Gone are the days when the morning alarm for a working mother meant getting up and getting ready quickly, helping kids to dress up fast, fix their breakfast hurriedly, rushing to drop them off to schools and finally, drive to the office.
With our uninvited guest Coronavirus, the rules of routine have been rebooted. Work from home (WFH) is the new norm now. What’s more interesting is to see how the WFH arrangement is also going through the transition.
At the beginning of the lockdown, it provided an opportunity to spend ‘quality time with children’ in abundance. It seemed like an ideal situation for working mothers especially the new moms who were living in a pang of guilt for leaving their toddlers at home for work. WFH allowed them to catch up extra sleep, save travel hours, work in pyjamas, and have breakfast with the family.
But as the days prolonged, the juggle between office work and child care amplified and working moms started to find not only the loss of their routine but also missed their ‘me time’.
“It was super stressful. There was no work-life balance. It was never that at 6 pm, I could pack up and focus only on home and my children. With the homeschooling of the children and household work, my working hours were more than 13 hours. Sometimes, I tried finishing office work at nights after my kids went to bed,” shares Aparajita Bajpayee, an IT professional and a mother of two.
However, with two months down the line, moms seem to have become accustomed to working from home. More so because it gave them opportunities to get closer to their kids, be a hands-on mother and be more involved with their children’s activities.
“Being a full-time working mother has never been easy. WFH, despite its drawbacks, has allowed me to know my children like never before. I know now what exactly my daughter likes, her strength and weakness. We are much closer now. It’s worth every effort to be able to discover that,” she adds.
Similar is the story with Shrestha Das, a business development manager and mother to a one-year-old. She had returned to work after her maternity leaves just two months before the lockdown. For her, the WFH came as a blessing in disguise as she wanted to be around her child.
“For me, WFH is a mixed bag. It is a lot of work and stress. However, I am also thankful as I can see my daughter grow in front of my eyes. I could witness her first time crawling, talking. It allowed me to play with her, give her the attention she needed. No one can match this joy,” says Shrestha.
Does it mean that they now want to work from home only? Is it the ideal situation? “With the lockdown, one thing is proven that work can be performed efficiently from home as well. What companies need to consider is to provide more flexibility to allow parents to work from home. Even 30% or 40% of working from home will be great to have work-life balance,” shares Aparajita.
There are already many reports indicating that companies are rethinking their remote working policies and that the office work may not be the same as pre-Corona times.