Sunday, May 10, 2009
Cheers to all working Moms !!!
The mommy diaries
Kareena N Gianani Sunday, March 8, 2009 3:23 IST
Mumbai: For a woman, choosing to be a stay-at-home mum or pursuing a high-flying career after having a child can be the most defining decision. On International Women's Day, DNA presents the stories of three women in Mumbai who grappled with this conflict within themselves in different ways.
'At 2, my daughter knows I'm a career woman'
Priya Badshah's two-year-old daughter, Sara, is as determined as her mother -- try offering her a chocolate and she refuses politely.The tot calmly accepts that any family member, even her doll, if not around, must have a busy day at 'office'.
"Inculcating such understanding at a young age hasn't come easy," says the 33-year-old mother who juggles with her career as senior manager of corporate communication at a leading life insurance company.
Springing back to work after a four-month-long maternity leave seemed the most obvious choice for Badshah.However, when Sara was a month old, Badshah met with an accident that rendered her immobile for six months. She went back to work after a year, limping and anxious about leaving her child back home. "I was headstrong -- I wanted both, my child and my career."
Thus began her tightrope walk. On a flight, Badshah cannot afford to mull over files -- instead, every minute is spent introspecting what Sara should be introduced to next, whether her diet needs new elements or whether building blocks must be introduced in her play. So, Sara finds her mother returning from work one day and telling her stories -- not about Cinderalla, but those that teach her good manners in the guise of 'fun'. She finds herself constantly having to snap in and out of the two roles.
Her doggedness to find a middle path gives Badshah enough reason to feel guilty at times and become pessimistic.
For instance, if Sara misbehaves, Badshah's paranoia convinces her that she's "all wrong as a mother." Or, when she missed two open house meetings at Sara's playschool, she herself couldn't bring herself to work due to guilt.
"It is a struggle to shake yourself up and stick to the choices you've made for yourself. For instance, I choose to weigh what I bring to Sara's growth as an independent, confident role model vis-à-vis a stay-at-home mum." She clarifies that she isn't running down a homemaker's role. "It's just that I wouldn't be a satisfied individual. Would I make a good mother then? It is impossible."
Opting for this path means waking up Sara as she slept in Badshah's lap because she had make a dash for office. "Excuse the cliché, but every mother will tell you this -- it felt criminal to wake her up when she looked so angelic... and I had to snap out of it the moment I got into my car and pored over office documents," she says, the conflict clearly visible.
In these circumstances, it may be the easiest thing to overindulge Sara but Badshah stands firm. Instead of expensive toys and lavish parties, Sara's birthday gifts include spending 10 days out of town with her otherwise busy parents. "And no, the maid is not tagged along. It is me who Sara has at her beck and call," says Badshah proudly.