I am a doctor by profession, so balancing motherhood and career was quite a difficult task for me. As you all know our schedules of working are quite busy. It was my first pregnancy and we found out on the 10-week ultrasound that there were two sacs !! Twin pregnancy? My first reaction when we found out was that I couldn’t believe that it was true! Although I knew it was true, as I saw the two sacs on the USG monitor myself, it was hard to digest it in the beginning. I was happy, but scared! There were so many questions! Am I ready for twins? Am I cut out to even be a mom? What after the babies come? How will I keep up with my career and motherhood? Will I be even able to have a career? These were some of the things that worried me.
Women are usually expected to sacrifice their careers to give birth and then take care of them, meanwhile men assume to be the breadwinners of the family. Although both handle their respective roles pretty well, the problem arises when the children are in their teen years and are ready to leave their nest for further studies or explore the world. That’s when the mother gets hit with a huge hammer on the head! You were so successful in your career that you willingly gave up for your family but now no one needs you! It doesn’t mean that they love you any less, it just means that they don’t need you as much as they did before. Now you’ve got all the time on your hand.
Oh! What do I have in my life anymore? I have no kids to take care of, no job, and I’m financially dependent on my family! That’s when you start questioning yourself! Why did I have to give up my career? Did I have any other option?
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Then you start looking up for jobs, but after almost a decade of separation from your career, it’s difficult to catch up! You may find some job that you may feel is a lower position for your expertise, or you may start a small business, all of this again needs marketing skills which you’ve lost orientation of since last decade. There are very less cases where a woman may find a job that she needs after a such long break! Millions of women all over the world face this and slip into depression due to the same boring routine and identity crisis after their job of raising kids comes to an end.
However, this is not the right approach. Women should never give up their job completely. I took a break from my profession for a year, and meanwhile enjoyed being a new mom! But, I also craved to learn something new to build my skills. So I looked up some courses online! That way I learned another skill of web designing which was unrelated to my profession, and from the comfort of my home. This skill I learned is generating income now! That was not the end of it. I kept applying for multiple jobs related to the medical field with work-from-home opportunities, like medical content writing, virtual consultations, prescription validation, etc. So now I’m doing a lot of things(Virtual Consultations, Content writing, Blogging, and Designing), in my own time, spending time with my babies, and having the best time of my life! If I can figure it out, so can you!
Some of the tips I would give you to strike a balance between career and motherhood:
A) Share Responsibilities: I am extremely lucky and honestly so grateful that my husband opted for a work-from-home job as well. His work is much more demanding, yet he makes time and takes care of the kids, whenever I have bit more work to do. He has off on weekends, so I work most weekends. If he bathes the kids, I dress them up. Sometimes when we both are working, my mom-in-law or granny takes care of them.
B) Job flexibility: My career was just starting. But I had to make a choice! I wanted my babies to have a happy childhood, with a mother around them during their most crucial years. Mother’s physical and emotional provides babies, protection from stress and emotional regulation, both of which are important to healthy brain development and the future well-being of the child, especially in the first three years of life. I denied multiple opportunities which would pay me much higher, for a lot more hours of work. So I chose the kind of work which had flexible timings. I give about 3-4 hours of my day for consultations with my patients, I write content for my blog whenever I get the time.
C) Use Domestic help/ daycare facility: If working from home is not an option for you, you can use domestic help/daycare to take care of your kids for a few hours.
D) Freelancing: if you have the skills and a good portfolio/ resume to show off your work there are sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, People Per Hour, etc where you can look for work. You can choose work, set your prices and work only when you can/want to.
E) Online course: If you cannot choose any of the above options and have no help whatsoever, take up online courses that you can show off in your resume, and update yourself because the world doesn’t stop for you. There are a lot of amazing courses on Udemy, and they have a sale going on a lot of times, where you can learn amazing courses for much less cost. There is a lot of free content on Youtube as well. All these skills will surely help you out when you go back to work.
These are some of the things that helped me. I’m sure not all women have similar situations or help from the family like I did. But, my advice to all women is do not give up your career/dream forever. Try to find a balance!
“You can be a good mom and still work out, get your rest, and have a career – or not. My mother encouraged me to find that balance.”
— Michelle Obama