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Breaking the glass ceiling key to freeing women of judgment

Having a career is a sure­fire way for a woman to be self­reliant and grow. But, change in life plans on account of motherhood should be respected.

opinion Updated: Jul 30, 2018 15:33 IST
Neela Kaushik,Gurgaon Moms,Gurugram
Representative image

“But I am happy as a stay-at-home mom, for now. This is a choice that I have consciously made,” said a member in our weekly meeting of Gurgaon Moms when we were enlisting reasons why women should return to work after children. I always thought she was an intelligent young mom, professionally qualified and seemed like she knew what she wanted. Her response definitely surprised me.

Employment serves two purposes. It gives women the financial independence and also helps you further your interests and aspirations. Many of us have been reared to be fiercely ambitious. We are conditioned to believe that professional ambition is a great quality. I was worried why a smart person like her would think differently. Was I missing something here or should I be advising her as a good friend?

She later explained to me the rationale behind her decision. I realised she was not unambitious but her priorities were different at this point in time and she chose to do whatever improved her quality of life. She also casually mentioned how her decision to stay at home has been commented upon by some friends and people close to her. She shared her long-term plans. She was planning to get back to work after her children started school but wanted to take up part time or freelancing opportunities. Again she will be settling for something less. I was wondering if I were to ask my younger self, would I have wanted to spend lesser time on my venture. I doubt that. That would have made me sad.

Each one of us is built differently. Whatever ensures happiness and quality of life at that point in time must be pursued, without losing focus of the long-term objectives. And this is greatly influenced by the environment, current life events, personal aspirations and interests.

Many of us have grown into accomplished women, equipped to reach any goal we set our hearts to. However, there is one major life transition that we have not been prepared for - motherhood. While there are enough resources to teach us how to take care of the newborn, there is hardly anything that prepares us for the big life changes that a new mom faces.

There was a point in time I felt disillusioned with the career choices I had made. I spoke to a mom coach who beautifully explained how I could get out of this unhappy space. She made me understand that our life goals, just like goals of a business venture, need to be revisited from time to time. We have to evaluate the ‘blueprint to reach the goal’ in the light of the current challenges, strengths and life events. If a course correction is required, then make it and align it with the goals. Sometimes you will find the blueprint changing; sometimes you will find that there is a new goal. We must keep our minds and hearts open to embrace these changes along the way.

In our community, GurgaonMoms, we celebrate the accomplishments of successful women in the corporate world who break the glass ceiling. We passionately raise voice for women who want to get back to work. I firmly believe that only when women representation increases, be it in corporates or politics, we can expect a more equal society. We cannot stress enough the importance of a woman’s financial independence.

But in all this hurry, let us not forget to respect other’s choices.

(An advocate of women’s rights, Neela Kaushik started a Facebook community called Gurgaon Moms to create a local support network for mothers in the city. Today, it has more than 25,000 members.)

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 15:33 IST