Nation Current Affairs 13 May 2018 Balancing Act!

Balancing Act!

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SWATI SHARMA
Published May 13, 2018, 1:05 am IST
Updated May 13, 2018, 1:05 am IST
These are mothers who excel in both — everyday and high-profile careers.
Kavitha Kalvakuntala with her husband Anil Kumar and sons Aaditya and Aarya.
 Kavitha Kalvakuntala with her husband Anil Kumar and sons Aaditya and Aarya.

These are mothers who excel in both — everyday and high-profile careers. They strive to juggle it all and are doing the best they can for their career, their family and themselves, writes Swati Sharma.

Time management
Kavitha Kalvakuntala, TRS MP, who has two sons —  Aaditya and Aarya Devanapalli — and husband Anil Kumar Devanapalli, says she has become adept at managing her time.

She says, “It’s not easy, but definitely doable. I am a modern woman and I know how to juggle my work and family. After a long period of work, I definitely take off for a day or two to spend time with my kids. These days, I am busy with my constituency and I plan accordingly so that my kids are not neglected. Time management is the key. My children are young — one is in Class IX and the other Class VI. Sometimes they snap and sometimes I do. But I always try to compensate.  My family and my kids are my first priority. I am lucky that I am able to balance both with the support of my husband and my mother-in-law. My family keeps me going even with my busy schedule.

Box of chocolates
Vasundhra Sinha, IT commissioner, says when you're a working woman you have to figure out creative ways to make it work. She has two sons — Ayushman, 24, and Arish, 22.

Vasundhra Singh with her husband and sons, Ayushman and Arish.Vasundhra Singh with her husband and sons, Ayushman and Arish.

“Career and children are both important, and it can be difficult to prioritise one over the other. I am extremely lucky to have a husband and in-laws who helped me to balance all these commitments. Life is indeed a box of chocolates and you have to learn to appreciate every bitter-sweet flavour. There were times when I had to place my work over family, but my kids know that no matter how busy I am I will always be just a phone call away. I will always be there, no matter what.”

It isn't hard
Shikha Goel, additional commissioner of police (crimes & SIT), Telangana police, balancing really isn’t that hard. She has two children — Tavashya 16 and Yutika, 10.

Shikha Goel with her kids Tavashya and Yutika.Shikha Goel with her kids Tavashya and Yutika.

“I don’t believe in the concept of superwoman... I think these terms put unnecessary pressure on women. At each point in time we need to be clear about our priorities. Priorities keep changing, at times the needs of family/kids take precedence and at such times I’ve opted for less demanding job positions. At other times the job is important and during such times help from the spouse and family members, having reliable staff helps. It is always possible to steal some time from a busy schedule for a school PTM or an annual day. An occasional trip to mall or a movie helps in bonding. Giving a hug to the kids before they go to bed each night definitely is my biggest stress-buster. Have Sunday lunch together, I try to follow this as far as possible. Ultimately I feel kids are extremely perceptive human beings, they very comfortably adjust to our schedules.”

Can lead to guilt feeling
Neetu Prasad, commissioner, rural development and panchayat raj, who has two sons -- Agastya, 10, years and Amartya, 7, says being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family.

Neetu Prasad with her sons Agastya and Amartya.Neetu Prasad with her sons Agastya and Amartya.

“I don’t feel like a supermom. In fact, sometimes, the feeling is just the opposite. Maintaining work-life balance is of course my top priority and this proves to be unattainable many a time. When kids are sick and there is some work deadline looming large, when they want a vacation and my work commitments don’t allow it, I get guilt pangs. However, I try to squeeze free time for them whenever it’s possible. I take them to malls, eating joints and to watch IPL matches. In the night, I sit with them to listen to their stories of that day. Sometimes, it’s my turn to tell them stories. Spending time with them and watching them grow is the most memorable part of my day! As a parent, I try to inculcate important life skills to them but the process is not one way. I learn many new things from them. It can be about cinema, games, places and even general awareness about the world. William Wordsworth was so right in saying ‘The child is the father of man’, and in my case, woman.”

Constantly juggling act
Swati Lakra inspector-general of police, law and order, and mother of two – Pratiti and Stuti — says it’s a constant juggling act, and at times she feels guilty.
“You have to juggle to balance both work and family,  you just can’t neglect both. There are times when you feel guilty but then I try to make up.

Swati Lakra with her husband and two daughters, Pratiti and Stuti.Swati Lakra with her husband and two daughters, Pratiti and Stuti.

As a parent, we try to attend all their parent teachers meet, unless the work is not too demanding. We try to compensate once we are back home from work. On weekends, if we are not going out, we spend time watching movies or playing board games. Wherever it’s possible, my children come to my office and spend time. These are the ways we accommodate them so that they are not neglected.

Don’t mix office & home
Dr Poonam Malakondaiah, agriculture and co-operation APC and principal secretary to government, says despite the struggle most working moms willingly choose to balance a career and a family.

Poonam MalakondaiahPoonam Malakondaiah

“Basically time management is very important – it depends on how you manage it and give completely to yourself. I try not to mix my office and home. It is difficult to do, but I have clear defined lines -- don't bring the office home and home to office. Setting boundaries both at home and at work helps me remain focused on the task at hand, which is especially important during family time. Since my kids are grown up now, it’s important to stay connected.  And technology makes it easier. Most importantly, it’s family support that make things easier for us. It’s a combination of all these things that has helped me juggle between my office and home smoothly.”

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