MLM: Musings of a Locked-up Mother

Article by: Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Senior Manager, Media & Public Relations

It has been more than four months that all of us are settling down in the new normal. Wait, have we settled in the real sense?

For starters, let’s define the new normal.

Normal (n): The usual typical unexpected state of a house where nothing is in order and one has to walk on landmines (read: toys, pencils, erasers, newspapers, towels et al).

The Coronavirus Pandemic has ensured that all of us stay cooped up in our respective homes with our “loved” ones. The days or even the nights have been blurred into one. Don’t even get me started on my attempts to leave my loved ones at my house to disappear in an atmosphere called “The office”! An office that was a platform for “me-time”, conversations both meaningful and casual with real people in the real world, and much more!

The new “normal” has ushered in an era for working moms where social distancing is practised externally, but inside the houses, children are yet to discover the meaning of the phrase. They are in constant touch with us and we cannot report to the authorities. By the way, my 8-year old daughter popped in some 10 times as I completed the first three paragraphs of this article. That’s the first layer of MLM – Musings of a locked-up Mother!

The new “normal” has ensured that there is no morning rush to pack multiple dabbas. But the working mothers have learnt to feed their children three meals and some 500 snacks in a day! We have even got innovative with our culinary expertise. We serve “red kidney beans cooked in rich tomato gravy with exotic spices on a flat bread”. And, there is tamarind infused hot & sour sauce boiled in home-ground spices served with fried chips as entrée. We cook a large quantity of something hoping that it lasts for the next meal only to find the pot empty in one meal. Is this what they call, One Pot One Shot cooking?

The other layer of lockdown days is discovering the Savage mom in me. In the first quarantine month, my family comprising two kids and a husband had what I called as “choice day”. So, each of them savoured their favourite dish every day. In the fourth Quarantine month, they still are provided with choices. This time it is simple – Take it or Leave it!

Yes, this is that layer of Covid-19 that no one is talking about! Scheduling grocery delivery for the next day on an online store feels like a celebration now. Not to mention that the delivery man is the most anticipated guest in our house.

They say, necessity is the mother of all inventions or termed the “Jugaad” in this part of the world. So, making use of the “social distancing” era, I tried a few jugaads too on inventing home-made anti-corona medicines, thanks to the Whatsapp university. But none of my inventions could go pass the first phase of trials, as my human guinea pigs ghosted me on those critical trial days.

I never imagined myself in a position of providing my children with their education. In the new stay-at-home days. I have mastered the art of conducting tests, finishing their classwork as well as homework (is there a difference?) and not scream at the insane hours of sitting up late to dole out school worksheets. 

And, finally I had the Mother of all Revelations. When the enforced lockdown began, I promised myself to stick to my workout routine, or the least (note this word) maintain a diet that would if not anything else help curb my weight gain. With the endless washing, cooking, chopping, stirring up a green salad is an added item in the menu. The phrase, “healthy food” has flown out of the kitchen window replacing with “Stick-to-me” type of items. It would be a “medical miracle” if I don’t weigh 10 kgs more than what I did Before Corona!   

Finally, the Pandemic has taught us an important lesson – both Mothers and Fathers are at present facing a re-organization of both work and care-giving time at home. While working mothers are actually busy integrating work and life, fathers are busy too lending their hands in their Whatsapp groups. No offence meant, there is a huge population of men out there who genuinely have begun to help their women folk at home. The Pandemic is likely to change the age old Patriarchal mindsets in Indian homes. This in the long run will (hopefully) have a positive effect on the productivity of both men and women professionals in a Post Pandemic world, if I may say so.


FIVE RITUALS THAT WOULD BE USEFUL FOR WOMEN POST COVID-19

Article by: Shobhika Ramanathan, Associate Research Analyst

There is a powerful saying by Eleanor Roosevelt which reads as, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”. The situation in which we are living now is exactly the HOT WATER phase for all and especially for women. It is for her to decide that whether she is going to come out as a cup of refreshing hot tea or just remain soaked.

