Mother's Day Special: Working moms of the industry talk about their lives in lockdown
Leading women of the industry shared that there is no template for being a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good one
The past 14 months have been a rollercoaster sort of ride for all working professionals, especially parents who are now juggling between their time for their kids and work commitments. From helping kids to attend online classes to help them deal with their alone time, working mothers are having much more on their plates than ever before. But the leading ladies of the marketing and advertising world are dealing with it like a pro. This mothers’ day, exchange4media.com asked some of these boss mothers to share their experiences of being at home amidst a pandemic and their message for other working mothers. Have a look at what they had to say;
Infectious Advertising Director & Founding Partner Nisha Singhania
"Actually, working from home has worked really well for me. My son is 17 and hence pretty much an adult. He is all set to step out for further studies. With my work and his studies, I would have never got so much time together with him. The lockdown has enabled this precious time together which I will cherish forever. During the lockdown we adopted a stray cat, I am amazed at how my son has learnt to be responsible and actually take care of her.
For other working mothers, I know we are all going through tough times, but do look at the positive side and let us enjoy this 'forced together time' with our kids."
DDB Mudra Group Director Corporate Communications Pragati Chavan
When it comes to working from home and managing the family, two words come to my mind -- support system. A great deal of what I achieve at work is intrinsically linked to my support system at home and at the workplace. Be it, my in-laws and spouse, at home, or the amazing set of people I work with at the DDB Mudra Group. Whether it’s by being flexible on meeting times or checking in on each other’s health and workload, having a supportive and cohesive work team is also so critical at this time! All of this contributes to my being a good parent every day.
And I want to tell all the other working mothers that caregiving needs and stereotypes can have an adverse effect on a woman’s ability to have a fulfilling career and raise children at the same time. So, set boundaries and ask for help when required. Push the envelope for gender equality. And much of that begins at home.
Ask for your spouse and others to share household chores, the responsibility of caring for children and helping elderly parents.
Most of all, don’t be critical of yourself and strive for constant perfection. Be kind. Many times we ourselves don’t give enough credit to all the hard work, tenacity and creativity, that we bring to our home and at work. So, when you lead by example, your children too will imbibe the same values and become better friends, spouses and possibly mothers themselves in the future.
Amplifi India, dentsu Group Trading Director Sujata Dwibedy
"Initially, it was a bit of a struggle, but by now I’m a pro at managing work and kids together. I have been managing the household with 3 kids since the lockdown, one is my daughter and the other two are my nieces as their colleges are shut as well. With the lockdown, our lives kind of changed. I would normally wake up early and make breakfast and lunch by 9 am, post that the office calls, office work, school and colleges would also start. Discipline had to be forced but all three, kind of, fell in order soon. I would distribute the household work between me, girls, and my husband.
When it comes to work, they know that I have an intense job, so they never bother me or come to my room to disturb me. When I have any interviews or video calls, my daughter often arranges the light and sets up the background etc. She would also insist on what I should be wearing. That’s the blessing of having daughters!
To all the other working mothers, being a mother is the most precious happiness that God has given us, we should not look at any moment as a burden. Kids are the best stress-busters, allow them to be part of the everyday chores and let them understand what you go through every day. I feel they observe us as nobody does, so we ought to choose what we want to be, because they would be that, in the future.
We must be responsible yet honest in everything that we do, work mindfully, and prioritize. Sometimes house chores take priority, sometimes work does, what’s important is that both must be taken care of."
Wunderman Thompson Mumbai AVP & Senior Creative Director Chandni Kapur
"Working from home is not easy. It’s like having 2 jobs but in one office space. Especially when you have a toddler at home. The only way to manage this situation is with the help of others. Between my husband, me, and the nanny, we take turns with my daughter who is too little right now to understand the situation. Also with no other external avenues, children are relying on you much more for everything in these times.
To all other working mothers, I would say Hang in there! We are doing much better than we give ourselves credit for."
Wunderman Thompson Delhi Senior Creative Director Preeti Pandey
"Lockdown has taught us several things and we didn’t know about our capabilities. One of them for sure is the ability to manage our work life and motherhood simultaneously.
For the first time in my life as a mother, I was guilt-free as I was able to spend enough time with my daughter and know a lot more about her.
Being a single mother, it was just the two of us for each other and we were together the entire day. Due to COVID, we were not even calling the maids for work. Managing the household chores along with office work was a bit tiresome, but we pulled through somehow.
My daughter is in an age group where she understands when I am busy with work and gives me time, so it was pretty manageable. Once, I was too tired of working for long hours. My mind was too tired and my feet were aching so I thought of taking a nap. Just then, I felt little fingers touching my feet. When I saw my daughter gently massaging my feet, I was overwhelmed with emotions.
Like love, Motherhood is also a two-way street. You nurture and you get nurtured in return. When you mother a child, you get mothered in return, and that too with the purest, unconditional love."
BC Web Wise Founder & MD Chaaya Baradhwaaj
"My son is now 16, and of an age that he does not need me as much as he did when he was younger. Or so I thought. While he does not like to cuddle up and hang over me so to speak, this being at home has just made it so wonderful for us to spend so much more time together. `Mom! don't work so hard' is a line that keeps reminding me there is someone who cares a lot for me, which just makes life so beautiful.
To all other working mothers, I would just like to say, let's make the most of this time we have been blessed with."
iProspect India CEO Rubeena Singh
"Recently, I was narrating to a colleague my challenges as a working mother of an eight-year-old and my inability to sometimes give her the attention she needs. Sometimes, she interrupts me in important meetings and it breaks my focus and train of thought. She overheard my conversation, felt really bad about it, and went out of her way to make ‘treats’ for me in the kitchen. She was really apologetic for disturbing me whilst at work. Hearing her out, I felt bad as she was in essence apologising for what is every child’s right - the attention of their parents whilst at home!
The traditional boundaries of work-life (in office) and personal time (at home) have all been swept away by the continuous barrage of calls and VCs. Quite often, it becomes difficult to focus on just one of these two aspects. Working women with young children that are cooped up at home find it a tad more difficult.
Work never ends, and we as working mothers need not feel judged if kids/home tasks demand our time or interrupt work calls. At the end of it, we are all working for HOME, not an office."
Wunderman Thompson Corporate HR Director Nivedita Sarbadhikari
"For me, the only way to get through the day is by having a set schedule for everything. I plan my day ahead of time so that I have room for housework, kid’s school and elderly care. I’m not apologetic about my kid bombing my calls or videos, remember, we have invaded their private space. I’ve taught my child to be as independent as possible. I keep her engaged with fun and productive games and books. My husband shares the load. We end the day by reading her a book, telling her how great she was that day and how much we love her. Then I take time to relax and unwind.
Initially, WFH was a nightmare for me. I used to start my day like the energizer bunny and ended up like a zombie from the walking dead. There were days when my mind and body would just give up and on many such days my daughter has massaged my feet, made me treats, read me a story and allowed me extra snooze time. I’ve even had the pleasure of attending an in-house puppet show! On days when I am super busy, she makes it a point to not disturb me and entertains herself for hours. I think kids have been our little heroes, carrying on no matter what the situation. Kudos to them!
To other working mothers, I’d say every mother has a unique parenting style that works best for her kids. Some days you may hit a pandemic wall. It’s perfectly fine. Have your day of tantrums because you deserve it. Trust me, there have been days when I’ve amazed myself and days when I’ve looked for my phone while talking on it! Shake it off and get back to being the best version of yourself – fierce, confident, self-assured, strong and resilient. Just like our moms and their moms. There is no template for being a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good one. You do you!"
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