Lara Balsara Vajifdar, Executive Director, Madison World writes that with the right approach and mindset, women can achieve fulfilment in both personal and professional life
With technology at our fingertips, we are all available almost 24×7 to our work. And with this lockdown and WFH has made this whole ‘work-life balance’ even more difficult to achieve. Although both men and women face work-life balance issues, this is always discussed more from a woman’s perspective. So for me, it was never a question of choosing my career over my personal life. To be honest, that never occurred to me, when I decided to start a family. The only thing I knew was that I wanted both and had to excel at both. And I also didn’t put too much thought into how I am going to manage both. I just went with the flow and did what I had to do.
Our advertising and media industry is quite fast-paced with long hectic hours, which many a time come unannounced because a crisis can hit anytime. So work-life balance can become a problem. But the way I see it is that you can’t compartmentalize the two. Both have to coexist. You prioritize, at a particular point in time what and who needs you more and just do it. For me, work-life balance has everything to do with your mindset. If you make up your mind that you have to achieve something either personally or professionally, then you will do all it takes to go out and achieve that goal, or at least have a plan in your mind as to how you will get there.
Harvard has been doing a study over the years on the effects of a working mother on children as they grow up. In the last study done in 2019 across 50,000 adults, the result showed that children of working mothers are not only high achievers at work, but also turn out to be happy too, just as happy as adults of non-working mothers. So working mothers, there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty. In fact, remember you are contributing in a big way in raising more successful, well rounded and gender-neutral kids.
So how does a career-oriented, working mother hold it all together?
Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, has come up with a secret formula for working women to lead a balanced life. She has written a Book – PICK THREE – YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL, JUST NOT every day. She says, every day when she wakes up, she picks three of the five things she is going to focus on. The five things are – Work. Sleep. Family. Friends. Fitness. Choose only three of those five things to live a happy life. You could choose all 5, but then you can do that for a day or two. But if you do it continuously, you will burn out very quickly. This quite resonates with me, and I feel is my secret formula for managing my life. I would say on most days my top three are – work, kids and fitness.
There is no right way to do this. Everyone has to find their own way that works for their family and lifestyle. I also do believe that am not doing anything exceptional – everyone around me does it. I see my colleague at work and my mommy friends, all of them are doing a great job. I get emails at 11.30/12 at night from my other work colleagues who are mothers. We’ve done calls at 10.30 pm at night and sometimes even on a Sunday. So do whatever works for you.
Yes, it is difficult, but with the right support system, everything can be managed. The most important thing is don’t be afraid to ask for help, from within your family or hiring help. And also delegate different tasks in your home. Get the kids involved too in household chores. Fathers and husbands play a great role in nurturing and taking care of the child. Gone are the days when taking care of children or the home, was just the mother’s responsibility.
To sum up, I believe we as women, can have it all, well almost. And why shouldn’t we?
Remember the two keywords – prioritisation and delegation.
Lara Balsara Vajifdar is the Executive Director at Madison World.
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