Ever wonder why no one talks much about working dads? Men’s responsibilities certainly change in Pakistani society with fatherhood but their lives, not so much. For women, however, it’s a whole other story.
Motherhood is frankly both a blessing and a struggle, as a professional woman or as a stay-at-home mum. The challenges are manifold. After maternity leave, those of us who choose to continue working may do so for several reasons. One, because our business or income is suffering that we’ve worked so hard to build. Two, if we choose to take out years raising children and decide to rejoin the workplace later, chances are it’d be fraught with newer challenges such as starting at a lower rung of the corporate ladder.
Women don’t often shy away from challenges; we’re not ‘built’ to push ourselves hard, we do it because we don’t have much choice but to be super-jugglers and super-multitaskers. And it’s really tough and largely thankless.
First there’s the societal ‘duty’ about managing a household that we are often expected to excel at no matter what our professional responsibilities are, ensuring that everything is done adequately and on time, from groceries, laundry, meals, to cleanliness, school runs—of course, probably much less so if we live overseas where gender roles are less traditional and where fathers and husbands are expected to pitch in.
Then there’s the guilt—are we spending enough quality time with our babies and children? The answer is we all do the best we can. Imagine the benefits of our children growing up to admire us for our work ethic and doing the same with their own children in turn. We tend to be our own worst critics.
We’re expected to look lawn-ad-campaign beautiful and salon-groomed and Pilates-fit around the clock. But we need to cut ourselves some slack. We’re working professionals and mothers—we don’t need to simultaneously live Keto lifestyles with high maintenance beauty regimens and crazy private training. Baby steps—stress reducing lifestyles that we can actually manage. A yoga class would do. Some walking. Fruits and veggies and limiting sugar and processed flour. Quick clean beauty solutions like hair oil to replenish postpartum hair loss, a chemical-free makeup remover, gentle yet effective anti-ageing serum for fatigued skin, replenishing moisturiser, a body scrub for the shower after a long day at work, lavender spray to help us sleep better at night. As long as we’re eating reasonably balanced meals and using healthy organic skin care and hair care products, and getting some cardio, our bodies won’t be neglected by our high-demand lifestyles and we’ll be happier mums too.
So while we have some truly insane days—try balancing a sick child and a nursing baby and school PTMS with meetings and presentations and deadlines at work while getting round-the-clock messages and emails from the office, from school mums for multiple birthday parties, from teachers about class projects and exams, from your child’s pediatrician about pending vaccinations, from your husband about impromptu weddings to attend, and you’re truly remarkable.
We wish we could clone ourselves, we wish there were more hours in the day, we wish for so many things but we go over the hurdles and pick ourselves when we stumble and soldier on. So put your frustrations aside, get inspired, give yourself a pat on the back and hang in there—you’re not alone.
Motherhood does not necessarily make you vulnerable, especially when society and the professional spheres become increasingly supportive. For example, corporations are increasingly providing daycare facilities to retain female employees. And if you think you’ve got it hard, remember: the former PM of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, and the current PM of New Zealand, Jacinda Acern—both pregnant on the job. Australian senator Larissa Waters and New Zealander MP Willow-Jean Prime—nursing in parliament. What’s stopping us from doing it all and having it all?
We’ve come a long way.#iSupportHer