Women are said to be stronger than men generally because of owning the ability to come out of any situation sooner. But without action words are just ‘words’. The current situation is just a testing phase for everyone. To come out of this is to leave the ‘fear’ which rests in us. It is left to us that whether we ‘compete’ against them or to ‘submerge’ in them.

Nobody would have even dreamt that the start of a new decade would be a bag of surprises – not a good one though. Due to this pandemic, there has been a terrible drop in the economy with many companies actually opting for recession. Jobs are now accompanied by a bad friend – ‘Insecurity’. All women are ‘Left and Right Handed Batsman when it comes to the game of life’. Wondering why? Compared to men, they are to manage both their life at home and life at work with equal concentration, without which a Home would just be a House. This time is hard for men but even harder for women.

 There is a ‘New Normal’ waiting for us ahead of this pandemic. Life would never be the same like before. There would be many changes in the work environment after this disaster. For men, they can adjust to their routine provided but for women, certain things can be tough. Thus, they must have a new plan for their daily work.

Let us see the new 5 rituals that will suit HER to abide by, after this COVID period subsides.

Home Is the New Office

All around the world, there are many organizations that have started to provide many policies for women i.e. flexible work from home – She can decide the time of work for the day. Already saddled with her office work, household chores, and childcare, she is already powered down. But since this situation is going to prevail for a little longer, this puzzle has to be solved soon. Better Sooner than Later! Gear Up!

Ask For Help

Do not hesitate to ask for help or even do one. Wherever possible, extend help to your family, co-workers, teams, and the community at large. The world knows that you have more burden in your shoulders. You can also share your work if it is too much to handle. Have a word with your manager/boss whenever you feel stuck. When your time is tough, remember there is always another person in your life to share it with.

Exercise to Energise

Dear ladies, it is important to first take care of yourself. Take nutritious food and try to exercise at least half an hour to be in-line with your day. Energise your fellow mates around you. Be Positive, Spread Positivity!

Resilience Is the New Mantra

Being resilient is itself a solution. It is true that no-one on earth predicted or were ready for this pandemic. Attaching to the feel of panic does not make this better. It is through these times that you can discover yourselves to be strong. Get back to your childhood! Remind yourself of your hobbies and do those while you are out of track. Be in contact with your colleagues and chit-chat to get relax you mind. It is OK to feel low… provided you BOUNCE BACK soon!                         

Time Table Should Be On Table

You might have come across this – “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Yes! It is important that you manage your time in the right way. Take a pen now. List all the things in 2 separate lists. Things that you want and things you need to do for the day. Sort them out and figure out a final list with timings mentioned beside it. “Stick to the plan” and start your day. It is not the time which decides your start of the day, it is you who should decide it. Anytime can be your start point. So if you are not on track now, pick up your Time Table and get set for your day!

Do not worry about the situation that you are facing now. Do your job right and every other thing will fall in its place. Another famous quote reads – “The Greatest Job Security Is Performance”. Do remember that. Let us not turn back but look forward to a better future with the help of an optimistic sight!

“She was powerful not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly, despite the fear.” – Atticus.


Covid and Stress: A three-angle view

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Having a positive mentality helps. And that is what makes us enjoy the quarantine trolls and lock down day – xy cooking. It also helps us stay away from all the fear and worry the Pandemic had unleashed. Among the umpteen chapters that Covid has opened, the dangerously active one is stress. It was all a merry phase until the boredom leapt into loneliness and anxiety. And that leads to what can be called a pandemic syndrome.

One thing we all need to understand is that quarantine doesn’t mean something just for ‘you’. The entire globe has been put on hold for achieving a complete recovery. However, it is an understandable fact when someone loses their conscience when the situation goes topsy-turvy. And when you watch the events happening around, the tension tightens, making you vulnerable and unable to access a calm mind, even though you are familiar with the fact that you are not in it alone, but together with all the people around the world. This helplessness, fortunately, can be cured with some ‘social medications’.

