have done the background work in finding out what you want, what you possess, and what you need - you can take action and look out for suitable jobs.
For Working Moms
Managing a healthy work life balance and dedicating enough time and energy to family and work is often very taxing. Being a working mom does not mean there is less focus on personal matters.
One way to maintain balance is by setting clear boundaries. Clearly express your commitments and needs to your work team to assist you with any flexibility required. Communicate your needs with family to make it easier to handle tasks at home. As a family member, rather than having the mother shoulder all the responsibilities, try balancing out work equally - even the smallest of gestures could make a huge impact.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, make sure you also give enough time for yourself and keep some time to rest to maintain your health.
Finding Flexibility in the Workforce
These days, employers are also taking steps to encourage women to succeed with their career goals. Returnships, which are programs/internships designed for sabbatical women to restart their careers, are gaining more traction. Training programs are also becoming more and more common.
Many workplaces offer the benefit of flexible work hours and hybrid models of working. If you are nervous about directly jumping into a permanent full-time job, contract roles are also great options to start out with. Opportunities are endless and there is great potential in finding something suitable to your needs.
Ask for help
You do not have to do everything on your own! Express your goals to your circle for their support. Communicate your needs to your family. Reach out to a professional for career guidance if you feel stuck. Be confident to express your constraints and needs to your employer if you need flexibility at work. Build a strong network and surround yourself with people who constantly propel you to achieve your career dreams.
This Mothers Day, we hope you can take a moment to be proud of yourself and the courage it took for each and every sacrifice you have made. Remember, the only choice that is permanent is the choice to live life freely and on your terms.
About the Author
Meghana Ganesh is a Community Manager at Her Second Innings. She is a Computer Science Graduate with a passion for women’s empowerment and equality, and diversity hiring in organizations.
Her Second Innings supports women professionals on a sabbatical in their journey of getting back to work. The mission of HSI is to guide women to achieve financial independence. Support from HSI comes in the form of job interviews, reskilling programs in Automation and, free Career Guidance Counselling. Sign up with us and complete your profile to get a call from our counselors to know your job fit.
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