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Why must I choose?


I look at my son running around the office. He giggles and laughs and takes forty rounds around the printer console. Plays with the calculator, block sections, paint catalogues. And I wonder why must I choose.

The thought came from another article which a working mother friend forwarded to me about being a working mother. The choices we make, the guilt we have, the good times with our children we miss out. And the good points – being out there in the world, dealing with stuff which has a public face, talking to other adults who look on you as peers, not have your conversations confined to diapers and night time sleep habits (not that working moms dont do that).

Truly both lives are valid and important lives. They are made by powerful choices and have great benefits to the family and the society at large. Both of them. But today I sat down to write about being a full time MUM while WORKING. And the benefits of that. And how if more women had the choices I had, I strongly feel that the benefits to the family and society will quadruple.

Let me admit its not easy. You cannot switch off to your work zone ever, well almost never. You have to do immense time juggling and your daily routine must be subservient to your child’s. But that is a given when you take time off for 2 – 7 years and find yourself trying to get back from bottom of the ladder again after that time, with colleagues who are the next generation, or simply give up because it becomes too hard. So now that I have done this full time working mom bit for both my kids, with the second one slated to start school next month, I feel that its still the best way of not having to choose, to be able to do both, to continue working while you parent. And with a supportive structure it is possible.

Top of that supportive structure is of course your work climate and your employer. But no less important is the complete partnership of your spouse. Unless your partner is an equal stakeholder in this parenting business, the full time working mom bit does not work. And parenting means flexi hours. And that goes back to…yes…work climate of both.Because there will be all those board meetings you will need to attend, the travels that you must do and not all are conducive to carrying a child along. Though I have done some in my time in all fairness.

My children have sat through meetings with me, sometimes with a book in hand, sometimes on my lap. They have been flung in the backseat of the car for long journeys and spent days on dusty work sites. My daughter even started to give me crits on my design. But they have survived all that and are none the worse for it. I have also learnt to pace myself and demand that space from me and my clients which allows me to work out of station while being a mom.

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