The boss’ say:

There is never a better chance to unveil that withheld caring approach from the masquerading tough tone. Or sometimes you may be their ‘boss buddy’ already. And so, this is the perfect time to let your employees know that you are the leader who shows the way. The condition the pandemic has exposed has a predominant effect on the work one does. This overlapped by loneliness will affect their stability, in turn making them lose their mind. More screen time with less physical interaction makes them equivalent to machines. And to add on, the economic transformation that they think is going to affect them mostly. So, they think it is work their comfort bubble, which voluntarily makes them feel the need to work longer hours to hit the boredom. This not in long-term effect, but a very short span effect that can affect them adversely.

As a boss, your commitment during these testing times should be to extend your hand to relieve your employees from the social isolation paranoia. The only thing you may need to do is listen. You are dealing with an anxious person who is anticipating a doubtful career and future. Be the compassionate guide who assures only positivity. Ask them to not overwork and suggest spending time on their hobbies or likes. If they hear this from their boss’s side, there needs no other assurance for them to lean on to normalcy. On the other hand, it is also important to watch out for yourself. Engage with your counter-partners to gauge the different approaches or measures you could take. And, if you think there is a lot on your plate, it is advised to get professional help. Only prevention helps, not avoidance.

To the double-duty warriors:

You are doing a wonderful job. With schools closed and child-care facilities locked down, one can imagine the tiring weekdays of yours. Kudos! To each and every one of you.

Studies confirming psychological challenges to rise-up for working parents post Covid, it is imperative that you take certain measures to curb it before it intensifies. As the pressure on working parents is certainly huge when compared to other professionals, the first measure should be to compare your work with your own strength. It is easier to commit to extra hours when you see your counterpart doing it who has fewer responsibilities. But, take a look around before you commit to any new assignments. It is also a blessing that most of the organizations and managements understand and cope up with the pandemic struggles specially for the working parents – especially for working mothers. So, communicate your challenges, get the achievable target in hand, and commit yourself to complete that with all your potential.

Another challenging part of your routine is to handle kids. You cannot complain as they are also restless as us, as not being able to run around outside and meet their friends is an option now. So, deal with them politely and ensure to involve in game nights and movie nights at least twice a week. Activities and getting involved like how they like it will make you the star and make them happy as well.

The pro-view:

Studies have already confirmed the aftereffects of the pandemic on the mental stability of professionals. So, it becomes crucial to note the essential measures to avoid any adverse conditions that may come up – especially for working parents.

Some useful hacks:

Self-analyse your potential: Quarantine days have unleashed a ‘workaholic wave’, which was a voluntary action of many professionals to prove their potential to their managers. What one needs to know is to ensure the tasks in hand is manageable. Know that you are working the same amount, in fact, more than what you used to do while in office.

Family face-time – A must-do: Social distancing is to keep you away from the virus. A five-minute call with your family can help release a lot of stress that has been accumulated in. In the case of working parents, your children will build the special bond with their grandparents, given their limited access to interact with their class buddies and other routine games which they used to play with neighbours.

Consume healthily:  A major threat to any disease is nutritional food. If you are not aware, know that your body has a self-healing power. And the best treatment for both your physical and mental stress is to eat good homemade food.

So, that’s all folks – essential but simple hacks that could help you during this uncertain time. You are the essential part of your life and so ensure you take care of yourself. Stay healthy, stay safe.


Two Stories: Ambition and Choice

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Women. A word that carries umpteen meanings and incredible potential. A self-made piece of art that refracts colourful strands in various forms as strength, knowledge, beauty, courage, and whatnot. Framing the capabilities of a woman together itself is a gargantuan task for the tremendousness of it. Rather than opting for a descriptive format, here are stories of two different women, whose lives took a U-turn towards the side of accomplishment.

