Ahh, the struggles most mommies go through to find a perfect (or even close to perfect) balance between our career, a life of our own, and our family. The three of us are in the same boat and wanted to share our individual experiences. Sheena being a stay-at-home mom, Nina a working mom and Dipti a hybrid of the two (at the moment) – we are still floored by how each of us handles our balancing act so differently. Here’s a peek into our individual situations and what works for each of us! We would love to hear which sister reflects a similar position to yours and how you have learned to embrace it.
Sheena – The Stay at Home Mom
For Sheena its all about organization and structure! Going from a full time job in the city and a husband for 7 years to suddenly having 3 little boys under the age of 15 months (two are twins) in 1.5 years, it was a complete life overhaul for her. Once the kids were born, she committed to being a full time mom, and lucky for her, she had the means to do that. It was a challenge to think about raising the children 24/7 with no time of her own. Lucky for her, hubby is a hands-on daddy and more organized than her! Although he has a more than full-time job, he has a ton of flexibility when it comes to his time and location making Sheena’s life so much easier. The key to Sheena’s success in juggling kids, her social life and her “work” which has recently started back up, is organization. After 4.5 years of only kids and family, she is finally comfortable in her schedule and life to add work back into the mix. With that being said, she has also made sure that her “work” is as flexible as possible. She is all about schedules, timing and planning ahead. She likes to make sure that if she has a social or work commitment either hubby, grandparents or the nanny is scheduled ahead of time to watch the kids. She likes to plan the week in advance whether it comes to kids activities, meals, social commitments and everything in between. It is nice for her to know that everyone involved (especially the kids) are on the same page when it comes to what the day is going to look like.
Nina – The Working Mom
For Nina its all about flexibility. Between a full time job, 2 little girls, 1 self employed hubby and a puppy, life gets hectic. So she has learned that she needs to keep EVERYTHING flexible – whether it be family commitments, work commitments, kid commitments, etc. She has figured out her own little system that works. She has a WallPop calendar in her kitchen that all family, social and personal commitments go on. This helps her remember when she needs daddy to jump in or her parents to come help out, and even when she has that one magical weekend day FREE. She also has an amazing baby sitter who comes to help her in the evenings, and believe her, she knows this is an amazing luxury. Just to have that extra set of hands is something she thinks is “worth it” in every sense. A lot of things she does with the kids will be on a whim, not necessarily planned out, and again this will happen when a pocket of time opens up. Another very lucky thing she was able to accomplish was changing her work schedule to 9am-3pm, down from the typical 9am-5pm. She is able to use her work time more efficiently and accomplish what she would have in those 2 hours, but the time she saves in life with those 2 extra hours in the day is tremendous for the whole family (saving time in commuting, free time at home for girls and puppy to chill before nighttime routine, a little extra time to run errands with girls instead of after they go to bed, etc). So all in all, in juggling all of these aspects of life, she has realized that flexibility is key. Take things in stride and all will be well.
Dipti – The Transitioning Mom
As a lawyer, Dipti spent a lot of time and effort building a career. About 10 months ago she landed a job with a big insurance company where she was doing what she dreamed of – working as a trial attorney, arguing before judges, attending depositions and handling her own cases. Soon after she started at the insurance company she found out her and Sachin were expecting their first child! As for time off for maternity, she knew she wasn’t eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) because she hadn’t been with the company for a year. She planned to take short term disability – the first 8 weeks for recovery, and then request an extension of another 8 weeks so that she would have a total of 4 months off and would feel comfortable leaving baby Diav with other care. Well, the first 8 weeks come to an end this Monday and it turns out her work will not be granting an extension of her leave. After a ton of painful research, she found that she really had no other option that allowed her to take leave. She was forced to make a decision she really didn’t want to make – whether or not to return to work with a 2 month old baby. It tore her apart to consider leaving a job she finally found her footing in. But the thought of leaving her baby boy behind at this young of an age made her sick to her stomach. It was a very tough decision for her and her family but ultimately she decided that raising her baby herself was top priority. Sure, she still struggles with the thought that taking time off her career might be a set back, but hopes that once she is ready, the transition back to a practicing attorney is as smooth as her baby’s bottom.