Lessons from Aikido and how inadequacy is all in the head

GUEST POST: BY BINU SIVAN

You think you would have outgrown it! After all 42 years of age is old enough to know better. But a couple of days ago I realised that no matter how much time has touched someone’s life, certain things never change.

Let me add a bit of background here.

I quit working, as in with a company, for a monthly pay cheque, about 5 years ago. Since then, I have tried to survive as a freelancer. Having a husband who supports my love for writing and foots the bills helps for sure. But I take my job as a freelance writer for publications and PR firms seriously. Then yesterday I had to go for a meeting in relation to a new long-term freelance writing and editing gig. This basically means I am assured some money every month as a freelancer. This was my first meeting with these folks who will be sending work my way for the next year.

After 5 years of not being answerable to anyone, I was back. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement. I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted them to realise that I am really good at what I do and hell, they are lucky to have me on board. I wanted to be good enough to be on board. I wanted to impress. I wanted to crawl into a cave. I did not want to go. I wanted to call up and cancel and then plan what to cook for dinner and maybe work on chapter 5 of my novel.

I have been a writer pretty much all my working life… that is 20 plus years… with magazines, newspapers, websites, film companies, TV companies and whatnots. When I am not writing to earn my bread and butter, I am writing poems. I am writing stories and even blog posts. And all the time, I am writing to unravel my thoughts. Many a times I have sat down in front of a blank journal, my brain racing a mile a second, my heart close behind, and feeling stressed, anxious and well, inadequate in the face of life. But if someone were to ask me what the problem was, I would be left floundering, trying to pin down the elusive source of my unease but getting nowhere. It is a lot like those faint outlines of a tree that you see on a fog covered mountain track. It is vague but you cannot really assess its actual size, colour or distance from you. And then I start writing, filling in the blank spaces in the page in front of me and 9 times out of 10, by the time I have filled a couple of pages, I know exactly what is bothering me.

Why am I telling you all this? So that you understand how important writing is to me. It is like breathing. It is what I do. Sometimes I think, it is the only thing I can do and know how to do.

So for me to feel this incredible amount of inadequacy was shocking. For the last one week I had been trying unsuccessfully to come up with an excuse to avoid or at the least postpone the meeting. But the lady in question has a lot on her plate and can suss out bullshit in a nanosecond, and I could not think of anything even remotely creative or original.

The universe, however, does teach us our lessons in the most unusual manner. It was a day before the meeting and I was feeling increasingly powerless. My 9-year-old daughter Aku (that is her pet name and she has a few) had to go for her Aikido class. It was her first class after a two month long break. (We are based in Dubai and schools here have their summer break in July and August.) Two months in India, lapping up her ammamma’s and achamma’s treats had left her a bit heavier and feeling sluggish. She was also experiencing a growth spurt so her outfit, called the gi, was pulling at all the wrong places. She felt that she would make a fool of herself and did not want to attend her class.

If there is one thing I had promised myself I would never be, it is a Tiger Mom. Not my cup of tea. So she and I chatted and talked and eventually I got it. She likes Aikido and she wants to continue but she does not want to go back for the first class of the term, as some of the other students who had stayed on in Dubai during the summer would be really good at doing their Aikido moves, whereas she will be floundering. In her words –“I have forgotten everything mumma! E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!”

I kicked in to my wise mother zone, (yeah I have one. I also have silly mumma, angry mumma, strict mumma and cuddly mumma zones. Who doesn’t!?) and asked her, “So you will go for the class next week?” “Yes mumma.” “But Aku, won’t next week still be your first class back if you don’t go today?” It took a moment for that truth to hit home and she quietly went away to get ready for the class. Of course there was grumbling the entire drive to the class.

When she stepped on the Aikido mat in the dojo, I could sense her nervousness and fear. I felt it along with her. The sensai started with the warm up exercises and then moved on to teaching the new defence moves… 5 minutes later, Aku turns to me with the biggest grin ever. She is back and she remembers and she is enjoying it. The relief!

The remainder of her class was a blur for me as I sat there and realised that my journey was not all that different from Aku’s. The meeting was my first class back. I could postpone it but I could not really cancel it… not unless I wanted to quit writing professionally. There was only this far that I could run away or this long that I could hide. Eventually I would have to step out unless I wanted to remain in a shadows, a shadow of my former self.