An ideal figure is the one whom we look forward to. There is an ideal daughter, the ideal teacher, an ideal character, etc. Most of us are taught to learn from someone who has been successful or accomplished something in their lives. Most Indian parents usually asks to look at how a neighbour’s child performs: “Look how Rashi is studying. She always comes first in class and never goes out with those crazy friends of yours every evening. Why can’t you be like her?!” Just a typical parental response. It must not be new to anyone. Have any of these parents wondered what their daughter or son has that Rashi doesn’t? No. There is no proven data as such but mothers are often seen on the judgement bench and measuring her child in comparison with the neighbour’s child. Neha, who was a victim of this torment once lashed back at her mother. For nothing else but to establish her interest in Arts and not Science. Anyone who has gone through the trouble can predict the aftereffects of this. Yes, it was like the end of the world…!

It was a busy morning, and Rashi was never more exhausted. Her kid had lost his pencil box and husband his belt. After the tireless effort – searching and finding, Rashi finally made it to the kitchen for wrapping up the tiffin boxes for both her kid and husband…

One might wonder how sadistic the author is. One story idealizes Rashi and the next thing she is tirelessly working towards the happiness of her new family. We knew from the previous story Rashi’s potential and how the neighbours envied her talent in studying. Hard or not, this is sometimes the reality. Rashi was a brilliant student at school. She never gave a chance to upset her parents with any of the struggles concerning her studies. She battled through to become a software engineer. Soon after into the job, she was married to a banker and had to give up her hard-earned career which her parents wanted for her. Not long was her journey from a corporate building to her in-law’s. Strangely uncomforting, she sailed through anyway.

…Soon, they were out of the house for confronting their daily actions. Rashi, having done with all house chores, sat in front of her laptop eager to check her inbox. A former software engineer turned food vlogger; she was a hit online. She is finally happy with her choice of career and is looking forward to expanding her brand. Her loving husband kindled the path to this, and now she is content with her life and choices.

An ally is what some people miss. If you find yours, call yourself lucky, like Rashi. Or sometimes like in the case of Neha, you need to put your foot down on establishing and going forward with your ambitions. Here, Rashi’s ally was her partner.

…! Neha was grounded for the rest of the week. She was not allowed to go out and play with her friends and all her watercolours, oil pastels were confiscated. Her table, which used to be an artist’s palette turned out to look more like an apothecary table, only with books. But she was a tough little bird, which her mother realized late. She protested, sat hungry, fell sick until she got back her things.

A few years down the lane, she is now a professor at one of the renowned art institutions in the world.

Intention and perseverance work hand-in-hand. If you lack either one of it, you may not reach where you actually want to. Neha was intentional. She knew what she wanted from the beginning and pursued it later in her life. And in the case of Rashi, though a little later, she also landed in a position which she realized at a later point in life.

It is up to us to decide whether these stories are fictional. What we mostly wonder or get mesmerized is for something which we do not have in us. Fortunate or unfortunate, sometimes there are people who are ambitious for us more than ourselves. Without giving a second thought to any of our likes or dislikes, they decide for us what is best. Take the cases of Rashi and Neha. They tried hard to cope up with their parents’ will. Rashi succeeded and made them proud, and Neha rebelled.  As an individual, what we need to understand is that we are brought up in different circumstances, narrowed choices and unknown ambitions. But, when you realize that something is missing and you really want it, pursue it. And if you are a parent who could relate your actions with the instances in the stories, it’s high-time you sat down for a talk with your kids. Sometimes there will not be someone like Rashi’s husband to show one the path. So, who better than a parent or an immediate family member to support and acknowledge the strength of their dear ones and lead them to the path of success? And who better to stand for one’s dream than oneself? A well of potential is hiding beneath all of us – to be an ally, to achieve heights of success. A diamond was also just a stone once. Unveil your worth.


