How To Make It Work
TWO ENTREPRENEURS TELL US HOW THEY MANAGE TO BALANCE CAREER SUCCESS WITH MOTHERHOOD.
CEO, Bridal Asia
As a working parent, women inevitably end up on a guilt trip. That’s something which is ingrained in our Indian mindset. We feel guilty about not spending enough time with or not always being there for our child,” says Gurwara. “As a result, whatever little time we get with the child, we end up indulging and spoiling them by giving in to their demands,” she adds.
Admitting that she has found herself in a similar situation, Gurwara says she was fortunate to have the support of a joint family. “I feel that disciplining the child is the biggest casualty a working woman faces if she doesn’t have the support of a joint family. Incidentally, this Indian cultural set- up has worked wonders for me,” she says.
Bridal Asia, which is now in its 15th year, is Gurwara’s pet project. What started as nouveau concept aimed at capturing a small piece of the huge Indian wedding market, Bridal Asia has now gone on to become one of the biggest bridal expositions in the country. “I started working after motherhood and it was a very conscious decision,” explains Gurwara. “I realised that I wanted to be mentally occupied with something constructive. This is when I took the plunge,” she adds.
But organising an event on such a large scale also meant immense personal investment in terms of time and energy and Gurwara says she often asked her children if they wanted her to quit. “They always said no and this made me more comfortable,” she says, adding, “I’ve always been good at keeping an act together. Maybe this is why I’ve managed both the work and home front quite well.”
GEETA BECTOR, Chief Tasting Officer, Opera Crisps, Cremica Group
There’s a yet unproven but widely accepted belief that women are more intuitive than men. For reasons unknown women seem to possess an extraordinary sixth sense. Bector is perhaps, one of the biggest advocate of this belief. “Women are absolutely indispensable to the workplace. What we may lack in physical strength, we more than make up for it with our instincts and perception,” she asserts. According to Bector, this is exactly why women who take maternity breaks shouldn’t be apprehensive about getting back to work and starting from where they left off. “These days we see more and more women being recruited for top job in sectors like banking, which earlier was chiefly a male domain. This is because they are good at predicting the market and economy,” she adds.
Indeed, it is this very quality that helped Bector hit upon that elusive work- life balance which most women struggle to find. As chief tasting officer, one of Bector’s jobs involves foreseeing new trends in food before introducing them to the market. When she became a parent she used this foresight to think ahead and draw a roadmap for herself so that she knew exactly how long a sabbatical she would take from work and how she would bring up her children. “Of course, it wasn’t perfect. No one ever achieves that. I’d be stupid if I said that I had a perfect worklife balance but I may have managed to get quite close to it,” she says.
To be a good mother one doesn’t have to be handson is what Bector believes. She says that a lot of women get caught up in a societal trap where external sources impose a sense of guilt for being career oriented and a lot of women end up giving up their professional lives for motherhood. “I know it’s not easy to make this decision but the more you think about it, the more you get sucked into an abyss. Before you know you’ve reached a point of no return,” she says. She believes that if one wants to get back to work after motherhood it’s always better to plan early and not waste too much time weighing the circumstances.
“As long as you create a comfortable environment for your children at home and make time for the important occasions in their lives, you’ll still be considered a good mother,” she explains. “And if you want to be a stay- at- home mom, even that’s okay. At the end of the day, what matters most is what gives you the most satisfaction,” she adds.