Many of my friends are at that age where the kids have become old enough to not need their attention all the time. Quite a few had taken long sabbaticals from work, some had never ventured into that. But now, they want to. However, there they are standing in front of us… our fears, our doubts, our belief that while we may ace at a myriad things that go in to being a home maker and mother, we don’t have what it takes in the outside world. Not in a world peopled by beautiful, talented, successful, confident young women. This is what I have to say to my friends and to my own self… keep moving. I can bet you that that confident young woman is right now battling her own inner demons but instead of turning back and running to her cave she is moving onwards. Like Aku. Like you. Like me.

How did that meeting go? Great.

Silly mumma.

About the author:

After 20 years of being in the print and visual media industry, Binu Sivan finally called it quits to become a freelance writer and focus on becoming a writer of stories, poems and an occasional blog post (https://binusivan.wordpress.com). When she is not writing, she is busy cooking non-gourmet meals, hanging out with her friend, nagging her husband and daughter, being a mom, reading, avoiding exercise and planning her next road trip in India.

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An online letter to my mother who is too busy doing motherhood offline

Dear Amma

I am doing something so typical of our times, which is writing an online letter to my mother, as opposed to just saying this aloud to her in person or on the phone. But then, like so many other things that seemed alien in the beginning, for example, the concept of  “parenting” or “work life balance” or “gender neutrality”, I think this is also one of those. You have so much to say to your mother, that you may as well put it out there, on the World Wide Web , so others can find a vocabulary for their feelings too. And it also becomes clearer when you write, doesn’t it? Although I know you believe in the philosophy of show, not tell.

First off, I salute thee. You are a true rock star. You had three children (two of who were twins), a real job, that you managed to keep for 36 years (I am guessing that was enough time for us to turn into adults), you kept our big fat south-Indian family together (in-laws, out-laws, the whole deal) and you are still the glue, you had friends for life (some of whom you still speak to every day), you made every birthday memorable (you still do), you never let go of traditions and rituals and when I look back, I wonder: how did you do it?

mommygolightly with ammagolightly

mommygolightly with ammagolightly

You got Appa to be an equal partner in parenting and got him to be a hands-on daddy before hands-on-daddydom existed. You just threw him into the deep end, he figured the rest. You and Appa defined gender neutrality for us before the term was even invented. It was never a case of who did what. Things just got done, whether it was cooking or time spent with the kids or markets or planning holidays. Never once in our growing up years was the boy-girl divide as strong as I experience in a sometimes overt, sometimes covert way in Re’s world on a daily basis. The two of you define ‘leaning in’ for me.

Yes, sometimes when I was growing up, I longed for the words “I love you”, words I say to Re often enough so he doesn’t forget it. But you made up in actions what you didn’t say in words. I remember you would always tell me, “You will only understand when you become a mother,” and I always thought there was a veneer of martyrdom behind those words. There were times when I hugely underestimated how much you were capable of understanding me, times when I wanted to run away to the hills and start growing coffee and starting a bookshop, times when I wanted to remain forever single, times when I changed careers before you even understood what I did.

I love you for raising me to believe that every cloud has a silver lining, as opposed to every silver lining has a cloud hiding behind that some parents did. I love you for never getting in my way and for all the PTA meetings you never came to, for you trusted me completely and allowed me to be the person I was. I love you for never praising me enough; it was the only way I could have polished myself the way you wanted me to.

There are also times when I get into turf issues with you on Re, and there were enough of those when he was a baby (oh, how much you believed in maalish and swaddling!). There are still times, when you indulge him and I feel like the bad cop, but then I realize, just as I expect you to let go, I must let go too.

grammies are the best!

grammies are the best!

( A version of this post appeared here)

Confessions of a working mom’s child

BY ARTI GUPTA

The age old debate between the working moms and stay-at-home moms, or WMs and SAHMs, as they are known in internet-speak continues to ignite web wars. Very little I write could add a new perspective to this much discussed topic.

So, as a working mom, I would love to share the one reason that keeps me going and convinces me that I may have made the right choice. It all begins with my own mother.

She was a working mom in an era when working moms weren’t the norm. And she didn’t have the work-life balance job of that generation, i.e. teaching. Unfortunately, she didn’t come from great circumstances and never quite got the education that would have allowed her to be a teacher. That, and between you and me, she would have made a terrible teacher, so several hundred kids were spared in the process. All good.

My mom chose to work to supplement my dad’s meagre railway services income – as a family of limited means, it ensured that my siblings and I got the best education they could afford that we went to good colleges and got the degrees that allowed us our breaks in life. It was a game changer.

