Atelier Diva: Work, Play, Love
December 23, 2021
All in a day's work
December 19, 2021 COMMENT comment
All in a day's work
By Priyanka Chakrabarti
Articulate, intelligent and self-motivated, Khushnooma Kapadia brings foresight and vision to the forefront as Director of Marketing Communications, Marriott India. With that she is a wife and a mother too. According to her, it’s her perseverance for excellence and the support of her family that helps her balance work and home.
How do you juggle between work and home?
I’d like to believe that for women it’s all about management and how effectively you execute your individual role. I am sincerely of the opinion that a homemaker does the same amount of managing that a working professional mother does and I have immense respect
for all my friends who gave up flourishing careers to look after their kids. Each one of us has our role cut out. I’m not a superwoman, I’m probably luckier than most others because I have a great husband, great parents and great in-laws who give me the necessary support I need. Above all I work for a very progressive organisation that makes it possible for the juggling act to happen without spilling too many balls.
What gives you the strength to carry on?
I don’t need strength as much as I need stamina! But my greatest strength is my husband; had he not encouraged me I might have probably taken the easy way out. Further, I have an incredible support system in my family and my staff who completely enable me to manage such an important profile and ensure my kids still remain a top priority.
Do you at times feel that you are pushing yourself a little too much?
Yes I do. When it spins, it spins badly. There are days when there is no one to fill in and I’ve got to be at two places at the same time. But now I’ve learnt – probably the hard way – that there is a method to the madness. Somehow it just always fits into place. There’s no point in agonising, traumatising and above all cribbing. It’s just about going on, picking it up and moving with the flow of life. Each day if you get out of your bed thinking ‘life is unfair’, it just somehow will be.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a working mother?
I believe that a mother will remain a mother irrespective of whether she goes to office or stays at home. It’s always about working so the definition of a ‘working mother’ is clichéd. The biggest advantage is that you are the master of your own time in those few hours.
The feeling of power is obviously very heady, meeting new people with new ideas, operating with a collective pool of talented individuals. The Marriott is a global organisation so it gives you such an amazing insight into different working patterns and cultures. It’s very satisfying and fruitful at the end of the day. My world is not a cocoon but an expanse which I truly cherish. As far as the disadvantages are concerned, there is never an empty hour. There is always something to be done or should have been done. There are days when you reach home tired and there is a school project waiting for you or your child somehow always get the eureka moment at 10 pm if something needs to be taken to school the next day and that’s of course, a life and death situation. One cantankerous individual in office to another cantankerous individual at home!
We often hear of women being passed over for employment or promotion because they got pregnant or had a baby. Would you give opportunities to pregnant women or mothers to work for your organisation?
Of course! I’d be the world’s biggest hypocrite if I did otherwise. I was hired at the Marriott when I was four months pregnant with my firstborn by an individual who had the foresight to overcome myths and recognise talent. If I discriminate when I hire, I’d be insulting myself in the bargain.
What are the three professional lessons you have learned as a working mother?
Time management, people management and conflict management. And if you cannot master these three, you are doomed!
According to you what kind of policies should organisations have for pregnant women or early mothers?
Definitely a longer maternity leave. In fact, it should become statutory to have a six-month maternity break. It’s crucial for early mothers. I found it hardest to leave my three-month-old and join back. It was mentally very agonising. I think flexible hours and working out of home can really help an early mother wean herself more easily. It’s important for organisations to recognise
what it takes to undergo childbirth and what a huge responsibility the first year of bringing up a child is. Support a mother and you would have bought yourself a lifetime of loyalty – organisations and bosses should always remember that.
“My greatest strength is my husband; had he not encouraged me I might have probably taken the easy way out.”
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