Father to his 4yr old daughter, “you either buy a toy telephone or a Barbie”. The child persists; she wants both and also an ice cream. All reasoning and coaxing cannot deter her. No tantrums, no crying, her perseverance gets her everything that she has ever wanted and dreamt to have. As a child we are determined. Instead of accepting the best option offered to us, we insist on having it all. Being relentless about the choices and never judging ourselves and why not? Why choose one thing over another, when we can have it all? As we grow up we lose that grit. As an adult we give into the concept of giving up on our dreams for a greater good that matters the most in the given situation or at the given time. We choose the best option and yet remain disconsolate.
Even after acquiring higher education and degrees a woman bears the burden of choice and in the process ends giving up on her most cherished dreams. Having a choice and options is a blessing, but not always. Especially when the choice is between two contradictory dreams. Full time family or job? And with choice there are Innumerable hurdles i.e. being married, kids too young, no support system, a foreign country, complicated visa procedures, tedious paper works for certification and attestations, husband’s demanding career and frequent relocations. For me it was all of the above. The reason behind not going back to work became more and more convincing with time until I met these dreamers and achievers. Thus, we will not talk about dreams lost, sparing the cliché rather share few extraordinary stories about those go getter Moms who didn’t give up on their dreams and aspirations and made it to them despite the hiccups and delay. Their childhood grit is still persistent. They are juggling a demanding career and home with ease. Well let's hear their stories.
“There are no right or wrong choices and it's perfectly ok to be out of balance at times”, Says Subhadra Das Debroy, currently working as the Principal Consultant at JMR Infotech and a mother to twins. “Joining back a corporate job after a sabbatical of three years for a mom of twins has been freaking hard. While my job was refreshing and challenging, I was still caught up in a guilt trip of not being the responsible mom who is always there for her twins. There are days when I have forgotten to set up a calendar reminder for a PTM. I panicked. Could a responsible MOM ever do that? Assuming everything was sorted- having fixed up with nanny, cook, and maids was a great feeling. In reality though, getting the right balance is tricky. The truth is that we work longer hours in India as compared to many other countries in the world. So when I finally arrive home, I have no energy for a game of football in the park or six rounds of battling with homework waiting on the kitchen table. I always thought that the secret to work life balance was out there and I was striving to crack the code but after working for 3 years now through this whole ordeal. Finally, I realized that all these changes really did not matter because something always fell out of balance.
No, I have not found the perfect formula, so to all the moms out there, take a day off and take a deep breath and say “It’s my turn to take a break”.
While researching reasons women battle to pursue their dreams in silence, some of them compared their mothers’ lives with theirs. We inferred that women education has changed the dynamics of Indian society. In our parents’ generation, it was common to see highly educated women playing second fiddle to their husbands’. “Though my mother is a housewife, she encouraged me from childhood to always have my own career and identity. ”, shares Bonnya Ghose, Mother to 11 years old child, working with an MNC, in the HR-IT department, managing the Learning systems of the entire company. “There were a lot of struggles. I had to change job multiple times due to my husband's relocation. Also after my child's birth, I had to take a break after which I found it quite difficult to get a new job. I took a 3 month maternity leave plus 2 months’ work from home before and after it. When I returned to work the first time, post-delivery, my son was only 3.5 months old. It was very difficult as I was acting as a single parent, with only a nanny to help me. But my will made it possible. My best advice for moms who wants to work and stop short due to guilt pangs of abandoning their newborns for few hours daily is that don’t let guilt grapple your dream of having a career. Remember, that's what you slogged for all your life prior to mommy hood. Don't let it all go in vain and become a frustrated person in the process. Live life as it comes. Sometimes things will go wrong, and it is absolutely fine! "
Globalization is yet another factor we unearthed. Today, the world has become so small that one is not confined to their immediate society, culture and country. As the world has shrunk, one learns and borrows from other cultures as well without losing their individuality. Moving abroad and tackling challenges in a foreign land, pursuing her dream and passion is what an achiever manages with ease. Today the scenario within urban families is much different from what it was about a decade back. Men exposed to foreign cultures respect their spouses’ individuality and pitch in equally in running the nest built by both of them. Neha Mahajan, a TV Asia journalist based in New Jersey boasts of the strong support her husband lends her in running their house and taking equal responsibility in bringing up their two adorable daughters. As a couple they blurred the line of gender based roles that was deeply ingrained in them till they moved to US and borrowed from the prevalent culture of being one deemed unit as homemaker, breadwinner and parent too. It was important for Neha to Follow her dreams and step out of the shadow of her father, brother, husband and justify her innate talent gifted to her by the almighty. In Neha's words, “A woman can never build a happy home unless she is happy within. Trust your grit and work your ass off till you have demolished the last wall that blocked you from chasing your dreams. Not only you bring up happier children that way but you also lead by example. Giving up on one's dreams before fighting attaining its realization is justice denied to oneself ".
The last commandment Learnt and that should stay with every woman till her last breath is the fact that dreamers who are achievers are never bound by age or time. “If one has strong desire, age is not at all a hindrance” says, Sundari Bala, working as a Faculty Member for one of the highly reputed school in Kuwait. Mother of two- all grown up and settled, a college going girl and a boy. She was above 50 years of age when she took up this dream job. “Although I belonged to a conservative family, my family ensured higher education for me. I Graduated from Bananas Hindu University, and started working as a teacher. Since early on, I kindred the dream to work abroad but my husband's demanding job and my responsibilities towards my family made it almost impossible to pursue my dream. My daughter is now married and my son goes to college so when the opportunity to work as a teacher in Kuwait following my husband's relocation just before his retirement came up, I didn’t think twice. It wasn’t too late. In fact it was just the right time for me. This was right time for me to pursue my childhood dream of moving abroad and working there. I am not just living my dream but also supporting my sons dream to study abroad. My determination made it possible for me to dream big. And to all women I would like to say, don’t give up and it's never too late to chase your dream.
My humble learnings in the process of meeting these mention-worthy women are beautifully summed up in an Ashley Smith quote... 'Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams'. Don't choose, go for it all!