Armed with her matriculation education, a tailoring class she attended as a teenager, and some filmy inspiration from Nirupa Roy, she started a tailoring business. It started small from the house but grew quickly. She had to set up a shop and even outsource some of the jobs to meet the demand. It certainly achieved the purpose of adding to the family income. It also meant long hours for her, an impossible routine that required her to work 12 hours a day, another 3-4 hours of housework and somehow by some crazy magic, she also managed to be the chairperson of our cooperative housing society. Some of her customers who came from low socioeconomic backgrounds found in her a social worker who would help them get ration cards, piped water connections and housing loans. And throughout, she always worked those 12-13 hours a day to earn an honest living.

It also meant that we grew up on pao or biscuits for breakfast, meals cooked once a day, several skipped PTA meetings, homework done sitting in her shop, and a list of errands on our plates. There were no bedtime stories, little homework assistance (although there was ample help from her shop on craft projects), there were no hot chapatis straight from the kitchen, there was no time for mother-daughter chats that many of my friends seem to cherish as childhood memories.

There was a lot of grit and hard work, and there certainly were dark times. Did I compare my mom to others’ moms and feel bad? I sure must have. You see how I say “I must have” – because I just don’t remember those parts too clearly. When I try to look back at my relationship with my mother, some memories shine bright. The Diwali mornings when we made rangolis – something I love doing to this day, when she cooked that fancy meal on Sunday and had us licking our fingers. I learned to stay up at night to study and get stuff done, because that is exactly how she did it, and I continue to do that now. I remember how she focused on satisfying her customers and building loyalty – I later also learned that at business school and in more structured business environs but she was my first teacher. I learned enough about fabric, design and construction that I don’t need that fashion degree from NIFT. Another shining memory is from the day I graduated from business school – I stole a look at my proud parents in the crowd. My mum and I shared an unspoken moment of understanding and acknowledgement of what it had taken to get there.

I didn’t appreciate it for years and I can’t get over it now – what an amazing role model I have had. By not helping with homework, she helped us figure out how to do it on our own. By her not being around as much, we became independent. Seeing her depend on her own mother, her husband and friends to help out, I learned what “leaning in” meant much before Sheryl Sandberg came along. She was fortunate to have an amazingly supportive and understanding husband in my dad, but she matched him stride for stride by being a true equal. And in that she taught me to expect and deliver equality. My brothers share the load in their own households and my sisters-in-law are working moms themselves. It has never occurred to any of us that there is another way of living.

Had she had a masters degree in chemistry, but chosen to be a SAHM for us, I would never have seen the kind of effort, commitment and enterprise she was capable of. I would perhaps have not found the inspiration to find it in me.

So when I choose to work, I not only think about what it allows me to achieve in my life and career. I also think about the kind of role models my son is growing up around. He will learn to value quality time and appreciate that the time his parents spent away from him was invested in doing some really quality work. He will expect women to be independent, have a say and be treated equal – he will never question this.

I don’t know about others, but this doesn’t seem to be a bad thing to me.

About the author:

Arti Gupta is a full time professional and full time mom. Before having her son five years ago, she did not believe she had a single “maternal bone” to speak of. She has since found motherhood in ways unthinkable.  She is the founding team member at Hopscotch.in where she brought her brand of mommy sense to help shape an exciting ecommerce business that redefined the ways moms shop in India.

 

Conversations with a daughter who wants a SAHM

BY MOHUA GUPTA

About a year-and-a-half ago, my daughter Myrah (then 2-and-a half-years-old) asked me one day, “Mama, kya tumko office uncle pyaar karta hai? (does office uncle love you?)”

I had no idea where that came from and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. She was trying to figure out how important my office is, as in there must be someone who loves me out there or else why would I go to work 6 days a week (even on most public holidays) and that too at weird hours?

Since then, the imaginary office uncle often pops in and out of our conversations. For instance, “Can’t you tell office uncle to give you chutti? Tell him you want to spend time with Myrah.”

I wonder why she zeroed in on the office uncle, and not some office aunty!

Next, she asked me if I have friends at work. In other words, am I going out to have fun with my friends?

I returned to work five months after Myrah was born. The one thing that kept me going was my 24-hour maid, the full support of my husband who has his own business and works largely from home (though there are the occasional out-of-town trips) and of course my so-called weird hours at work. I can spend the entire day with Myrah and then leave for work around 4.30pm… It’s a different matter that I get home by 2am and have to be up by 7am to get her ready for school.

