Women and an Ever Elusive Work-Life Balance

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The physical exhaustion and psychological stress results in a decreased motivation to lead, a decrease in productivity and an overall dissatisfaction in work that affects personal life. Shefali, who works in Punjab National Bank in Chandigarh, says she doesn’t get enough time for herself after a hectic day at work.  Juggling between the household chores, taking care of her infant and going to office, is a constant struggle.

Work life balance is the goal of many women, but even women entrepreneurs, who are into businesses, have to simultaneously run their families and the business. Ashita, an entrepreneur who has a two-year-old daughter says, “Being a mother to a kid, while running a business is very challenging as I have too much on my plate. However, there are ways to balance your time. I start my day very early so that I am able to finish a major chunk of work, before my daughter gets up”.Mompreneurs have dual responsibilities to their business and to their families and finding ways to devote time to both is the key to truly achieving that elusive work-life balance as it’s more like a see-saw.

These days even after working in the corporate world and taking up challenging roles of executives, directors, marketing professionals, IT professionals and the likes, the age old image of a woman being a home-maker has not changed much. Even if she works, comes home tired and has to leave early for office, she is expected to cook food, take care of kids and do all the household duties. Juggling between work, home, relationships and personal life deprives women of peace, rest and sleep and no wonder the stress among women is at an all-time high. A woman plays so many roles (of daughter, sister, wife, and mother) and for ages has been a multi-tasker, who raises kids and cares for everyone. She works 24*7 never complains and asks no remuneration. An ever demanding job makes life all the more tough as women are juggling between career, traveling for work, cooking, taking care of kids and family and very often neglecting personal health, passion and desires.

Another challenge for women is discrimination at work. The discrimination starts at the very level of recruitment and interview, where many interviewers see women incompetent for challenging roles and ask questions on whether women would be able to continue the job after their marriage. Sexual harassment, molestation, eve-teasing are some of the challenges working women face to their safety, life and dignity. It is not as ‘tolerable’ for a women to get home late especially after her partner, as she is expected to be home early and make sure that food has been prepared and children are fed and put to bed. Because of this, working women refuse to take on a more demanding jobs and promotions. Being the perfect wife, mother and career woman all at the same time can be really hard. It’s not easy acquiring a high rank in your career while trying to juggle other responsibilities equally well.

This is where women should understand that there is no such thing as being perfect. It is alright to outsource your household work to a maid, or to make one sabzi instead of two for their kid’s lunch. Taking it easy does work wonders and not judging oneself through the parameters of a good wife, mother or a daughter-in-law is necessary. Also, it is important to not hold yourself accountable for every task pertaining to home. Dividing the chores between the family members also helps to lessen the burden. Above all there is an increasing need for women to understand that if they take care of their happiness and health, it is easier for them to provide care to people around them.

 

Vanita Arora is based in Chandigarh. A post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, Vanita is passionate about dance, loves reading,is a travel freak, a great foody and a writer.

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