It’s Mother’s Day 2023! We’re in an age where we believe roles are not defined by gender, responsibilities are gender neutral, and everyone’s career is given equal importance at home. This may not hold true all the time, but we have certainly come a long way, though we still have miles to go before we sleep.
Or have we? To understand the ground reality we spoke to two young mothers, Viveka and Preksha. In case you missed Viveka’s story, you can catch it here. Continuing the conversation is Preksha Mangal, Director, BYJU’S Exam Prep, who just got back from her maternity leave.
“No matter how much you try, no matter how much you plan, there will always be hits and misses,” she says to new moms everywhere. Continue reading to find out what career advice Preksha has for young/expectant mothers, how she is glad she came back to work, and the support she has from her BYJU’S team and home team.
On the team’s reaction and attitude:
How did the team react when you announced that you were expecting?
With most of my colleagues being young unmarried men, I was a bit anxious as to how they would receive my news. However, I was pleasantly surprised with all the support and flexibility that I got from my team and manager. Throughout my pregnancy, I had a seamless working experience.
There were some travel requirements for one of my projects. My colleagues stepped in to support me on the travel front, which helped me continue working on this project remotely.
On support from the team:
What kind of support did you get from the team when you came back from your maternity leave?
I took an extension and joined back after 7.5-8 months, in a different business unit with a completely new team. It’s been a comfortable transition for me, and has been easy to settle in. What’s most fulfilling is that my team looks at me as a colleague who is here to make a difference and not just a new mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
On support from the family:
How has your family supported you, once your maternity leave ended and you rejoined work?
When I go to the office, my husband is working from home and vice versa. He has been a huge source of encouragement, especially when I had doubts about going back to work. He helped me get rid of my mental block, and gave me the fortitude to take this step.
This is perhaps the one time in her life that a woman really needs support and help, even if she isn’t openly requesting it. As family, friends, and colleagues, we should take it upon ourselves to be there for new mothers.
On work-life balance:
Do you think you are able to maintain a work-life balance at BYJU’S?
Before I had my baby, my weekends were mine. That was my definition of work-life balance. Today, it is about having time to spend time with my daughter and husband. And yes, I have to make an effort and plan my life around it, but I do achieve it.
In terms of work-life balance at BYJU’S, it’s always existed for me. There’s has been a strict line between my professional and personal life and my workplace has always respected that.
On the toughest part of being a mom:
What would you say is the toughest part of being a mother?
The fact that I am accountable for my child’s growth and development, whether physical, mental, or emotional is not easy to deal with. Every little choice I make today is defining her life. From what I feed her to how I engage with her. I need to make sure that my decisions are doing good by her, not just in the present, but also in the long run.
On doing things differently as a mother:
If you could go back in time and do one thing differently as a mother, what would that be?
I could have a) Reduced her dependency on me and b) Not acted on every piece of advice I got
These small tweaks would not have had any impact on my baby, but would have made my life easier.
On career advice for expectant moms:
What advice would you give expectant/young mothers on managing their careers?
Whether you choose to continue or discontinue working after having a baby, just remember that you have to live with this choice forever. Don’t decide under pressure, from family or society. If you want to take a break and spend time with your little one, so be it. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Think about what YOU want and what will make YOU happy.
Bear in mind that if you treat your career with respect, others will give it importance too. If you decide that you want to work, have an open conversation with your husband and make your expectations clear. Tell him what you need and jointly come up with a solution.
On women being asked how they juggle multiple roles:
Since time immemorial, women have been asked how they manage their kids and work, while no man is asked the same. How does that make you feel?
I understand that due to biological differences, a mother will end up doing more for the baby than the father. But while she is feeding, for example, maybe the father can pick up some other chores.
As new-gen moms, we have the power to alter the narrative. When you see young mothers around you, don’t ask them uncomfortable questions. Instead, ask how you can be of help. Similarly, when interacting with a new father, ask him how he helps in bringing up his baby.
We’ve all been conditioned to associate certain tasks with either parent, with the father taking on lesser responsibilities, but things need to change. And they are, but too slowly.
Preksha has been with BYJU’S since 2021. She has a nine-month-old girl, Prisha.
In honour of Mother’s Day, let’s look at the top 5 insights we learnt from Viveka’s and Preksha’s stories:
Do you have any interesting tales to tell about your mother? We’re all ears. Happy Mother’s Day!
(This story has been put together by Storyweaver, Neha Dua)
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.