Keeping up with an extended family

Article by: Murugeswari Natarajan, Associate Manager-Diversity Hiring

Like every woman, my marital life had started with pleasant expectations and beautiful dreams. From day one, the relationship with my in-laws was working out well. Being a retired working woman herself, my MIL who I endearingly call, Amma understood my hardships as a professional. Having said that in the later years, I have encountered many conflicts with my mother-in-law, like everyone else. Over time, I have learned to endure. In due course, I realized that this is nothing but my insecurity. It’s part of all our lives. It is surprising that we easily understand the insecurities that others suffer from, but it takes time for us to understand our insecurity.

If we try to identify the insecurities and overcome those, many problems can be solved in advance.

1.      Creating a healthy network

2.      Working out more on your passion

I have learned to do both of these.

As I had mentioned earlier, I perceived the notion that my mother in law was insecure. In the following days, a series of bitter incidents caused me to lose my patience. I sunk into a grave of darkness. And the darkness gradually increased post my delivery. I believe it was ‘Postpartum Depression’. Immediately, a few people around me rose the question of us living as a nuclear family. Yet, I was determined to live with an extended family. Because, in the days that followed, my baby needed support.

During this turbulent phase, my husband offered me a piece of curt but practical advice. He said, “You need to know who you are as a person. Prioritize your aspirations. Building a relationship takes time and effort so don’t hold unnecessary grudges”. His advice pushed me into a new direction of life. I realized that my insecurities and conflicts have affected my overall intention. I decided to work on myself thoroughly. This was one of the main reasons for my early return to work post-maternity.

The solutions I devised for myself were to cleanse my network and spot the supportive relationship to be sustained for the long term. And, the second one was to work out more on my passion. So as planned, I started to keep a check on my network regularly. I have a belief that if we have positively strong supporters in our network, we will be cheerful and will automatically move forward. If you feel uneasy in your relationships or alarmed by people who possess a toxic mentality, get rid of them immediately.

In the personal front too, I adopted a few goals. The first step that I took was to split the duties among everyone in the house. As soon as I figured out what our priorities are, I sat down, set goals, and made plans to maintain the course. I had chalked out individual goals as well as couple goals in terms of our Health, Career, and Finance. So, we have 5 members in my home including my kid. We have 5 personal goals for each and a family goal. The goals we fixed for ourselves gave us success in subsequent years. I always design a family goal that depends on everyone’s responsibilities, it can be achieved only by every member’s co-operation. So we have made the plans intertwined and transparent. At present, the couple’s goal has changed into a family goal. For example, if a family faces a financial crisis, the entire family needs to be attentive in cooperating. In other words, we as a group have transformed our lifestyle slowly instead of trying to work hard to change everyone’s attitudes individually. This transformation has provided us with a lot of time to converse with my family, allows us to listen to each other, and above all, my little one is nurtured in love with her grandparents. Being a working mother I make all the decisions with confidence along with their experienced inputs. We are flattered when our kith & kin appreciate that we drive a family perfectly with ethics.

You can’t get what you want unless you envision it. Give yourself the space to dream what you want. Today’s women prefer to raise their children with grandparents rather than leaving them in kindergarten/day school (until and unless the situation suggests otherwise). This is a good sign. If you learn to accept the challenges, I assure you that your growth will be tremendous in the extended family. Let’s go back to the extended family culture to make our homes a haven.


Corona or Dalgona?

Article by: Athira Premarajan- Research and Content Development Associate

You know how it works. Fresh today and gone tomorrow. That’s the pace of social media trends. There was a time when a ‘winking beauty’ from Kerala, took over the social space of the entire world. Though it stayed for a little longer than anticipated, it was long forgotten the very next week! Now trending are the frothy Dalgonas. This will forfeit too. So will the Corona.