I am happy I can spend so much time with her, which I couldn’t if I had a regular 9 to 5 job.

But obviously, Myrah wants more of me. Just the other day, she declared that she doesn’t want to be like me, that she doesn’t want to go to high school, college and office and would rather have fun at home. The larger picture being she would prefer me to be a stay-at-home mom.

My mother has always been a stay-at-home mom and though she never lacked anything, she always encouraged me to work and be financially independent. So I guess, this is a kind of cycle. Stay-at-home moms want their daughters to work while daughters would want to be stay-at-home moms.

At the time when I was growing up, having a housewife mom was the norm. Barring one or two friends whose moms were working women, all my friends came from similar backgrounds. And all of us have turned out to have full-fledged careers. But some do opt out along the way. There’s this MBA neighbour who did start working after her son was born, but quit after he started throwing regular tantrums and had behavioural problems. Her son is a happy 10-year-old now and she is too complacent to get back to work.

Also, there’s this fashion designer friend, who after two kids, has recently started teaching at a design school two days a week now that her sons are no longer toddlers.

I too, am tempted to throw in the towel. But I guess I just have to hang in there for Myrah to grow up a bit, when she can realize that it is indeed important to work and be financially independent. But she is learning to figure things out her own way… For more than a year now, she has christened me as Mohua Gupta Fernandes. It would go like this… “I am Myrah Fernandes. My papa’s name: Craig Fernandes. Mama’s name: Mohua Gupta Fernandes.”

I don’t object, even though officially I am still Mohua Gupta. If my daughter is happy with adding Fernandes to my name, so be it. I’m sure in a few years, she would be want to retain her maiden name and also juggle a career and family successfully.

 

About the author:
Mohua Gupta does the job of delivering news (mostly bad) to Mumbaikars first thing in the morning. In other words, she works for a daily newspaper.

 

Won’t stay-at-home mom: How I came full circle

I found a really shallow reason to go back to the workplace in my fourth year of stay-at-home mommyhood.  I wanted to dress up and go to work. I wanted to change footwear, earrings, wear hair-product, lipstick, nail-polish, perfume, cotton sarees and silver jewellery.

Fact is, I was tired of mommy dates. And pushing swings. And being told that I cannot take a nap when I thought I had earned it.  I was tired of the husband always whining that he had the most stressful job in the whole world.

On most days, I can see the humour in motherhood. I also think children are deep and there’s a lot to learn just by listening to them. I found myself laughing and crying in equal measure as I spent hour after hour with my son, just the two of us, and the ‘casulls’ we constructed, the mess we reveled in. I made plenty of “I quit my awesome job because I really wanted to be a stay-at-home-mother” mommy friends. I believed them. I began to say the same thing.  I believed it. It felt good. There is the power of the collective. Blogger mommies. Twitter mommies. Working-from-home mommies. School gate mommies. Facebook mommies. Desperately-social-networking mommies. It was important.

But here’s a simple truth: no one leaves a job that is perfect, that truly makes them happy. The same holds for SAHMhood

Just like no one gives up on a relationship when the sex is really good.

Here’s another confession: When I first quit my good-on-paper job to pursue motherhood four years ago, I had reached the point where I was sapped by the job, by its sameness, by its autopilotness, its rinse-repeatness. Motherhood at that time was like a sizzling affair; it was a start-up; I felt like an entrepreneur, I liked the fact that I could do it by trial and error, that there were no style-guides or briefs, that my baby was a brand I could totally make my own, that it didn’t come with excess baggage, that I had no boss! Plus Re was curly-haired, dimple-chinned and drop-dead-gorgeous.

When I was asked “When are you going back to work?”, it made me mad. I wrote angsty blogposts. I got hate-mail and love-mail in equal measure. I smiled and waved.

I had what many women dream of having. Unlimited credit. The husband said it was my reward for doing what I was doing. He was lavish with praise, gratitude, money; he fixed me the best drinks after particularly dreary mommy days, he massaged my calves, he always fed the cats, threw the garbage and made me tea. I flung and he picked up after me.  Sometimes there was a voucher for a dress, sometimes I had a cash-bonus thrown in, sometimes a ticket to Goa; he did his best to keep me incentivised. I had three years in which I could sit around, paint my nails, outsource babyness, buy clothes, go to spas and do pretty much anything for self indulgence, as long as HE was off baby duty.

