Why Indian working mothers make the best professionals
If you are a working mother, you already know the struggles of juggling between a career and kids (and home, husbands, in-laws and so many more things). It can get really tough and overwhelming. Rushing out of an important meeting on the pretext of getting some papers to call the daycare to check on the safe arrival of kids or missing out on a crucial doctor’s appointment in the middle of the week to give that dreaded presentation to the boss. We all have been there, done that.
At professional front, a lot of us have witnessed or undergone ‘motherhood penalty’. In one experiment, sociology professors Shelley Correll, Stephen Benard, and In Paik at Harvard questioned college students to rate a pair of job applicants offering them their resumes along with notes from screening interviews. Once they picked all the qualified professionals, they were told that one was a mother. As part of the experiment, it was found that mothers stood lesser chances to be recommended for hire. And if they were, they were offered less in starting salary over childless women.
According to Dr. Simrat Kaur, Doctorate in Neuro Psychology and presently working as a Consultant Neuro Psychologist with Doctor Insta, “The ‘motherhood penalty’ at workplace is quite worrisome. What many don’t realize is that the brightest side of becoming a mother is that you learn patience, which is an extremely essential trait to function better in day to day life, especially at a workplace. Motherhood makes you wiser, more adept to handle stress and the ability to maintain a healthy balance in your life.”
Yet people often stay conflicted about the positives of having a working mother as an employee. They may give you a significant cut on your appraisal because you were away on your maternity for three months or talk behind your back for leaving office on time; mind you, if working mums unite, they can change the power structure of the world. Here’s how:
WORKING MOTHERS CAN MULTITASK : Undeniably so, they are doing a lot at once. The fact that she handles a child back home along with the umpteen tasks that she handles at work in itself shows her prowess to handle multiple things at one go. She could be researching about her presentation, shooting urgent mails to the support staff, replying to the kid’s teacher over Whatsapp and also pouring herself a cup of green tea – all at once.
WORKING MOTHERS HAVE BRILLIANT PEOPLE MANAGEMENT SKILLS : A working mother handles the ungodly tantrums of her little one back home, yet resists every urge to give up and strike back. Motherhood teaches her brilliant people management skills. And this wisdom enters with her at the workplace too. She is adept at handling tough colleagues and is often the best person to go if you are in dire need of some sensible advice. Clearly so, she barely has time for office politics and tries to keep her surroundings clear of it.
WORKING MOTHERS WILL NEVER DELAY WORK : Yes, she likes to leave office in time but that’s also why she finishes her work well in time. She is very well aware that delaying work would mean staying back in office till late or completing work assignment at home. A single delay at work can cause mayhem back home and she will never let that happen. Thus, she gives her best in her working hours.
WORKING MOTHERS ARE ORGANISED : A woman who is basically nurturing another life (and family) knows darn well the importance of staying organised. What’s more? She is always more focused on practical solutions to ensure that there is balance in everyday life, both at work and back home.
WORKING MOTHERS WILL NEVER COMMIT : A working mother knows her limitation and she will never over commit at the workplace. “Whatever she will says, she will mean it,” adds Dr Kaur. The underlying insight remains that motherhood is the most trying roles and also the greatest learning experience ever.
Shalini Vij, Director and Founder, Hangout : Being a working mom can be challenging especially with children who are of a tender age. I will agree I have had to cut back on family vacation time as last few years, the expansion projects have kept me busy but I have tried to compensate by taking them along on my business trips. Mixing work with family was fun. It did take a lot of effort and hard work. I will be honest, I use to work till late and be up at 6 am to send my little one Shiven to school. I worked after their bed times, because I didn’t want to take away from their time. I juggled with time and work on tight schedules. My team members often comment on the times they receive my e-mails and know I handle all my mail and correspondence work at night, after their bed time. I do all on-site work and go to office, while they are in school and then take time out to teach them and help them with their studies. I have a nuclear family set-up as my in-laws are in the States and I need to take care of my three men, which means household chores too. My family and friends know I have a set schedule and are understanding of my time restraint. It’s all about time management and multi-tasking, I believe time management and multi tasking are the key and my specialty.