There’s no handbook for balancing motherhood and a career. But as I’ve learned through the years, there are things you can do to stay committed, successful and happy—at home and at work.
My elder daughter, Anika, was a few months old when I started a new professional inning with Accenture in 2006. The “new-mom guilt” specter stalked me at this point. Has she eaten properly? Will I be a good mother? Should I take a career break? My mind was clouded with these thoughts.
Leaving my infant at home and pulling my weight at work? The idea was simply daunting.
Building a career and a family
I’m an incurable optimist—no mountain is too high for me to scale. And that optimism, coupled with a problem-solving attitude and a flexible work environment, is what saw me through.
From the time my first daughter was born to now, I’ve completed 12 years with Accenture and built a great career here—a stint I’m proud of. I’ve played multiple roles in my Accenture journey, including serving as the Capability Network Recruitment Delivery lead and the Capability Network India Node lead for our HR Strategy and Transformation practice.
Currently, I am the Knowledge Business Partner for Talent and Organization, responsible for creating knowledge strategies for the function globally.
Deepti and daughters
As I’ve built my career, I’ve also appreciated the time I’ve had watching my family grow. I’m currently enjoying a wonderful learning phase with my daughters, who are now 11 and 12. We just checked learning how to swim from our never-ending wish list!
Time for family, work—and yourself
So, how have I kept my head above water? I’ve learned a few things along my journey that help me ride the seesaw of career and motherhood.
Never hesitate to ask. Make the most of the flexible work arrangements offered by your company. Don’t shy away from discussing flexi-work options with your manager. We all have difficult situations at home from time to time, but don’t give up. I have always been transparent with my supervisors and client teams, and together, we sought the best options.
Play with the two Ps. Half the battle is won if you plan and prioritize. I usually plan for the whole week in a way that the household chores are divided between me and my husband. I even assign my kids a few responsibilities, such as setting the table before meals and giving instructions to the cook. If everyone is involved in the day-to-day activities, planning and prioritizing is a cakewalk.
Don’t be a perfectionist. Let’s get real. If you try for perfection, chances are you’ll end up disappointing yourself and everyone around you. The truth is, you need to embrace the chaos instead of trying too hard to control it. Initially, I was an obsessive planner—trying to figure it all out myself. I quickly realized this had to change.
Now, if my kids need help with studies and I’m busy in client calls, I make sure I prepare notes and questionnaires for them well in advance. Sometimes, my older daughter preps her younger sister, Tanvi, before her exam. When you share the load with your partner, kids and extended family versus managing everything on your own, everyone wins.
Find “me time”—it’s your magic time. Remember, if you are happy, then everyone around you is happy. Pursue a hobby or learn something new at work. Two months ago, I learned how to swim at the age of 43. So what if I was oldest student in the class? I just wanted to learn how to swim with my girls, as they look up to me.
They wouldn’t want to see their mom unhappy or torn by choosing between things. The example you want to set for your children is that you are a happy working woman. What you don’t want to feel is, “I have it all, but I don’t have a life.”
By being honest and transparent at work, planning ahead with my family and taking quality time for myself, I continue to achieve success on my own terms. You can too.
I feel successful when I complete a lap in the pool with my girls, tuck them in bed at night or strategize with clients in another part of the world. I’m committed to each role I play—at home and at work. And I’m not willing to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.
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