Posted: 23 Oct. 2020 5 min. read

Motherhood is no child’s play

Essential lessons I learned as a brand-new working mom

I will say what many moms must have said before, “Motherhood has been the toughest role of my lifetime, more so during a pandemic.”

The current global health crisis has been hard on most people—physically and mentally. For me, along with the stresses of this pandemic, I’ve had to deal with postpartum anxiety and social isolation that come with being a new parent. All the work stress of the past seemed like a piece of cake now.

Yet, when it was time to come back to work, I was paranoid. Will I be able to perform well at work? A nagging thought that faded away thanks to the encouragement and support of my leadership and team. Work life, though, was never the same. Work had to now share space with the needs of a child, whether I liked it or not.

I don’t have a universal antidote to a brand-new working mom’s dilemma, but here is what helped me be a decently able professional, while navigating through this new phase of motherhood.

  1. Set honest expectations
    Have a straight talk with your manager before joining about your restrictions, your worries, and together plan on what works best for your situation. Once you join, keep your team members abreast of your schedules so that things can be as planned as possible.
  2. Learn to say NO
    If you cannot attend a particular meeting or cannot sit till a certain hour, or cannot find the time to help a colleague, it is OK to say NO. Prioritize on what needs your attention without compromising on your well-being. (This is a tip that will save you a lot of heartburn in life too.)
  3. Be flexible
    Every day will not be the same. An infant has their own mind and needs, and as much as we’d like, they aren’t always going to be at our convenience. Take it one day at a time and work on your to-do’s as per your child’s needs for the day.
  4. Divide and conquer
    Whether it be at work or home, ask for help to share your load. It doesn’t make you any less of a professional or a parent.
  5. Be kind to yourself
    Did you know once you become a parent, your brain literally changes? Energy spent in remembering details is now diverted to areas like intuition and empathy. So, if you aren’t able to bring your A-game to work every day, or make silly mistakes that typically you wouldn’t, know that that’s natural! With time, things get better and we find mechanisms to deal with these new changes.

If you’re still unsure of yourself, think this way—you brought a little human into this world and are raising that child day and night to be healthy and happy—all through the pressures of a pandemic—yet you show up to work (virtually) and make every effort to bring your best to your clients and colleagues. Take a bow, mama (and papa)! You’re rock stars already!

About the author

Anuradha Kumar is a manager at Deloitte Consulting India Private Limited. She works with the Internal Communications team. A journalist turned communications professional, she has over a decade of experience in Marketing & Communications across industries.

The views expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of her current, former, or future employers or any organization with which she is associated.