Rising to the challenge is not new to any human being. We have learned to survive the odds even during the hardest of times. Journeying through the most unprecedented times of the century, we are slowly regaining our world step-by-step. In this process, the role of technology in leading us is huge. It has opened the window of possibilities and opportunities – Learning from home, cooking from home, celebrating from home, invoking from home, working from home, et. al. Among this, the popularity, reach and requirement of ‘remote working’ or ‘work from home’ concept tops the list.

Though it was already in the scene, remote working had not gained limelight until recently. The social stigma that sustained with remote working was long gone within a couple of days since the outbreak. Although, it is sad that a pandemic had to teach us the vast possibilities of the different tools and products made by humankind. Anyway, better late than never! This opportunity has proved the world – both employers and employees, the availability of alternatives. This has made a huge impact in the lives of millions of women – who are trying for a job with flexibility, who has requested for flexible working hours, and for those of who wants to balance familial duties and earn, working from home. Now, just to list out the benefits, how has this window of opportunity given the women workforce a breath of fresh air? Let’s find out!

Time for Dalgonas (*wink*):

Working moms often are seen working tirelessly towards bridging the gap between her kids and her motherly duties. This unexpected vacation has given her round-the-clock chance to bond with her kids, dishing out their favourite snacks and of course, the trending Dalgonas!

Update and Upgrade:

Skill building is an essential aspect of any business. In lieu of the time spent on travelling, working moms can now focus on upgrading skills and knowledge from the vast ocean of courses, webinars and workshops available online.

Multi-tasking and Crisis management at its peak:

Going through sibling crisis is a more complicated task than even the pandemic, a mother would agree. Not saying this would give her a certification but, surely does this innate talent helps in her everyday tasks, especially in her work. Prioritising also falls under this.

Better Control of Finances:

With online services shut, travel expenses hitting zero, and complete home under control, financial matters have never been so much easier. The cognitive capability of women takes a new spin every time while planning the week, accurately listing the requirements, which again benefits them in their work to better plan and process.

In the Comfort of Home:

Productivity is never better when you work from home. Believe it or not, it is proven as well as approved! Nothing better than the comfort of one’s home to concentrate and get creative.

Women are the masters of handling situations. Be it at home or away. In the era where we are proceeding with our baby steps to incorporate AI in every field, our world is not far away in reaching the sci-fi imaginations. Women, nevertheless, we can all agree, are beyond imaginations – their strength, capability, discipline and perseverance, most of which are her innate qualities.

Though the scenarios may differ than what is mentioned above, with the lack of domestic aid and online food services, we sure can find time for doing our favorite hobbies or learning new things. Understand that no one has their day planned accurately. Pull out one hour from those lazy evenings or preferably weekends, to rejoice and explore what you loved doing or what you always wanted to do. Look at the brighter side and make use of this unexpected vacation to procure expected and productive outcomes.


Quarantine life: 21 fun tasks for 21 days

India is now under 21 days of lock-down. A hopeful and a precautionary step to protect us from the deadly pandemic. Enough has been discussed and written about the virus, so let’s not embark on that journey. Instead, we can plan and transform these 21 days into something exciting as well as apply it as a stress-free therapy for working parents.

Apart from the daily routine work of child-rearing and household tasks in collaboration with office duties, working parents can opt to do these 21 fun tasks for the next 21 days. Let’s begin-

Day 1- Play indoor games

Board games are a savior. If you don’t possess any, then try dumb charades or Pictionary. Hide & seek is another viable option. Family games are absolute fun!

Day 2- Clean your house plants

With the amount of pollution that we survive in, it’s natural for a household to host indoor plants. Take out some good time and clean those greens. Parents can involve their kids in this activity. It will bring them closer to nature.

Day 3- Cook together

Whether it’s fixing a snack for the kids or making dinner (keeping in mind the limited availability of resources), make sure you do it as a couple. These small moments will offer you both a chance to chat and reminisce about your best moments together. In urgent times as such, couples need to be at their best partnership.

