Abhrekha Jain has become something of a counselor for women at her workplace. Born in Udaipur, she is now a senior software analyst in a multinational based in Mumbai, where she moved 10 years ago.
“Soon after my wedding, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. My husband stuck by me through that difficult period, and that’s when I realized developing a relationship in an arranged marriage takes time but one mustn’t give up,” says the vivacious 30-something, adding that they are now equal partners in every sense.
Women come to her for not just professional but also personal advice, and the mother of two has plenty to say. “I have a friend who wasn’t able to find work,” narrates Abhrekha. “She was in a difficult marriage. I noticed she had a creative streak so I encouraged her to study art. She now knows 10 types of painting techniques, conducts classes and motivates other women. And now her husband frames her paintings and shows them off.”
Abhrekha shares some advice for working mothers:
Recognize your talents and worth. See what qualities you have and then capitalize on them. “We are all good at something; focus and highlight those aspects of yourself.”
Many women give up work in favour of housework after the children are born but you must keep yourself occupied in a constructive way. Keep working even if you have to do it from home, “otherwise you will rust”.
Spend quality time with your children after office hours, and outsource all other work. Use technology to save time.
Working mothers have to be strong and clear-headed. Sometimes, you have to choose between workplace demands and a sick child at home. Without quick, mature thinking, you will never be able to make the correct decision in a panic situation.
Accept whatever goodness you have around you and count your blessings. Don’t pick fights but don’t succumb to them either.
Take time out for yourself every day. Have a hobby, but don’t depend on anyone for it.
Don’t seek happiness outside of yourself. You don’t need an international vacation or a high-flying job to be happy, you can be happy under any circumstance. “I have seen happy housewives and unhappy corporate leaders,” says Abhrekha. It all depends on your outlook.
Be courageous and teach your children to be courageous. “Even if my child falls off a swing, I make him get back up again.” Fight fear.
Be a good human being. “Everything else follows after that.”