In Lit’EdTech Fiesta episode 2, working women got together over video-conference to discuss the complex relationship between motherhood and a career. They especially took into consideration the struggles stemming from the pandemic. The pandemic has made everything reliant on technology. A weak internet connection can hinder and shape conversations as seen through this panel. Left as the only panelist, Mrs. Ahmed used her experiences to shape the discourse surrounding working mothers.
Mothers at Work
Mrs. Ahmad is the co-founder of Pakagri. As a mother of two and a working woman, she is well-versed in the conflicts and prejudices that a working woman could be subjected to. However, she looks within to find the biggest hurdle of all: that of guilt. Working mothers often face the misconceived idea that they are abandoning their children:
“As if you’re not giving enough, you know, time and effort in raising your kids, and it is most difficult to pull yourself out of this guilt”.
Further issues were highlighted not only in the domestic sphere but in the workplace as well. Networking plays a key role in the life of any career-driven woman. However, the presence of children can be a deterrent. After all, how is one expected to climb the social and entrepreneurial ladder when they have children dependent on them at every stage. It is not always that one can conjure up a support system that steps in for the mother – an aspect in which Mrs. Ahmed considers herself quite lucky.
How-to overcome the hurdles: for mothers, from a mother
However, Mrs. Ahmed swiftly shifted the discussion from the hindrances mothers face, to possible ways of overcoming them. She emphasises on the need to create a balance, and to start treating one’s children as their team partners instead of liabilities. That not only helps in teaching them certain skills, but also helps create an environment that sustains a growing independence. From teaching her children to be able to feed themselves by the age of 2, to inculcating a love for reading at a very young age- Mrs. Ahmed’s children appear to be thriving.
Moreover, in order to achieve this certain time needs to be dedicated to their initial upbringing. A key shift in mindset is required, she adds. The aim should be to become “less reactive and adopt a more problem solving mindset”. This principle must be applied in every facet either domestic or work oriented.
Time: a prioritizing game
With the emphasis placed on the opportunity cost of being a mother and a working woman, time plays an important role. Mrs. Ahmed talked much about how it does not matter how much time is dedicated to children, but rather the quality of that time.
“Being together should not only matter to the parent figure, but rather the goal should be to try to make that time matter to the kids also”.
In addition to that, being a working mother is a careful juggling act. Sometimes more attention is required for one role as compared to the other. Here the importance of prioritizing one’s time becomes relevant. Each woman must ask herself: “What is important for me?” The answer may change due to various factors. However, a failure to come to any answer at all is what would convert both, work and domestic life into a burden.
The pandemic and working mothers
The onset of COVID-19 impacted several of these factors, leading the mothers to resort to different solutions. After all, one must “always see a problem as an opportunity”. Mrs. Ahmed made the most of her time at home. It wasn’t without struggles. Her personal time had been snatched away, the kids had to get used to a drastically different routine. Everything could have very easily fallen into chaos.
However, she kept true to her principle. She stuck to her priorities at the cost of certain sacrifices. She woke up earlier to dedicate time for work, but she also utilized the time at home as an important bonding experience, keeping “the kids engaged in everything”.
At the heart of the discussion lay one important message.
“Children should not be viewed as a problem. They are not a reason to give up on a career, and must not be used as an excuse. It is a difficult task, to manage two full time jobs. But with the right mindset it reaps unbelievable benefits.”
We hope you enjoyed episode 2 of Lit’EdTech Fiesta. Stay tuned for episode 3 of LitEDTech!