Day 4- Read books

In this digital world, kids making it a habit to read books is like a breath of fresh air. Parents can lead the way by reading together with them before bedtime.

Day 5- Organise a movie night

This is everybody’s favorite. A weekend movie marathon with family is always a good idea.

Day 6- Give the physical activity a roll

Spread out the yoga mats and spend quality time stretching your body to give the rest it deserves. With meditation, your tired mind will open up and offer more space to fresh thoughts.

Day 7- Explore ways to save money

With the grappling economy scenario, it is inevitable for couples to discuss and devise methods to maintain the budget and save money.

Day 8- Conduct a family photoshoot

The lockdown has forced people to be indoors. That means everyone in the family is home. So now it can be a good time to get dressed and pose for the perfect family picture.

Day 9- Call up family and friends

Getting to know that everyone you love and care for is safe is definitely the best feeling in the world. So take this quarantine period as an opportunity to call up long lost friends or face time with your extended family. This gesture will impart positivity and radiate immense love among all of you.

Day 10- Watch travel vlogs

Maybe it’s going to take some time to check off your family travel bucket list, but no worries. Watch interesting travel vlogs on YouTube. It can also serve as a learning tool for kids.

Day 11- Spread the joy of color

Kids love colors. So why don’t you let them get messy in their attempt to do something creative? An empty canvas and a box filled with colors are all you need. Let their imaginations flow. Parents try it too. It’s therapeutic!

Day 12- Dance your heart out

What else can be more relaxing than dancing your stress out? Put on some fun music, gather your kids, and let your body sway to the rhythm.  Also, it can be a helpful tip to put your hyperactive children now tired because of the dance party to bed on time.

Day 13- Scrub and mask

Homemade packs and scrubs work wonders on our bodies. But in situations of no access to ingredients, you just need lukewarm water and a loofah. A home spa day is an ideal idle time.

Day 14- Host an English tea party

Sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be a literal garden tea party. Spending a simple but cozy evening with the elders of your family and talking over a cup of chai is a good way to keep boredom at bay.

Day 15- Start a debate

No, we are not talking about picking up a fight. A healthy conversation with your partner on a trending topic apart from the global pandemic is what we meant. Each of you can bring to the table varied POV of the same story. It can be a ritual to keep yourself updated with the world.

Day 16- Tell bed-time stories

Kids nowadays can be least expected to know about the two great Indian epics- The Mahabharata and The Ramayana. With the fast-moving times, parents also lost track of time to make their children familiar with the stories. But now is the time! Bed-time stories can be the passage for the kids to enter into the world of fascinating Indian tales.

Day 17- Do some spring cleaning

One piece of furniture or one room at a time but begin the long-overdue spring cleaning.

Day 18- Learn the name of all your kid’s friends

This is a valid task that we tend to ignore. But your kid’s friend circle tells a lot about your child. Also, your interest to know your kid’s friends will excite your kid too. The more kids you have, the more names you need to remember.

Day 19- Keep a journal

This is an unprecedented time in our history. So make it a habit to keep a journal to record your day to day activities. Your kids can do the same too. They can draw out their feelings if too young to write. This will help them document their lives in a national emergency and remain as a reminder as they grow up.

Day 20- Do nothing

Don’t push yourselves too hard. Living in quarantine can be difficult but not impossible if you stay calm. So on a certain day pause, and take a break. No activities. No hustling. Just your family and you being thankful and mindful of Mother nature.

Day 21- Remain positive

Last but not least, don’t forget to make the list of stuff you are going to do with your family once this is over.

SOMEDAY OR OTHER IT WILL ALL COME TO AN END.


In times of Corona: A working mother’s guide to remote working

Coronavirus outbreak, now declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, is taking the world by storm. Every age group, every gender, and every profession from around the globe is hit by this severe disease. Hand washing is a daily ritual. Social distancing is the mantra to live by. A large public gathering is an offense. Educational institutions are on standby. And working from home is the new normal.

