I would like to begin my opinion with a disclaimer: The views expressed by me are based on my own experiences and observations and they may not be the norm.

Being a career woman was MY choice. My mother was a full time mom (what a great mother she still is!). However right from my student days I was fascinated by women who had a career. I was very sure in my mind that I too would have a career. After my twelfth standard results came out (Higher secondary), I was spoilt for choice. Medicine or engineering? Well, I opted for Engineering. Computer Science was a hot topic in those days (beginning of the nineties) and I took to it like a fish to water!

I sincerely believe that the greatest joy in any woman’s life is motherhood! Believe me I and my hubby were over the moon when our angel was born. We so wanted a daughter and God listened to our prayers. Time flew fast! Frankly speaking there were times in my professional life, where I just wanted to give up the job and be a full time mom. But the rock solid support I received from my hubby and my parents helped me overcome those fragile moments. Those were trying times but “where there is a will there is a way.”

During my frequent travels abroad on different assignments for varying periods i.e. from three days to even six months! I came across many of those so called “Hamletian” moments “To go or not to go” was the question I always asked myself.

I was a bundle of many conflicting thoughts, emotions and fears both rational and irrational:

  • Am I neglecting my daughter’s needs?
  • Am I being selfish?
  • Am I putting my career above my family life?
  • Am I a good mother?
  • What if my daughter refuses to recognize me when I come back?
  • What if she grows up to be a problematic child?
  • Will I be able to bond with her?
  • Will she love me?

This and many others!!!!

As the saying goes “SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION!” Keeping all the negative thoughts aside and with the full backing of both my hubby and my daughter (believe me I used to take her permission every time I had to travel and every time, unselfishly she used to say YES) and today the stage at which my career is and the stage at which my daughter is (studying MBBS to be a doctor), I am at peace with myself.

I always treated my daughter and spoke to her as my equal, right since her infancy. I used to speak to her daily regarding my office and work. In fact she used to look forward to these conversations. The childhood and bedtime stories were taken care of by my hubby (who by the way is a very good story teller). I can proudly say that in spite of my busy schedule I took care not to miss any of her birthdays, annual prize distribution days, concerts etc. She had a proper childhood. I believe a child imbibes a lot from her parents. Seeing me go to work every day has instilled a strong work ethic in her. Describing my office routine and my work with various office colleagues instilled the concept of team work in her. The various successes along with trials and tribulations in my professional life and my talking frankly about them with her made her realize that life is a journey with ups and downs.

A mother is the best teacher. What the child learns from the mother is invaluable and leaves a strong impression on the psyche of the child. I have observed amongst family and friends that children of working mothers right from a very early age, exhibit a streak of independence. They are firm of mind and once they decide to undertake something it is very difficult to dislodge them from it without proper reasoning and logic. They usually make their own decisions and are able to give valid and cogent reasons for taking them. They know what they want from life and work diligently towards achieving their goals. Their sense of proportion and work ethic is very strong. They learn very early that hard work always pays in the end. They learn to value money because they have seen the efforts (of the mother) behind earning it. Staying on their own most of the time makes them realize the value of quality time. And yes, children of having working mothers do not objectify women.

It is not to say that children of full time mothers do not exhibit any or all of the qualities stated above. But I know for sure and there are enough empirical evidences through surveys and studies to show that a greater percentage of children having working moms exhibit the above qualities and are more successful in having satisfying careers! As always, there may be exceptions to the rule!

Penned by Farhin Kharawala

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