Am I a superwomen or do I aspire to be one someday? I would say most women aspire to be a ‘Superwomen’ when they are juggling multiple jobs to the best of their abilities. As women, we want to be Super in everything we do. We usually want to stretch beyond what we are doing to go a step forward to being a Super Mom, Super Spouse, Super Daughter, Super Employee. However, how much can you devote to each of these pursuits with limited time & energy? How do you prioritize? Your decisions about allocating your personal time and energy ultimately shapes your life’s trajectory.
All of us want to have a rewarding relationship with our spouse, raise great kids, contribute to our parents (in laws / siblings), succeed in our careers and so on. In this unending pursuit of seemingly contradictory ends, our hobbies and interests , perhaps take a back seat. How can we make everyone else around us happy, when we ourselves are not contented ?
Being a working parent, I have had to juggle and play multiple roles as any one of you. However, balancing my priorities, calling for support & not trying to do everything myself has helped me immensely.
Here are a few simple tips that have helped me so far …
What’s important Now. Your work , family and yourself are all equally important. But you have to decide what is most important at each point in time - what can you afford to ignore for the time being and who or what you needs you the most. You may need to take time off from work to attend a school meeting. Similarly, when there is some work pressure, you may decide to skip a family function. Decide which should take precedence by determining the importance of each situation, and then stick by the decision you have made.
Integrate Work and Life. All of us have periods of high and low pressures at work. Obviously, when the work pressure gets high, we feel guilty of not able to give time to the family. Use the times of low work pressure to make up for that. Leverage long weekends and go for short breaks with the family and cut off from work completely.
Schedule your Day. Ensure that there are clear time slots and once you are at work, you are there 100% and same for when you are at home. Several times, we are inclined to carry home to work and vice versa – muddling our focus.! This may also mean learning how to say "no" , if you are asked to stretch at work too often. Same way at home, when you may be expected to handle all the chores.
Stop Stereotyping. It’s not just the society around women, but women also who stereotype themselves. So, there are typical “ women’s chores”, that we believe need to be done by women. Change your mindset and involve your Partner. Work and home balance should be respected by both parties in order to be successful and both have an equal role to play. Yes, luckily , the men folk are also playing a larger role in our homes today.
Invest in yourself. Don’t ignore your personal needs and nurture them. Whether it’s going to the salon, catching up with what’s happening in the world, watching a film, listening to music, reading a book or pursuing a hobby and focus on your own health needs. Safeguard your “Me” time.
Create Support systems. Whether its family or otherwise. Don’t try to do everything yourself and outsource what can be done even without you. And don’t be ashamed of it.
Men and Women alike have their own personal challenges , but how we deal with them differs. Most importantly – breaking the mold in our own minds on what the societal roles for each of the genders are , how we appreciate each other’s issues and support each other to be truly symphonic is key - whether it’s within a family or the extended family – the organization.
And remember – even Super Man is only fictional
Wishing you all a very Happy Women’s Day
Sucharita Palepu is the Global Head - People Policies & Practices, Tech Mahindra