As we can witness the dynamic shift in everything because of the global adversity scenario, couples are also making tough decisions on how to divide their share of unpaid labor. In solution, the lives of a large sum of working mothers are not the same anymore. The kids are at home. The elderly have been confined to indoors. The house help and baby sitters have been sent away on paid leave fearing the risk of contagion. And the working mother is unconsciously left to deal with taking care of the kids, combating this infectious disease to ensure her family is safe with the equal focus of meeting the deadlines at work. In addition to that, the majority of social and health workers comprises of women. They are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, thus, putting them at a greater risk of getting infected.

Coronavirus might bring out the ugly side of gender equality. Couples might suddenly find themselves caught in the argument of who is going to be a breadwinner and who can play the role of a homeworker. Instead of a hard core debate on equality, let’s think and devise the solutions to streamline a woman’s daily routine.

  • Reject the work-life balance myth

First and foremost, it’s only fair if we agree that we can’t have it all. Work and life don’t have to be a tug of war. Instead, develop a synergy between the two and bridge the guilt gap when you have to unplug. It is Work-Life integration like no other time.

  • Set a consistent morning routine

Make a to-do list. Schedule your tasks with a proper timeline. Easy to say and easier to do. The hardest tasks on your to-do list should be completed as when you feel the sharpest and focused.

  • Engage your kids in an activity

Before you sit down to officially begin your work, keep your kids busy with some interesting – craft or puzzle activity. This can also act as letting your kids know that you are in a ‘do not disturb’ mode. While cutting down screen time is healthy, allowing them one while you wind up an important meeting is the smart way to do it.

  • Get on the same page with your partner

Just like you brainstorm ideas in a conference room, in a similar manner use your living room to formulate a game plan with your parenting partner to share the responsibilities of child care and housework. The best example: alternate shifts with your partner if he’s working from home too.

  • Ask for help

It takes a village to raise a child. So asking or taking help from a family member or a friend is not a sign of weakness. In times of Corona, just be cautious of the hygiene habits of the individual taking care of your kids. The same goes for relying on a colleague to help with your project if you are away handling mother duties.

  • Communicate

It’s mandatory to be transparent to your co-workers about your necessity to meet your kid’s needs. In between video conferences, it’s suitable to give the other person a heads up on your work from home environment.

Times are difficult. But this shall pass if the best of human nature can rise to the challenge. Your kids and your parents are the ones who need the utmost care during this time. So even with the lockdown and the pressure of working from home, savour the small moments with your kids and the elderly. Take timely breaks, and have a hearty chat with them. Boost their immunity (don’t forget yours). Sanitize at regular intervals.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Likewise, in this hassle of work-life integration, your family’s well-being is the silver lining. Because in times of Corona, you need your loved ones to be safe more than a pat on your back for being a superwoman.


Bringing back the fun in summer vacation (Summer Series)

By Chaitali Shroff, Parent Coach, Social Emotional Learning Educator

We can’t escape the sweltering summer but let’s not sweat about summer vacation. All kids look forward to their summer vacation, and summer vacations are tough for the parents. With temperature soaring high outside as well inside the home!! Kids getting bored at home …Watching TV endlessly…Fighting big time…Troubling grandparents or care taker etc. The list goes on and on. Parents are busy at either home or work.

How do parents navigate these tough tides and ensure that they swim well at both home and office. Small things make a World of difference.

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Mother’s Day Series – In Conversation with a Working Mother (Part 3)

Article by: Kanakadurga Ramani, Manager – Consulting Services at Avtar with Dr. Suja.M.K. – Associate.Professor & Chairperson, Department of  Social Work, Amrita  Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore.

1. Please tell us about yourself, your passions and dreams.

I am very passionate about my profession that is Social Work. At 50 my dream is to help people especially women and adolescents come out of their mental barriers and short comings to live their life to the fullest. All they need is a little push.

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