Mum's the word

MOTHERS DAY SPECIAL

Mum's the word

 Fatima Mahdi-Karan with Azaan

A new baby demands care and attention 24/7 and the mother is usually responsible for the major share of the essential work. “Women who had an active career or social life before childbirth often feel isolated when they are at home, caring for the new baby.

Many women fear that they are losing their professional networking skills and this, in some cases, may lead to depression or resentment. Staying connected over internet or phone are the easier second options,” says Harjeet K Bhumra (34), Co-ordinator (IGCSE) of Billabong High International School, Mumbai. Time management, she says, is the key to success.

HR Consultant Gaurangi Shyam (31), mother to 11-month-old Aashi, says: “I do my best to get every bit of baby-care information from friends who are mothers too. It is a juggling act as I try to balance the demands of home, work and the needs of my little one, but it is truly worth it. My husband does his best to help me in taking care of the baby despite his busy work schedule.”

Super mom? Who’s that?

The pressures of motherhood are immense. Saraswati Anand, Head of Marketing, Radio Mirchi, observes: “Motherhood is stressful, with you wanting the best for your baby, planning to get back in shape and then, getting back to work. To top it all, you also need to spend quality time with the husband. It’s quite a task to keep career aspirations going while caring for the baby. I guess we treat mommy-hood as a ‘project’ that needs to be completed to perfection and pressurise ourselves if things don’t happen the way we want them to.  I do feel good when somebody describes me a great mom who has been able to juggle so many tasks so well!”

Uzma Irfan, Director, Corporate Communications, Prestige Group, says: “Once I had Alayna, life changed dramatically. She became my priority and I had to manage my schedule to ensure that I spent a significant amount of time with her. Alayna is now four years old and I have realised that it is possible to strike a healthy balance between being a ‘Yummy Mummy’ and a ‘Tiger Mom’! I believe that a child blossoms with ‘parenting’, not ‘mothering’. You have to look after yourself too. I dedicate Saturday nights to spending time with my husband, going out with friends or pampering myself with a little ‘me-time’.”

Piya Basu Kapoor (35), Manager, Brand Communications and PR, Tupperware India, says: “For some strange reason, people immediately elevate a woman’s status to ‘super mom’ the minute she has a baby! Personally, having a baby has taught me to value relationships and ‘me-time’.  At work, I am completely focused on the tasks on hand. But once I am home, it’s all about bonding with my child and my husband.”

According to Sujatha Malik (33), Project Manager, GlobalLogic India, being ‘Chillax Mom’  helps her bond better with her daughter Jayani, who will soon be seven years old. “Of course, there are certain occasions when I put my foot down and ensure that I am heard,” she adds with a grin!

Career rules

Motherhood is a period of major transition for the career girl as it sometimes entails staying at home, redefining goals and re-arranging priorities.

“My son is three-and-a-half years old now, and I enjoy every moment that I spend with him. However, I also think it was the right choice to return to work when he was seven months old. I am committed to my profession as a senior news anchor and producer.

Having a baby has definitely made me less concerned about sweating the small stuff! To me, motherhood is about my relationship with my son, and not what others think of me. 

I do take better care of myself by exercising and eating right so that I can be at my healthiest and energetic best for him,” says Fatima Mahdi-Karan, who is with Network 18.

Dr Ushma Batra, Vice-President, Dr Batra’s, says: “When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, I was mentally prepared for the change in my schedule. And when I returned to practice at the clinic, I was prepared for the shift, all over again. There never was and there never has been any need for me to “helicopter” my child’s every moves. I allow him to be what he is: an energetic, happy five-year-old. We all need our space, and so does a growing child, so long as you keep track of the big picture.”

Technology first

With most young mothers also being busy working professionals, wireless technology and high speed internet are a god-send, as working from home becomes an option.

 “Being mother, wife and professional means managing so many chores which only a super woman can! At least, that’s what I thought. But technology does come handy in such situations and can really make you a super woman! I was introduced to an application service called ‘Evernote’ and I describe it as a turning point in my life. It’s the best way to keep a tab on tasks to be done. You can access it on any platform (phone, PC, tablet, notebook) and it ensures that you remember everything that’s important to you,” says Sheetal Singh (32), Communications Consultant.

Back to the drawing board

Children have also inspired their mothers to start their own business ventures. Sonam Saini (29), Child Educator and Founder of Mozartsy, says: “At the age of two, Shanaya surprised me with her interest in musical instruments. I thought why not extend the wonderful gift of music to other kids as well. After rigorous research I put together a music workshop called Mozartsy, aimed specifically at helping children explore music concepts and musical instruments. No doubt, my work has doubled, but I only have gratitude in my heart for being able to nurture a child who is helping me grow and learn each day!”

Payal Ashar Chohan (30), who owns ‘My Little Piggy’, a designer studio, says: “I started the studio  in August 2010; in a sense, it’s a baby too. My daughter Maahi reminds me that my decision was right.”

Special, indeed

Being a full-time mother is one of the best-paid jobs because the payment is pure love, said a wise woman. Clementine Henriques couldn’t agree more. Her 23-year-old son, Nikhil Henriques, has borderline Down’s Syndrome and she counts herself lucky to have studied Psychology. “It helped me ensure early intervention,” she says.

“To be honest every parent in a situation similar to mine is in shock for the first two years, but you need to learn to deal with the situation. There are challenges in finding the best school for your child. Again, I was lucky that Nikhil went to a regular school, which had a special unit. This ensured that he had morning classes with all the other children as well as an afternoon one-on-one session with a special educator. Of course, he was given a calculator for his Maths examination, but he was allowed to learn with his peers. It was important to me that his upbringing stayed as normal as possible,” she explains.

She advises parents of children with special needs to take them out as often as possible. “My son is so loving and caring that he completes me,” she adds.

Expert speak

Dr Meghana Dixit (33) says: “As a mother, I have always tried to be a mentor and friend to my son Pratham, so that he is not afraid to turn to me, even in the worst crisis ever. I let him make mistakes and learn from them. My hand-holding is occasional and I certainly don’t have a long list of do’s and dont’s.”

Dr Samir Parikh, Mental Health and Behavioural Expert, adds: “The key is to ensure that you take care of yourself and stay relaxed and happy.”

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