The hands that rock the cradle can rule the boardroom

By Tushar Priyadarshi in Health & Nutrition 15/06/2016

Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. But first, a woman.

Gone are the days when the potential of women shied away behind purdahs and burkhas. Today women stand tall with men and are proving their mettle in every field. We have had many inspiring women entrepreneurs, female astronauts, actors, scientists, CEOs, and sportspersons. And much to the disappointment of the orthodox Indian male chauvinist, we’ve even had a female prime minister, and such was her reign, that even newspapers didn’t dare speak against her.

The multitude of roles played by a woman is so vast that this, or any other article for that matter, is incapable of describing her in full measures.

However, right since the age of dinosaurs, the least insignificant role of a woman has been that of a mother, and motherhood has been significantly synonymous with love, care, duties and responsibilities, more duties and more responsibilities and again, many more duties and many more responsibilities.

The major life goal for an Indian parent is to get their daughter married ASAP. But astonishingly, The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs’ World Fertility Report of 2011 reveals that the average age at first marriage is still below 18 for women in India. That is when the mothers-in-law start finding the “aangan soona soona” and voila! The average age at first birth becomes a mere 20 years in India. The rebellious age of 20 is one when the woman (or rather the 20-year-old ‘girl’) has myriad things racing through her mind and although she might be physically mature to bear a child, mental maturity is still a far cry. Moreover, it is also the age when the ambitious girl in her plans a career to carve a niche for herself in the society, because hey! It is 2016 and a metropolitan family cannot survive with a single breadwinner.

The rebellious age of 20 is one when the woman (or rather the 20-year-old ‘girl’) has myriad things racing through her mind and although she might be physically mature to bear a child, mental maturity is still a far cry.

The system of nuclear families instead of joint ones has given ‘birth’ to new trends of crèche and nannies, things that already existed in the western countries. While this does allow the parents to have a successful corporate life, and while the child may not have to suffer a financial crisis, in the long run, it is a hidden grim reality that the child remains devoid of some basic priceless virtues which only the parent can provide.

 
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Things like decent health, good habits, values and lingua franca can be imparted to a child only by his parents and it is when the parent escapes from these responsibilities owing to his/her hectic schedule, the child ultimately feels disconnected with his parents, much like if the child is sent to a boarding school right since his formative years. It is, hence, important that a woman gives birth only when she is ready to take out time for what remains her primary concern — her child. The society has been conditioned to believe that looking after a child is a task meant for the mother. However, why this most important job in the world is still the least valued, I fail to fathom.

It is, hence, important that a woman gives birth only when she is ready to take out time for what remains her primary concern – her child.

The society has been conditioned to believe that looking after a child is a task meant for the mother. However, why this most important job in the world is still the least valued, I fail to fathom.

 

Pregnancy comes with many physical and emotional changes caused by hormonal imbalances in the body. Saying that these changes and mood swings last only for 9 months would be villainous concealing of grave facts from you. The gestation period is followed by post-partum depression wherein the mother feels a sense of anxiety, fear, guilt, hopelessness, and in some cases even develops the hatred for the child owing to drastic physical changes in her body. These feelings are nowhere close to the eternal motherly bliss that articles in magazines boast of.

 

Having said this, I do not intend that motherhood is the end. It is definitely not! It is just that the priorities change. As the child starts growing up, the mother needs to slightly distance herself away from the child so that he may have holistic mental development and so that he does not remain dependent on his mother throughout his life. This is when the corporate honcho in the mother resurfaces. People who question the competence of a woman post a break are well beyond human understanding.

The person who is raising a future CEO or a top inspiring woman in the cradle herself cannot be incompetent!

 

This is, in fact, the time when the mother can become a role model for her child by proving that the hands that rock the cradle can rule the boardroom.

Various organizations have now realized that women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently, and have, hence, come up with plans to encourage women entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur gives her the liberty to call the shots and to keep her workplace close to her residence, or even keep a room in the workplace itself for the child. Thus, they can work while simultaneously rocking the cradle.

 

Here I’d like to cite the example of Krithiga Reddy. Facebook India’s first employee, Kirthiga, has been looking after her two very young daughters since the day she actually opened the office shutters on Day 1, till the day she leads the Global Marketing Solutions teams in India and plays a key role in building and maintaining strategic relationships with top regional agencies and clients. Kirthiga has been featured in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013 and even in Fortune India’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in India. So it was while rocking the cradle that she started ruling the boardroom.

 
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Organizations have realized that the female employees are a valuable asset for the company and have therefore come up with the option of a compensatory off wherein a person can work on a Sunday and take leave on any day she desires to in lieu of it. This helps her maintain a balance between personal and professional life and she can be with the child when he needs her the most. Similar is the case with flexible working hours wherein the person can work for any 8 hours of the day. So be it the child’s visit to the doctor or maybe his PTM, the parent is always there for the child. Also, an organization with a crèche facility can swing the decision for many women on where they wish to join.

The most essential prerequisite for raising the child well is that the husband and wife support each other.

Since both have the same objective of giving maximum support and love to the child, they can opt for shift duty so that either of the parents is always there with the child.

 

Needless to say, for ruling the boardroom, one has to deal with clients who may be in some other part of the world. With the advent of modern technology, the world has become smaller and now the employee doesn’t have to go on long business tours, rather can have online conferences. This virtually facilitates maintaining a balance between personal and professional life.

 

Probably in this expensive era of modernization, it is next to impossible to choose between personal and professional life. What is required is a sense of balance between the two without shirking from either of the responsibilities —- responsibility of the child and responsibility at

What is required is a sense of balance between the two without shirking from either of the responsibilities —- responsibility of the child and responsibility at office.

With the world changing at such a fast pace, policies are also changing, and now, the hands that rock the cradle can rule the boardroom.

 
 

Tushar Priyadarshi
An engineering student who aspires to become an educationist, Tushar is a perfect blend of the arts and the sciences. He is not very good at numbers, but certainly very good with alphabets. His love for writing got him to write for the Hindustan Times. He is a Bollywood buff who dares to be different at all times.

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