There have been volumes written about Working Indian Mothers (WIM) and the struggle they face to keep their work-life balance. I believe every WIM has had to go through the dilemma of choosing between her career and caring for her child/children. As a mother to a toddler, I too have been at the same crossroads, utterly confused, having to choose between the two.
But then there is a sect of Indian mothers who want to have the cake and eat it too! No harm in that, really, in my honest opinion. It is quite a comforting idea to be at home for your small kid(s) and at the same time continuing with your career. With work-from-home (WFH) options, many mothers can juggle work and home responsibilities, and ultimately try to achieve that mythical corporate phenomenon called ‘work-life balance’. Unfortunately, in many an instance, I have come to understand the fact that Indian companies have not yet warmed up to the idea that WIM do deserve certain flexible working options over being made to leave their jobs or bypass their promotions.
However, if you assume the WFH full time option paints a picture of a bed of roses, there are a few points you may want to consider. Having gone through a similar phase and having taken up the full time WFH option, in this post I’ll try to reason out why WFH option is not in favour of WIM.
Please note: The opinions expressed in this article are purely out of my own judgement and experiences.
1.) You may be cut off from the office
Sure, you are working in the confines of your comfort zone – your home. But WFH also means more efforts in coordination with your colleague, your subordinate, or more importantly, your boss. Since you are not physically present in the office, your boss is unable to see the effort you are putting in, even if you are working long hours and may just rely on the numbers when it comes to promotion. Eventually, colleagues may begin to suspect how much work you are really doing and may question the quantum of your efforts.
2.) You still have to find time to work
Your colleague might tell you that working from home saves you oodles of time spent in traveling, saves you the tension of office politics and the overall stress at work. But in fact you may be pressed for time with never ending domestic responsibilities. Apart from office work, you also have to give your kid(s) attention, negotiate with the maid, cook for the family and take care of the elders at home, etc. Bottom Line: You will need to separate work from chores.
3.) You may have to depend on someone
Sure, WFH may give you the leisure to put up your feet and sit in your pyjamas to work in front of your laptop, but it may not happen often. You may need to depend on your domestic help/aayah, your in-laws/parents or a babysitter/crèche to take care of your child/children. Else you may need to outsource all your mundane day-to-day activities like cooking, cleaning, washing, grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc. while you take care of your child and try to work.
4.) You may have to go to office, sometimes
Yes, your company may also include a “You should be in office as and when required” clause while allowing you to WFH full time. Which may mean dropping everything at home on short notice and leaving for office.
5.) Your family/friends may not get the concept of WFH
Once your friends and family come to learn that “you are at home all day” they might mistakenly think you have more time your hands and are more available than you are. You might get unwanted visitors, because, well you are at home.
These were my thoughts on working from home based on the experiences I’ve had. What’s your take and experience regarding being a WFH mom?
Mom to a toddler, Gauri Kamath is an avid reader, writer and pens her thoughts on her blog Survival of the Optimist. Though she holds a Masters degree in Marketing, her true passion is writing and has co-authored a book on short stories – 6 Degrees. She is based in Mumbai.