I wasted it; I outsourced nothing. I took my job seriously.  I treated SAHM-hood like I would a new job. I was always trying to think out of the box, do things differently, wake up every morning and plan meals and things for the day, find ways of making every minute I spent with the boy fun and inspiring. I planned outings, library visits, beach dates, cookie dates, activities, park dates, pot-lucks with much gusto. When things got really intense between Re and me, I started the saga of play-dates and mommy dates. It was the beginning of the end. I met mommy after mommy, each time hoping that she would be THE ONE.

And one day, I got bored. Really bored. And tired. Really tired. I had decided though that the day I felt it was a drudgery, I would stop and try to get back to the work space. I didn’t want Re to be at the receiving end of this energy.

The problem with women like me who are awesome with domesticity is that you can begin to think it’s a career. I am great with food, baking, décor, lighting, furniture, clothes, PTA meetings, play-dates, money, you name it. I know places, I drive, I can create adventure out of nothing and I have lost count of the number of brunches I have hosted. Three  years later, I hated being a SAHM for the same reasons that I loved it in the first place. That it sucked me out. That it consumed me. That I was so emotionally invested in it that I thought it was me.

I am shallow enough to think motherhood is about logistics, after a point. I was done with plan Bs and Cs. Sometimes I wished I had half a dozen kids, so I could have said “fuck-you” to no-shows.The straw that broke the camel’s back was being dumped by a mommy on a play-date I had planned for our boys. A mommy I didn’t really give a rat’s ass about.

Meanwhile every Sandberg , Slaughter, Mayer and Bhagat were holding forth on women in the workplace, constantly making a case for or against SAHMs. It was like there was a conspiracy to shake women out of their complacency and get them back into the race. Mommies on twitter were constantly up in arms or really gushy about their words, depending on which side of the fence they sat on. Twitter was full of mommy angst, very cleverly camouflaged to fit a 140 character breeziness. Mommies instagrammed photos, they wrote micropoetry, they posted link after link (I still don’t how whether they actually read all that content). The ones who spoke about the motions and the mundane were termed whine-bags and dismissed. If you had to be cool on twitter, you had to rise above mommyness.  You had to be with-it.

But it still didn’t bother me. I was as happy as can be, I reasoned. I had a book deal, a blog, a column, I wrote for various newspapers and magazines, and I ran a well-oiled home. What more could I possibly do? On the face of it, I had it all. But it wasn’t enough. It was all too deep. I needed the shallow, the frivolous to feel real. And no, working in PJs is not as much fun as it’s made out to be.

I realised one thing: It’s okay to call your job a drag, but it was not okay to call motherhood a drag. And then I read something which truly explained the intensity of what I was feeling, and it’s the best thing I have read about the work-life balance. In the language of economics, the marginal utility of time with your kids—the happiness you get from the last hour you spend with them—declines as you spend more hours.

It motivated me enough to send out my resume, line up meetings, and announce that I was ‘ready’. In less than a month, I had a job.

I am liking it. I like swiping my card and hanging out with my team in the canteen. I like the quality time over the quantity time with my son. I like that I have outsourced the dreary bits. And I am no longer afraid to call them dreary. I like me more. I know there should be deeper reasons for going back to the workplace, but for now, this will do.

There have been good days and bad days. I have been late for pickups, I have snapped at the husband on the phone, I have run out of meetings like Cinderella, I have got on the wrong train and got so immersed in my book that I didn’t notice, I have started dreaming about work.

But it’s not bothering me. For now, I want to wake up every morning and GO TO WORK. For now I can pretend to be Rapunzel who has been rescued by the Prince from the tower.

P.S: Here’s a tip: If you do decide to be a SAHM, pretend you know nothing about food. Or pest-control. Or rent-agreements.  Or what does a driver cost. You’ll do just fine. And don’t go anywhere near the oven.

Fast forward mommy: What Marissa Mayer’s blink-and-miss maternity leave means to the rest of the world

Marissa Mayer is a woman who many love to hate – for having more zeroes in her salary than most people can ever dream of, for staying in the game through her pregnancy, for, in fact, raising the career bar by being hired as Yahoo CEO when six months pregnant. And now because she is back at work two weeks after having her baby, thereby availing the world’s shortest maternity leave. Time magazine called it the “blink-and-it’s-over ” maternity leave.
The internet is abuzz with debates over the sort of precedent she is setting for other working women. And, of course, a lot of ominous warnings are floating around about the perils of underestimating the challenges of motherhood and how she has no clue what’s coming to her.

