Today marks the completion of one year of service with my current employer here in India. Today, incidentally, is also my parent's 35th wedding anniversary.
One year....seems to be such a looooong time and yet sometimes feels like it flew by. And although working in the corporate world is not new to me since that is all I have been doing the past 12+ years (ever since I graduated), this one year is much more different and unique in my mind. Coz this is the year I worked with a new personal title "working mom". And that too not in a country such as the US where most moms end up going back to work any way because they have excellent day care facilities and better work-life balance in general. But in a country like India where going back to work is much more difficult (in my mind) if you are like me who does not have a support system like parents or in-laws or an army of maids around you. Ofcourse I went back to work 3 months after my baby was born but I was in the US then and that's what everyone did. Most new moms there either found a daycare or a good nanny and didn't even consider staying at home as a viable option. Atleast not amongst the people I knew. And atleast not in the mindset I was in where career and ambition was foremost in our minds.
But things changed when we R2Ied. This was when my daughter turned exactly a year old (notice how we've been taking significant steps every one year or so?). Our move back to India kind of forced me to step back and really think....take some time out to get adjusted...help get settled...spend time with my little one and evaluate my priorities overall. And I did take almost a year to make the decision to go back to work. I remember how I was still struggling with the prospect of leaving my daughter in the hands of a maid around this time last year when this job came my way. I was not even actively looking but this very professional staffing manager was pursuing me for the current job. I remember not even entertaining his calls the first few times but finding how persistent he was piqued my interest. And I thought why not give it a shot...for this role was something close to my heart anyway. And it sounded exiting since it meant starting a whole new function in India from scratch. I was very sure I could excel in this role but equally unsure about how I would manage the child-care front here in this new city without any reliable maids as of yet or any good daycare option too. So that's how I started last year...very unsure of every step I took...constantly double guessing my decision...going on mommy guilt trips every single day for the first 5-6 months of working...hating the unreliability of maids in India or the availability of good day care centers nearby...in general really struggling to find a balance between home and work.
Until today where I can step back and marvel at how we made it through. A huuuuuuuge chunk of credit goes to my really supportive hubby who kept me going every time I faltered due to mommy guilt. And of-course also to my very very endearing, accommodating and loving little daughter who finally did understand that mommy has to go to work for her sanity and for her to be a happier person in life which in turn will help keep everyone at home happy as well :-) And I think a huge amount of credit also goes to the company I work for which is very different from many other companies in India that I have seen in terms of understanding the value of providing flexibility and good work-life-balance opportunities. I totally admire the culture they have fostered and would absolutely recommend such employers for all working moms out there.