CEO of Pepsico speaks frankly about her role as mom

The interview:

I suppose people won’t call it ‘whining’ and ‘making alibis’ and ‘poor time management’ if the CEO of Pepsico says it, eh? Thank you, Ms. Nooyi. This is the damned truth.

Yes, many of us ‘chose’ to have it this way. So, we shouldn’t be complaining. But spare a thought for those who didn’t have a choice. What if they just had wanted to be focused, competent stay-home women, but had to go to work due to circumstances? (And I am saying this with *total* respect for stay-home men and women. I know, working folks have it far easier than you do! #respect)

For working moms, the fact is that we just _pretend_ like we are doing justice to everything on our plates! God knows the number of times we nearly miss things. The family definitely knows the micro-scheduling that goes into keeping the ship in order. Friends get ignored, but some angelic folks still stick with us, miraculously! :D

Visits to meet the extended family are fewer than we would like and we socialize a lot lesser than others do. Spontaneous fun and a warm, inviting home where anyone is welcome anytime — that gets compromised. Kids don’t really get a lot of the ‘Loving Mom’ avatar; they are more likely to see the ‘Lieutenant General Mom’ version. There is a price to pay for ‘having it all’; there are things we just can’t have and most of those things are spelled as ‘F U N’.

Sure, the kids get independent fairly quickly and working moms too manage the odd night of spontaneous music jamming session at home. But it’s not as balanced as it may seem from outside. And we are definitely NOT super women. We are very ordinary people, who make more mistakes and feel a lot more guilty about ‘going wrong all the time’ than we’d care to acknowledge.

God knows it is the support system that makes it happen. I am thankful to all my friends who are supportive when my kids come home and have unanticipated needs — whether it is misplaced house-keys or a ride back from the sports academy or even dinner, because mom is terribly late. I am thankful to my paid domestic help — they are my everyday workhorse crew. I am thankful for my family that chips in when there are elevated situations that need creative handling. My husband — who washes and dries clothes and makes sure kids have their milk and even rustles up fancy food to keep them happy — while I run around taking kids to test centres, birthday parties and sports events! I am extremely thankful for my flexible workplace and understanding colleagues when I have to reschedule meetings around parent-teacher meetings in school!

Shout out to my workplace — the inherent cultural respect for work-life balance at my office is what helps me get so many things done for my two children. Couldn’t have done it without that support.

Yeah, it takes a village to keep me in the workforce. :D

But I do feel the pressure of being worth all that trouble. I do feel the pressure of contributing positively to society so that my being a “working woman” is worth it overall.

Actress Aishwarya Rai says in the L’Oreal ad, “Because I’m worth it”. She sure is. The question for me is, “Am I?”.

#workingWoman #guilt #notASuperMom

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