The outraged argue that when women in power give the impression that maternity leave is dispensable, it is quite likely to send the wrong signals – that it’s easy, that taking time off is an unnecessary indulgence, that other women are making too big a deal of early motherhood months and that they are perhaps not so serious about their careers. Is the Mayer move then reflecting badly on other new mommies who choose to take time off to nurture their babies before getting back to work?

“This is a complex question that really has no easy answers. Are women who choose to take leave then, not committed enough to their careers?” asks Shilpa Phadke, professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and a mother to a two year-old. “On the one hand, one must support the right of individual women to make choices that they see as best for them, but equally one must consider what this means for the already fragile rights of women to maternity leave especially in countries such as the US. ”

The US maternity leave policy is rather dismal – it grants 12 weeks of ‘unpaid’ leave, as opposed to Canada which grants paid leave up to 15 weeks and a longer duration of unpaid leave if required. India, for the most part has a 12-week paid leave policy although some companies grant as much as 16-20 weeks. Britain, on the other hand, grants upto 52 weeks of leave, of which 39 are paid. In the rest of Europe, women can take as much as three years off to raise their newborns. Most employers like to claim that they are supportive of new mothers but it is obvious that women are grudged this ‘perk’ – by their male colleagues and even other women colleagues who either opted out of motherhood or stayed single. And perhaps that is why the urge to prove that they can get back in the game sooner than anyone else.

Outside of the Mayer universe, pregnancy is usually regarded as a really expensive hobby, a permanent state of impairment. For some women, the price to pay is their careers, for some, their children’s well-being and emotional security and to most, a race to get back in the game. Staying on top of things post baby is a struggle for all women, no matter what resources they have at their disposal. Perhaps that is why the three-month maternity leave is a key factor in helping new mothers with the transitioning from the cocoon of the nursery to the outside world. The choices are usually harsh. You either rush back to work when your baby is a few weeks old, leaving it in the care of family or strangers. Or, you stay a little longer to nurture them and return when you are both ready. But that is often the tricky part. When are both ready? At six months? At one year? Longer?

The fact remains that the longer you stay away from the race, the harder it is to get back. We all work out our own plan Bs – work from home, freelance, work flexitime, focus on our babies for a few years and not think about it. But these remain, at best, plan Bs. If all things were conducive, women would have liked their lives to go back to being exactly the same.

“I think all around the world, women have the fear that they will not be able to get back to their career with a small child to care for. That may the reason women are wrenching themselves away from their newborns. It is sad that women have to deny themselves care and rest just to prove that they are as good at their work, ” says Nigamaja, physiotherapist and childbirth educator.

While you are away, HR is busy computing your non-profitability. Barring a few foreign banks and MNCs, day-care is still an alien concept in India, flexitime is the biggest scam as far as your pay packet is concerned and breast pumps are still looked at as unidentified flying objects in most offices.

Australia-based Ruth Malik, who runs a birth support NGO in India, says the choices women make must vary according to individual situations. “I hope that Mayer does not become a dominant role model and women feel pressured to reach these dizzy heights. While I may make decisions differently, I feel the important thing is that it is her right to choose. Plus, she can afford all the support she can get” says Malik.

Gayatri Deshpande, a software professional and mother, says she chooses not to be judgemental about Mayer’s choices. She also applauds Yahoo for hiring a pregnant CEO in the first place. “Her choices must be based on who she is as a person. The position carries the weight of the well-being of employees and customers. Maybe she is a superwoman and has put in place a strong delegation plan, ” she says.

We don’t exactly know what Mayer’s plans for infant-management are. “I like to stay in the rhythm of things, ” is what she is reported to have told Fortune magazine. We must not forget that Marrisa Mayer is not a regular woman trying to keep her job, she is a super-duper star. She is a CEO, crisis management is her middle name.

Sonali Shivlani, a pregnancy and lactation counsellor, sums up the debate. “I really don’t believe that only stay-at-home women make good mothers. What makes good moms are women who are first satisfied with themselves – a feeling with gives them the space to attend to their children more wholeheartedly, ” says Shivlani.

(This article first appeared in the Times of India Crest edition on 20th Oct, 2012 under my byline. Link to the article is here:  http://www.timescrest.com/society/fast-forward-mommy-9052)